It can be hard enough to get the kids out from in front of the television when the weather is nice. Add in some snow and zero degree temperatures and most parents probably have a bona-fide videogame-playing couch potato on their hands.
However, Frozen Ropes, an indoor sports facility, with two Long Island locations (Garden City and Syosset), which is centered on baseball and softball, might be the ticket to getting your children active during the season when they’re least likely to do so. But first, let’s answer a pressing question—what exactly does “Frozen Ropes” mean?
“Frozen Ropes is baseball slang for a hard line drive hit off the bat,” said co-owner Peter Witkow of Port Washington. “It looks like a rope and you’re in the field and the ball’s coming right at you and you’re frozen…it’s a frozen rope. It’s happened to all of us at one time or another, sadly.”
Witkow first took over the Syosset Frozen Ropes franchise location from the previous owners in September of 2013 along with his brother-in-law Jon Clateman, also of Port Washington.
“We both have a big-time passion for youth sports…I’ve been coaching my daughter’s softball and son’s baseball for many years, and I’m on the board of the Port Washington Police Athletic League,” he said. “Jon has been coaching basketball forever and played it for many years before that.”
The duo had long been considering opening a Frozen Ropes franchise on the side and spent a great deal of time looking for the right place; when the former owners of the Syosset location announced their intention to close due to inexperience with the running of the business aspect of the operation, Witkow said that he and his brother-in-law knew that they had finally found the right spot.
“It was the right combination of rent and size and it’s only a 20-minute drive from where we live,” he said. “Plus, considering the fact that Jon and I both come from a business background—I’m an options trader, and Jon is a sports television editor and is going to school to be a student counselor—we were able to improve the customer service aspect of the business, which a lot of people really seem to appreciate.”
The Frozen Ropes facility encompasses a total of 15,000-square-feet, consisting of adjustable-size (via netting) practice areas situated on AstroTurf, a full gym including free weights and machines and a 40-yard dash track. In addition, birthday parties and summer camp programs are a big part of their business as well; the average age range of their clientele is kids 7 years old all the way to college, Witkow said.
“We do teen baseball and softball training, we do individual lessons and we also do multi-sport training for kids who want to come in but don’t necessarily want to do baseball every day,” he said. “On our staff, we have all professional trainers…all the men are Division-One or Minor League ball players and most of the ladies are Division-One or four-year college starters. A lot of our people are local and they’re very ingrained into the community.”
In addition, Witkow said, people can even rent space and pop in and do anything they want; for example, they have football and soccer trainers who rent space and instruct students on a regular basis. Also, Frozen Ropes has established relationships with many local Little League teams and handles much of their training as well.
“This doesn’t look like your typical baseball place, although it serves the same function…but the cleanliness factor isn’t like anyplace else,” he said. “This is a full-service place…we want you to be able to come in here for a lesson, have a birthday party, inquire about our summer camp programs, and leave happy. We want the kids who come here to age with us and my main mission is to turn these kids into high school ball players if they want to. My daughter is a varsity softball player, and I see how positive it is for her. I want to give that to the kids that come in here as well.”
Sixth-grader Matthew Mancuso of Syosset was in a cage with his dad, working on his catching skills. He intends to try out for his school baseball team come next year and said that Frozen Ropes has helped him come a long away to preparing for that day.
“I think it’s a really good place…it has nice, wide cages,” he said. “It’s not too much money…at least, that’s what my dad says, I don’t know too much about that stuff. But overall, I really like it and I’ve improved a lot since I started coming here.”
Visit www.frozenropes.com to find out more.