While the Chattanooga area has become a mecca for outdoors enthusiasts, it long has been a center for all kinds of recreation, including indoor pursuits such as bowling, boxing, gymnastics and racquetball.
From car racing to yachting, from bocce to rugby, area residents and visitors have many kinds of opportunities for competition.
Area YMCAs offer a variety of recreational offerings for individuals and teams, for adults and children. Their numbers are as follows: downtown branch 423-266-3766, North River 423-877-3517, Hamilton 423-899-1721, Henry 423-266-4844, North Georgia 706-858-0590.
The following list gives some specifics about where to go or whom to call for particular kinds of recreation.
Archery: Instruction, gear to buy and a practice range for adults and children are available at Choo-Choo Archery-Etc. at 4270 Bonny Oaks Drive, 423-622-6849.
Auto racing: Chattanooga Region, Sports Car Club of America (www.crscca.com), including teen driving schools. Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, 706-891-9831. One-third-mile oval dirt tracks: Boyd's Speedway racing on Fridays, 706-891-6803; North Georgia Speedway at Chatsworth on Saturdays, 706-695-3313. Cleveland Speedway was going through a change in management and contact information as March approached, but a 2012 season there was expected.
Badminton: Seniors play regularly on Wednesday mornings (10 a.m.-noon) and often on Saturdays at the Brainerd Recreation Center. Call Gene Blaes at 423-624-0501. Seniors play badminton and pickleball almost daily at the Frances B. Wyatt Center on Colville Street.
Baseball: Many community associations for youth play. Also, there is the Tennessee Valley NABA League (email email@example.com) as well as the recreational Tristate Baseball League (firstname.lastname@example.org) for adults. Both are wood bat leagues.
Basketball: Community youth leagues, including through Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department centers and Upward programs in some churches, plus adult leagues through some recreation centers and area YMCAs. AAU/YBOA programs for girls and boys throughout the area, including the Chattanooga Basketball Foundation (boys and girls ages 5-10, Book McCray at 423-227-7206) and Tennessee Xtreme girls (Juan Hansford, 423-635-0999, or www.tnxtreme.com).
Bicycling: Information for all types of area cycling, including races and recreational rides, is available at www.bikechattanooga.org. There also are the Chattanooga Bicycle Club (www.chattbike.com), which coordinates the annual 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge; the competition-oriented Scenic City Velo Club (www.sceniccityvelo.com); and the local affiliate of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (sorbachattanooga.org). Trail locations include Booker T. Washington State Park, Raccoon Mountain and the Tennessee Riverwalk.
Billiards/darts: Many area food and drink establishments offer billiards and darts competition. For one, Chattanooga Billiard Club East (423-499-3883) has APA league play on Mondays and Wednesdays, a cash league on Tuesdays, a 9-ball league on Thursdays and tournaments every Sunday starting at 3 p.m. The Greater Chattanooga Darting Association (www.gcda.org or email email@example.com) has league play throughout the area and hosts a big annual fall tournament, the Choo Choo Classic, benefiting Special Olympics.
Bocce: The ancient Italian cousin to lawn bowling can be played at Heritage Park in East Brainerd and at several private courts in the area. Dr. Frank Knight, chairman of the Chattanooga Bocce Club (www.chattabocce.org), continues to develop a four-court indoor clubhouse. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4179.
Bowling: There are leagues for every level from novice to elite and from children to seniors, as well as nonleague bowling. Area centers: Holiday Bowl Brainerd (423-899-2695), Holiday Bowl Hixson (423-843-2695), AMF Tri State Lanes in East Ridge (423-867-2281) and Valley Entertainment Center in Dunlap (423-949-4089), which also offers roller skating. There are two Galaxy centers in Cleveland: 423-472-4254 and 423-473-8738. The newest area center is Pin Strikes (423-710-3530) at Lee Highway and Highway 153, which does not have leagues but is also a laser-tag entertainment center.
