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.
Within two studios, spanning across 2,800 square feet of dancing space, ballerinas-in-training of all ages prance across the floor under the instruction of an expert teacher. The teacher holds Dinky Dance classes for children ages 2–6 and power ballet fitness classes for adults, but the real specialty is Dance Academy. The program is designed to teach youngsters ages 2 and older the discipline and artistry of their preferred style, whether it’s ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, or hip-hop. Three times per year, students flaunt their moves for friends and family in a choreographed, costumed dance recital.
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.