Friday, March 05, 2021

Throughout the coronavirus quarantine and isolation, it has been difficult for some to find the opportunity to stay fit, or participate in an athletic activity. With the indefinite closure of most sports leagues, many children have lost a valuable and healthy outlet, where they can improve their skills and be rewarded. With this comes the new responsibility of parents to cater to their children’s needs. Providing a break for both parents and kids, two Bergen County locals are offering sports lessons within CDC health guidelines.

Former Ma’ayanot hockey team coach Noam Weinberger is providing floor hockey training for children between first grade and high school. In addition to his decade of competitive ice hockey experience, he has spent a lot of time working with kids, at school and camp. Weinberger focuses on providing kids with an opportunity to get some much-needed exercise and assists them with both basic and complex skill-building. He has assured the safety of his practices through frequent communication with a doctor and compliance with health guidelines.

Weinberger said, “Kids have been feeling cooped up and I think that providing this experience, to be able to get kids outside and moving, could be a great way to let off some pent-up steam and learn either a new sport or to improve on their skills.”

Recognizing its growing popularity, Weinberger wants to promote competitive hockey experiences for the yeshiva world. He envisions the lessons as a way for kids to learn skills in their free time and be able to join their high school or middle school teams. He also acknowledges that “this is a good opportunity for parents to enjoy a much-needed break.”

In addition to hockey, there are also opportunities for those seeking private training in baseball. Yeshiva University alumnus and Ramaz baseball coach Adam Volk is offering such lessons for ages 6 to 17. Some of his experience in the sport includes training at the IAB (Israel Association of Baseball) and both playing and coaching for YU. He was also a major advocate for the institution of a baseball league for yeshiva high schools. Willing to travel from Englewood to as far as Highland Park, Coach Volk believes that he can help children capitalize on their free time, where they can prepare and become better at the game.

“Since we are uncertain with camps,” he said, “this can be another avenue for kids to stay active during the summer.”

Volk has worked to provide a safe and healthy environment for each client, especially during this time when people may not feel comfortable outside their homes. With the danger of risking the spread of COVID-19, he has abided by local protocol and taken strict measures including wearing a mask and gloves when training with players, as well as maintaining six feet social distancing at all times. He offers group lessons in addition to private training, and the difficulty of his instruction is based on each player’s age and level of skill. To cater to younger clients, he will teach basic pitching, hitting and fielding skills. In addition to technical knowledge, he emphasizes sportsmanship while playing with others. For older players, his lessons will mostly focus on the mechanics of pitching, hitting and fielding as well, but also solidifying these key skills and building on them with more difficult ones. Through various drills and exercises, Coach Volk aims to take his players’ skills to the next level, both on and off the field.

Josh Gindi is a graduate of Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston and is interning at The Jewish Link this summer.