Wendy Traskos's career as a pole-dancing icon began with one fateful spin. Impressed by the strength of self-expression she glimpsed in accomplished pole-dancers, she tried the art for herself and was hooked immediately, so much so she has been honing her spinning skills for 16 years. Now a self-taught professional, she channels her background as a certified personal trainer and gymnast to enhance her routines. Wendy’s fitness knowledge landed her celebrity clients, including Montel Williams and Mary J. Blige, and her proficiency on the pole led Germany's version of America's Next Top Model to feature her as a dancing expert.
At NY Pole studios, Wendy passes on her spiraling prowess through her original Climb and Spin method. She believes that students should build a foundation of muscle and a repertoire of techniques as they progress to more advanced pole tricks, which require them to shed all rock-climbing gear. Her classes accommodate varying skill levels with choreographed routines, motivating participants to practice recently learned grips, climbs, and transitions. The studios also offer fitness classes, private parties, and workshops led by guest instructors such as Cleo “The Hurricane,” also known as Miss Pole Dance Australia.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
The certified personal coaches at GolfTEC utilize motion sensors and high-speed cameras to monitor swings and break down each individual’s form on a high-definition video display. Computers who’ve sworn allegiance to the three laws of golfing robotics record 24 data points for each swing, providing frame-by-frame visual feedback to identify swing flaws. Biofeedback sensors chirp with approval whenever they detect the perfect stroke or an especially witty golfing joke. Inside the private, climate-controlled training bays, GolfTEC’s professional swing smiths will call proper attention to strengths and weaknesses and help golfers permanently improve their game.
Argentina–born soccer enthusiast Gustavo Szulansky opened Super Soccer Stars to provide the boroughs with a program that championed the personal development of youngsters rather than solely a skill-based focus. Since its debut in 2000, it's grown throughout the city, helping countless youngsters learn teamwork, boost confidence, and decrease arguments during home games played on the dining-room table. This rapid growth is due in part to the positive values Gustavo instilled from the first class. His coaches are carefully selected for their ability to cultivate a noncompetitive, sensitive approach to learning the game, and they dole out their knowledge in both classes and camps.
Super Soccer Star's Kick & Play program features family-friendly classes that help tots 12–24 months old develop pre-soccer skills and physical skill sets simultaneously. During classes, a team of talented and enthusiastic instructors and an athletic duo of puppet friends named Mimi and Pepe buoy budding soccer players with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and the merry clickety-clack of cleated tap dances. Designed with the help of early-childhood specialists, each age-specific class helps players build skills at their own pace with positive reinforcement, individual attention, and engaging original music.
John Perkins's father began teaching his son fighting techniques when John was 5. His dad trained him to wield a tomahawk, knife, stick, and spear in case of bullying or attack, as well as Native American combat-style wrestling. Blended with formal training in martial arts, John devised Ki Chuan Do—later re-dubbed Guided Chaos—a form of combat that promotes creativity over practiced patterns. He has successfully faced more than 100 threatening encounters as a police officer and bodyguard. At the method's namesake gym, he and his staff lead self-defense classes to spread their tactics to the masses.