Boxing: Amateur youth clubs include Red Bank Boxing (Skipper Fairbanks, 423-877-4113) and the Westside Knockouts based on Central Avenue (Andy Smith, 423-847-7682). Joe Smith (423-400-8472) has been a USA Boxing regional representative and national vice president and was team manager for the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxers.
Canoeing/kayaking: See www.tvccpaddler.com for information about the Tennessee Valley Canoe Club. The Outdoor Chattanooga number is 423-643-6888. Canoe rentals are available at Greenway Farm in Hixson (423-842-6629) and Canoe the Sequatchie in Dunlap (423-949-4400).
Disc sports: The Chattanooga Ultimate League has coed team play for ages 15-older at Camp Jordan Park. See www.nakedpretzel.com for details. Disc golf courses in the area include The Sinks off Access Road in Hixson, Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, the Jack Mattox complex in Catoosa County and Cloudland Canyon State Park near Trenton, Ga.
Football: Community youth leagues. Women's tackle football with the Chattanooga Locomotion (www.gochattanoogalocomotion.com, or call 423-580-6290) and minor league men's teams including the Chattanooga Steam (www.steamfootball.com) and Tennessee Crush (tennessee-crush.com). There are adult flag leagues through some area YMCAs and the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department (423-643-6055).
Gymnastics: Children and youth programs at Tennessee Academy of Gymnastics in Chattanooga (423-894-3910), Gymnastics Center of Chattanooga in Ooltewah (423-238-5258), American Elite Gymnastics in Catoosa County (706-861-4500) and Garner's Gymnastics in Hixson (423-842-5407).
Hang gliding: Tandem flights and full-scale instruction at Lookout Mountain Flight Park (706-398-3541 or 800-688-5637).
Inline hockey/skateboarding: Chattown Skatepark (423-757-2076) next to Finley Stadium is a Chattanooga Parks facility offering roller hockey and bicycling. See www.bikechattanooga.org for information on Choo Choo Rollers group skates.
Lacrosse: Increasing opportunities in the area include Signal Mountain and Middle Valley (www.mvya.org) youth club organizations. McCallie School coach Troy Kemp (423-493-5630) is a resource for areawide participation.
Racquetball/handball: Play and competition through area YMCAs and the Sports Barns (downtown 423-266-1125, Lee Highway 423-855-0091, Hamill Road 423-870-2582).
Rock climbing: Some of the best climbing places east of the Rockies are near Chattanooga, including Sunset Rock, the Tennessee Wall, Rock Town and Buzzard Point. Instruction and practice offered by The Adventure Guild (423-266-5709), and by the Tennessee Bouldering Authority (423-822-6800) and Urban Rocks Gym (423-475-6578).
Rowing: Instruction and competition through Lookout Rowing Club and Chattanooga Junior Rowing at the Chattanooga Rowing Center (423-622-6846).
Rugby: The Chattanooga Rugby Club has a men's team and has had and would like to establish women's and youth teams. New Montague Park fields should be ready by 2013. See www.noogarugby.com for contacts and event information.
Running: The Chattanooga Track Club (www.chattanoogatrackclub.org) sponsors and helps with a variety of road and trail races from 5-kilometer to ultra-marathon distance, plus triathlons. Annual highlights include the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon in July and the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in early November in the nation's oldest military park. A new downtown 26.2-mile race, the 7 Bridges Marathon in October, is run by Scenic City Multisport (www.sceniccitymultisport.com). The downtown Sports Barn (423-266-1125) provides triathlon training, and Rock/Creek Outfitters (www.rockcreek.com) sponsors a series of trail races. The Chattanooga Jets are a successful youth track and field club.
Scuba diving/skiing: Choo Choo Diving & Aquatic Center (423-899-1008) or Leisure Time Dive & Ski Center (423-622-1335). The latter also offers snow ski instruction and equipment. Dodge City Ski Shop at 7968 East Brainerd Road (423-892-6767) has a virtual ski machine that provides skiing and snowboarding simulation for practice.
