When the dream became a reality: The day Centercourt Ninja Regional Director, Anthony DeFranco competed on the American Ninja Warrior Show.


It was a random Wednesday in Philadelphia. Wednesday May 27th, 2015 to be exact.

It was the day that I have been working toward for months: early morning cardio, late night pull-ups. The hard work never stopped to fulfill my dream of competing on American Ninja Warrior. I woke up feeling excited, nervous, scared, confused, and prepared.  My buddy and I, Greg Smith (Director of Ninja, Centercourt Lawrence), geared up to head to the course located at an abandoned power plant.

As Greg and I approached the course, the dream became a reality. We were here!  This is really happening! For the first time, I saw all of the athletes that I looked up to over the years on Ninja Warrior. We were all there for the same reason: to complete the course that lied in front of us.

TV and Competition: the producers must go over rules with all the ninjas before anybody runs. The rules are read to everyone in great detail with the raise of a hand signaling that the rules are understood. I raised my hand, the rules are done: it’s go-time!  

The last bit of light in the day passed and all the course lights were shining bright. The energy in the air was electric with the crowd cheering!  

I was number 52 in the run order and anxiety grew with every athlete walking onto the course. I knew that my time was closer with every competitor that hit the water or the buzzer. I began warming up which came to an abrupt halt at runner 48 with the 1am “lunch.” Finally, lunch was over and it was my time. The next five competitors are called out to the warmup area and my nerves spike.

My warmup was going well and I was mentally preparing for the course. I went through every single movement in my head over and over again. I probably mentally ran the course 50 times before I even stepped foot on the platform.

My name was called. I urgently stripped down to my competition gear and jogged over to the starting platform.

I am greeted by the producer who wishes me luck with a smile and a fist bump. I am called to start walking up the stairs and I am now on the starting platform. Standing there with this monstrous course in front of me, I took one last deep breath.

The countdown began. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and….

Crossing each step, I remember thinking that this was scary with there actually being water underneath. The rest of my run was a blur. I had so much adrenaline flowing that my body took over. I vaguely remember thinking of exactly what I had visualized during the warmups and I began to precisely check off the mental cues after completing each obstacle.

Before I knew it, the dismount from the fifth obstacle was all that lied in front of my ascent up the warped wall. I jumped off in excitement and ran to feel the glory of living out a childhood dream: hitting a buzzer on American Ninja Warrior!

Anthony DeFranco,
Regional Centercourt Ninja Director
Passionate Ninja Athlete

Centercourt Soccer offers high level introductory class in Spring 2018


Its never too early to start planning your Spring 2018 Sports Season Calendar. Is your child ready for soccer? At Centercourt Club and Sports one of our introductory offerings is the Soccer Junior Academy. Geared specifically towards the Pre-School to Second Grader, this program is a highly organized class with a low student to coach ratio. Your child will get an excellent base in technical and ball manipulation skills that will allow them to play at a much higher level and open up opportunities for Travel or Club teams in the future.

Dean Slaughter

Interested in our current sports offerings? Visit our website at www.centercourtacademy.com or fill out the form below for more information

Centercourt Girls Lacrosse Director Crysti Foote, former Canadian National Team player and professional player for the Baltimore Ride, introduces Mini Stix and Canadian Box Lacrosse offerings at Centercourt.

IMG_7228Centercourt Times Interviews CRYSTI FOOTE, a 4X Canadian National Team Player, 2X Silver Medalist, Bronze Medalist, Professional player for the Baltimore Ride, National Attack Player of the Year, Notre Dame 2006 about Centercourt Girls Lacrosse.

Centercourt Lacrosse and Crysti Foote is excited to announce two brand NEW and UNIQUE unique lacrosse programs in Box Lacrosse Facility in Mt. Olive starting January, 2018 : MINI STICK  Instructional field box program and Real Canadian BOX FIELD LACROSSE for Girls. 

Why Box Lacrosse?
Crysti: Growing up in Canada and being part of a lacrosse family I really had no other option but to start my lacrosse career playing box lacrosse. At the time, I was the only girl on the team, and had no idea how to catch and throw. By learning field lacrosse in a box setting players learn to play at a fast pace, indirectly increase agility, increase lacrosse IQ, teamwork, fitness, and overall discipline.

What is the Box?
Crysti: The box is the size of a hockey rink without ice!

What is the benefit to playing lacrosse in the Box?
Crysti: The decreased space increase, stick skills, decision making, allows more touches, and increases fitness as players will transition from attack to defense quickly.

