by Julia Ann Friedman
Wayne Bass, owner of Next Level Athletics, Inc. in Tarrytown, has been in business since 2004. He played college basketball at Pace University, and he has been working with kids since he, himself, was a kid.
“We offer a great opportunity to learn about life through sports. To advance yourself and challenge your comfort zone,” Bass said.
The goal is to develop discipline and to improve skills. Next Level Athletics works primarily with young athletes, as young as second grade, and offers classes once a week where multiple instructors work with the students to improve key skills in a particular sport. They are looking to develop the kids individually, and are not concerned with wins or losses. Next Level Athletics provides professional coaching, and these coaches are local people who really care about the kids. Each class is offered once a week, usually runs for six to eight weeks, and lasts one to 1 ½ hours. Tuition is $30 per class.
Next Level Athletics also runs several Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) teams in the spring. Tryouts are open to the public; many kids who have taken classes find that Next Level Athletics develops their skills enough to be selected to be on one of the AAU teams. The AAU teams serve as a great way to showcase athletes to college recruiters. Classes are given in Tarrytown’s EF school inside the gym; AAU teams practice in Elmsford.
Joey Good, a former athlete at Sleepy Hollow High School, who is now at SUNY Albany, participated in the AAU basketball team for two seasons. He travelled to tournaments on weekends and had practice a few times a week. Practice was mainly focused on agility, speed and ball control.
Christine Good, mother of Joey Good, commented on her satisfaction with the Next Level Athletics program. “AAU provides a higher level of play and more games. The coach went beyond being a coach; he was a mentor,” she said. “My son still goes to see Coach Keith and his family. I would highly recommend this program.”
Additionally, Wendell Brand, another former Sleepy Hollow athlete who is now at SUNY Farmingdale, worked with Next Level Athletics from seventh grade through 11th grade. He was on an AAU basketball team and said traveling with the team made the players closer and that the program really improved his basketball skills.
“The program encouraged me to continue my athletics in college. We had to work really hard, and it pushed me to play sports at the next level, beyond my comfort zone, no matter what sport,” said Brand, who added that the coaches were amazing, fun, and taught him a lot.
For more information about Next Level Athletics, visit their website: www.NextLevel Athletics.us.