Adrenaline-pumping fitness and thrilling combat come together in Rising Star Fencing Academy's classes. The United States Fencing Association-member studio's lessons are suited to children as young as 6, and every level teaches creative strategy as it hones stamina, agility, and mental discipline. On a long, rectangular dueling area, coaches and students practice the complex foot- and hand-work for all three fencing styles—foil, sabre, and epee—all using the traditional scoring system. This intensive training is possible, in part, because of the academy's rigorous adherence to safety standards: all students are outfitted with a steel mesh mask and clothed in standard-issue force fields.
With a baseball training academy led by MLB player Jack Cust and a softball training center led by Olympian Jennie Finch, Diamond Nation hosts a staff of professional players and coaches who cull their collective NCAA, MLB, and Olympic experience to refine the hitting, pitching, and fielding skills of burgeoning legends. The Jack Cust Baseball Academy and Jennie Finch Softball Academy share a well-equipped space and employ staffers who personalize player instruction.
At Ultimate Sports America, accomplished coaches help clients of all ages and skill levels reach their athletic potential. A commitment to safety, sportsmanship, and teamwork guides group activities, which range from soccer camps for kids and teens to fitness boot camps for adults. Staffers can arrange one-on-one training for nearly any of the sports, which also include baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Position-specific coaching helps footballers hone specific skills as they tackle the gridiron with gusto, and event-specific training inspires track-and-field athletes to run faster, jump higher, and ride a javelin farther than they ever thought possible. Filled with batting cages, turf fields, and an Apex pole-vaulting station, the 50,000-square-foot facility provides ample opportunities for swinging bats or sprinting toward end zones. The space can also host sport-specific clinics and birthday parties that pair hearty pizzas with dodge-ball games that aim to remove party hats by force.
The track and field training staff at SCI has coached and trained more than 30,000 athletes—and that statistic is always growing. At his training facility, Sports Conditioning Institute, he and his team encourage athletes with sports-specific training, focusing on games including hockey and volleyball, and lead fit-seekers in two boot-camp styles. The common thread running through every workout is Vaccaro’s focus on avoiding overstressing bodies and preventing injuries. He emphasizes short and frequent workouts, for example, rather than long routines that can lead to sustaining injury, becoming burnt out, or accidentally running into another country without your passport. To complement coached workouts, the gym hosts an array of free weights and cardio machines for solo sessions.
At Teel's Baseball & Softball, budding ballplayers field professional instruction from an all-star lineup of trainers and from founder Garett Teel himself, a former 10th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Organized into different age groups, the camps and programs offer college- and professional-level training, sharpening skills in catching, throwing, and hitting to shape well-rounded athletes. Adults, too, can improve their game with Coaching for Coaches, a program that focuses on the proper management of youth teams and the proper way to whisper apple pie recipes into an umpire's ear rather than yelling.
ProPlayer Baseball Academy has a Hall of Fame dedicated to former standout students and instructors, many of whom have gone on to have big-league careers. It's a testament to the academy's clout, both as a year-round training facility and as a launching pad to the next level. Inside the 6,000-square-foot, fully turfed facility, coaches lead baseball and softball players aged 7–18 through private lessons, camps, and clinics. Four stationary batting cages let hitters tighten up their swings, and areas for long toss help players stretch their arms without having to cling to the spinning blades of a helicopter. But it's not just the game's budding stars who use these spaces: occasionally current big leaguers visit during the offseason to keep their skills sharp, too.