Tell us about The MINI STICK Instructional Field Box Program at Centercourt Mt. Olive Box Facility.
Crysti: My program with mini sticks is a new and Innovative approach to elevating the player’s lacrosse game to the next level.

What are Mini-Sticks?
Crysti: Mini-sticks are smaller and lighter than a traditional girl’s stick and provide a boy’s style pocket which is deeper than girls pockets.

Can you give us a little more insight into this Mini-Stick program and the benefits of participating?
Crysti: I have developed a systematic approach to developing top notch stick work and shooting. Incorporating mini sticks into training, players will be forced to train outside of their comfort zone, and increase all aspects of their game. Additionally, the Benefits of using Mini Sticks are to improve wrist control, increase hand-eye coordination, work on one handed skills and to increase lacrosse IQ both offensively and defensively.

In addition to your Mini Sticks Program you have a second program: REAL CANADIAN BOX LACROSSE FOR GIRLS. Can you tell us more about this New Program?
Crysti: As with the mini stick program, the benefits of Box Lacrosse is to Increase Stick Skills. As a coach one of the biggest complaints parents have in girls lacrosse is that their daughter hardly touches the ball. By decreasing the space, players are guaranteed more touches in both practice and games. By forcing players to play in a tighter space, they will learn how to use their body correctly to help protect their sticks.

What can I expect my player to learn in your REAL CANADIAN BOX LACROSSE FOR GIRLS program?
Crysti: In short my program players increase their lacrosse IQ, decision making, and communication skills. Learning the x’s and o’s of lacrosse is an important aspect that is often overlooked. Players are taught off ball concepts including picks, screens, and flips. Additionally, players learn timing of cuts, and how to become deceptive. Players learn that chemistry with teammates will help excel their game. Also, my program players learn how to properly feed and make smart decisions with and without the ball. Adhering to my philosophy that players need to learn to play all positions, my program participants improve and develop both offensive and defensive skills.

How important is speed in the girls lacrosse game?
Crysti: “Lacrosse is the fastest sport on two feet”. As the game continues to grow and evolve, the speed continues to increase. Playing fast is a skill. During my Canadian Box Program players learn to play fast while also making the smart play decisions! Additionally, by playing 5v5 in a small field the players improve their overall fitness. The program challenges players to get up and down the field fast! This is hands down the best way to get in Lacrosse shape!

Evan Wen wins the Les Petits As playoffs, qualifies for Les Petits As – Le Mondial Lacoste in January 2018.

“So much of the training over the last year was apparent when adversity hit or the pressure of the moment did not produce the best tennis and Evan was able to sort through the situation with a response that gave him advantages. This usually happened during times where advantages were not apparent.
In a day where coaches spoon feed information, protect kids and never allow them the opportunities to push through adversity so kids “feel comfortable” training, creating a culture that does not produce champions, instead creates low hanging fruit – Thank you Clay for allowing us to train in an unpopular way and thank you to all the coaches at Centercourt who sacrificed for an unknown.”

Randy Bloemendaal
Senior Director, Performance Academy
Centercourt Tennis Academy

From 30th October to 3rd November 2017 the 16 best American boys and girls 14 and under, competed to qualify for the world championship Les Petits As – Le Mondial Lacoste in January 2018.

The 12 best American players based on USTA Ranking were automatically qualified for Les Petits As – USA Playoffs Lacoste, Evan Wen of Centercourt Tennis Academy NJ was one of them. Today we are very excited to announce that Evan went on to win in the final round, defeating John Kim 7-6, 7-5.

I believe excellence breeds participation and look forward to seeing even more growth and success for Evan. This is a team effort and testament to Evan’s hard work and the hard work, support and direction of his team of coaches at Centercourt Tennis Academy.
Thank you all for your efforts and dedication to growing American Tennis and to making us the hallmark of world tennis once again.

Clay Bibbee
CEO+Managing Partner
Centercourt Club+Sports

Sun/Redelijk Defeat Rostami/Yuan 6-2, 6-0 in the Finals of the Evert American ITF

This Fall has already seen other Centercourt players such as recently Yale University acceptee, Michael Sun, competing in a prestigious ITF event down in Austin, TX, putting up impressive results along the way. Other notable recent highlights coming from our Performance Academy, included visits from three major names within the college tennis world. Ty Tucker of Ohio State University, Sam Paul of North Carolina University, and Josh Goffi of South Carolina all paid the players and coaches of Centercourt a nice visit with their words of wisdom to our aspiring players.