Shooting sports: Benton Sporting Clays in Polk County (423-338-6034); Carter Shooting Supply in Harrison (423-344-1099).
Soccer: Area YMCAs and community associations for youth and some adult play, including Redoubt (423-899-4180), Camp Jordan Arena (423-490-0078), U.S. Elite Training (indoor leagues, 423-843-9511), Premier Soccer Academy (423-847-6565); Hispanic League, Sergio Ramos (423-362-0148). The Chattanooga Football Club (chattanoogafc.com) offers high-level men's play in the National Premier Soccer League.
Softball: Community associations for girls' coach-pitch and fastpitch play, plus organizations throughout the area for adult slowpitch leagues. Included are leagues at the Summit of Softball (Richard West, 423-643-6055 or 423-595-4540), the Jack Mattox complex in Catoosa County (Adam Wilson, 423-903-2123), Veterans Park in Soddy-Daisy (Jimmy Pickett, 423-544-5368) and the Hixson Kiwanis League (Ron Fugatt, 423-842-9635, or Geoff Holden, 423-710-3933).
Swimming: Lessons from the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department, YMCA, McCallie School and others. Chattanooga Parks outdoor pools at Warner Park (423-697-1330) and Carver Recreation Center (423-622-7665); indoor pools at Brainerd (423-425-3600) and South Chattanooga (423-425-3550) centers. Chattanooga Area Swim League summer competition in communities from Cleveland to Calhoun, Ga., and a separate "fun league." Year-round youth training through the Baylor Swim Club (423-267-8506, ext. 267), the Scenic City Aquatic Club (John Woods, 423-634-7606) and the city of Chattanooga (Peggy Grall, 423-697-1385). River Rats masters competition for adults (Stan Corcoran, 423-493-5536). For the Baylor Diving Club, which has a competitive springboard team for youth and adults, call John Bonds at 423-267-8506, ext. 654.
Tennis: Instruction and competition through the Chattanooga Tennis Association (423-843-2456), Champions Club (423-870-3112), Manker Patten Tennis Club (423-266-6767), Racquet Club in Hixson (423-842-9622) and Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain (706-820-0766). Play available on parks department courts, including Warner Park as the home for the Chattanooga Racqueteers adult competition team; the Racqueteers also provide training for kids as well as adults.
Therapeutic recreation: Includes wheelchair basketball, power soccer, CHIPS golf, wheelchair tennis, adaptive cycling, kayaking, rowing and water ski opportunities. Call Elaine Adams with the Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Department at 423-697-1345.
Volleyball: Adult leagues, including coed, through Chattanooga recreation centers and some area YMCAs. Junior Olympic girls' programs throughout the area, most notably the Choo-Choo City Volleyball Club organization (email Paul Brock at email@example.com) and the Cleveland-based Ocoee Heat Volleyball Club (www.ocoeeheatvb.com) for multiple age groups. Call Warren Barger (423-875-9635) about seniors play.
Water skiing: Lake Chickamauga and other area waterways provide plenty of opportunities for recreational skiers, and No Wave Wake in Fort Oglethorpe is a proven practice venue for national and international standouts in the sport.
Weightlifting: Beyond a variety of area fitness centers, health clubs, YMCAs and other options that include weights and weight machines, Steve Fauer with Tennessee Speed & Strength (423-870-4060) works with teens for competition.
Wrestling: There are several kids clubs in the area, particularly in communities with strong high school programs. UTC has one with an areawide pull, the Chattanooga Wrestling Club (www.utckidswrestling.com). Contact Mike Hatcher at 423-303-0760.
Yachting: Privateer Yacht Club, established on Lake Chickamauga in 1940, sponsors local, regional and national levels of competition and conducts instructional camps for youth. Call 423-877-9411.