Sunday Spotlight: Tyler Steinfeld, owner and founder, Peak Athletics
Last October Tyler Steinfeld was driving to the Brewster Ice Arena for open skate and made a wrong turn. The road he had turned onto had a sign advertising available commercial space for rent. At the time, Steinfeld happened to be looking for space for a new business he wanted to open. He had a vision; all he needed was a location.
That wrong turn placed Tyler on the road to opening up Peak Athletics, a new indoor youth sports facility on Fields Lane in Brewster.
“Sports to me is an outlet for a lot of things: a stress reliever, the ability to be with your friends, to have a good time, to relax,” said Steinfeld, 20. “I want Peak Athletics to be that outlet for kids, to help them get better at sports and to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Steinfeld is committed to making Peak Athletics not only an elite sports training facility but also one that’s accessible for all kids.
“I grew up playing youth sports and remember it costing a lot to do it,” Steinfeld said. With Peak, he hopes to provide an outlet for kids hone their skills year-round. Currently, classes are $25 each for an hour and fifteen minutes, with the option to purchase unlimited classes for $96 per month.
Sports were very much an outlet to Steinfeld as a kid growing up in Somers. He played football, tennis and soccer, with the support of his parents at every turn. His mom coached AYSO soccer for a few years; his dad brought him to nearly all of his practices. Both of Steinfeld’s parents attended every one of his games.
Steinfeld says he benefitted from having many different coaches and styles of coaching to learn from through the years.
“My coaches growing up, I was able to pick and choose what character traits to take with me. I don’t think there’s one coaching philosophy. No one’s perfect, not even in sports. Having a variety of different coaches helped me to know what works for me.”
What works for Steinfeld is meeting kids on their level. Jen Colella, whose son Ty, 13, has been taking tennis lessons with Steinfeld for the past two years, said, “right away he developed a great rapport with Ty. He did very age appropriate and developmentally appropriate activities.”
Colella has known of Steinfeld since he was an elementary student in Somers, as she teaches in the district. Today the two are colleagues; Steinfeld is a teaching assistant at Somers Middle School while studying for a degree in secondary education at Manhattanville College.
Steinfeld has found that his presence in both an academic setting as well as in youth sports has helped him improve as a teacher and as a coach. He recently had a team of students from his school in Somers attend classes at Peak Fitness. “They’re able to look at me and go, ‘you’re not Mr. Steinfeld anymore, you’re Coach Tyler.’ It’s a different light they get to see me in.”
For Steinfeld, seeing kids achieve that lightbulb moment—in school, but especially in sports—is what keeps him motivated to juggle a full-time college schedule, student teaching and launching a new business.
“It’s such a great feeling when you see an athlete develop. You see it in their face when something clicks. They understand what they’re supposed to do and they’ll do it. I get goosebumps.”
The road to opening Peak Athletics was certainly not a straight line. Less than two years ago, Steinfeld was a student at James Madison University in Virginia. “I loved it there,” he said. His path abruptly changed though when his dad became sick. Steinfeld left school to be with him.
Sadly, Steinfeld’s father passed away and Steinfeld transferred to Manhattanville College to continue his studies closer to home.
“Tyler has overcome a lot of obstacles in his life and he’s a young person who is an incredibly hard worker. He’s probably one of the most driven kids I know,” said Colella. “He’s blown people away with what he’s been able to achieve and the direction he’s moving.”
Steinfeld’s ability to navigate adversity was put to the test in early February, just three days before his planned opening of Peak Athletics during the February school break. The turf Steinfeld had ordered had finally arrived and he and a small team of helpers began putting the turf down around 9:00 p.m. that evening. Before long, the group noticed that the turf company had sent two lots of differently colored turf.
“It was a fun night making phone calls to the owner of the company,” Steinfeld recalled. “It was one of those moments where you’re like, this isn’t happening. I’ve learned now, it comes with the business.”
Those moments in particular are when Steinfeld feels particularly grateful for the support network he has around him: his mom and sister, who are trusted sounding boards, and his friends (and friends’ parents) from high school and college who have rallied around to help get the business up and running, including some who have signed on to coach classes at the facility.
Said Steinfeld, “I have a great team of coaches. They have backgrounds playing in college and are passionate about teaching their sports. The share the same passion for helping kids to get better, and they really enjoy what they do. Every coach has told me that they want to coach because it’s something that they find fun.”
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