SkateStart owner Patrick O'Toole started his skating career as many people do: by falling down constantly while skating a faulty board. He wanted to spend time with his skateboarding cousins, so his father bought him a generic, unresponsive deck from a big-box store. It barely rolled and always cancelled their playtime last minute to watch soap operas. His junky equipment and lack of knowledge kept him from keeping up with his peers. It wasn't until his father surprised him with a safe, professional skate set that his cousins finally slowed down and began teaching him the ins and outs of thrashing cement waves.
Now in his 20s, Patrick makes it his professional mission to teach the next generation of skaters the proper techniques they need to enjoy the sport. He and his team of certified instructors use his patent-pending skateboard system that shows beginners where to place their feet to push off, perform an ollie, and avoid tripping a board's self-destruct countdown. In addition to imparting fundamental skills, their lessons also build up the confidence necessary to tackle more complex maneuvers.
Instructors at ROCK'n & JAM'n invert worldviews as they train students to scale stretches of mountain. Attendees balance and belay along the training walls as teachers impart the essentials of safety, rope control, and which Disney songs echo most effectively off of mountainsides. The regularly updated facility features a slew of updated equipment that utilizes both ancient and recently conceived training methods to promote a well-rounded repertoire of climbing skills. The lesson includes all necessary gear and all-day access to the gym's facilities after the initial two-hour training session, letting neophytes test their new skills on the rocks in a safe, forgiving environment.
The enthusiastic coaches at Soccer Buddies educate youngsters on the value of physical fitness and impart much-needed confidence through drills and practices that refine fundamental skills. Lessons aim to build on the foundations of balance, agility, and coordination for budding athletes as young as 10 months old. As kids get older and their skills begin to mature, they’ll also have the chance to advance through age- and skill-appropriate classes, which increase the chance that students will be fully prepared for advanced moves such as bicycle kicks and the act of kissing a World Cup trophy. Youngsters will find new physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges at every leg of the training track, and those who excel will be eligible for an invitation to the Soccer Buddies Select class, a higher-level learning environment for competitive-minded players younger than 12.
A South Suburban Parks and Recreation course, Family Sports Golf Course showcases a nine-hole, par 31 layout that loops around a two-tier driving range. True to its name, the course caters to all members of the family, including seasoned adults practicing their short game touch, beginning juniors making a smooth foray into the game, and grandmothers looking to back up claims of 350-yard drives. Renovated in 2009, the two-tier driving range invites players to hone their stroke on one of 25 grass tees or 30 tees that are covered, lighted, and heated year-round.
For nearly a decade, the nationally certified instructors at ATA Family Martial Arts have taught students how to block, strike, and kick in a series of self-defense patterns. Classes for kids as young as 4 focus on coordination, listening skills, and confidence, and adult-geared classes teach sparring and weapons training.
Family Martial Arts Center’s instructors meld ancient techniques with modern fitness to boost students’ physical health and personal success. Under the tutelage of an experienced kickboxer, feet fly to the beat of radio hits in each 45-minute cardio kickboxing class, preparing athletes to excel in high-stakes hopscotch throwdowns. Students train in both self-defense and dance, focusing on toning muscle groups and increasing flexibility as they throw jabs and kicks at punching bags and rev up heart rates with energetic moves in the spacious studio.
When Hungarian road cyclist Frank Barvik immigrated to America in the late 1950s, he laid the foundation for his American dream by opening his own bike shop. Inspired by their patriarch’s love of bicycles, his descendants opened up a bike shop of their own in 1984. Adventure Cycling still welcomes cyclists today, with a carousel display near the entrance inviting customers to scrutinize new models of Orbea, Yeti, and Specialized bicycles. Stockpiles of cycling shoes, helmets, air pumps, and other accessories line the vivid red and blue walls, competing for attention with posters, vintage photographs, and the childhood height chart of Greg LeMond. The shop’s in-house bike mechanics repair and replace worn-out parts, getting wheels ready for guided rides on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings.