Private lessons are a great holiday gift for young athletes

| November 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

It’s that time of year, when holiday gifts add to the kids’ already overwhelming cluster of belongings, worldly goods, and… just… STUFF! Since it’s impossible not to give something material — at least a new tennis racquet, basketball or skateboard — why not replace some of those tangibles with private lessons?


NORMAN WOODS performs a crooked grind.

Norman Woods grew up in South Central Los Angeles but attended Birmingham High School in the Valley.

“I rode city buses to and from school, hours each way,” he said.

Woods played trumpet in the marching band, but it was skateboarding that appealed to him most.

“I learned to skateboard on sidewalks and curbs because there were no skate parks in Los Angeles at that time.”

There are few out there who skate better than Norman Woods. He’s competed on the Dew Tour, and his sponsors include Monster Energy, Converse and Kingswell, a skate shop in Los Feliz. He even has his own manufacturing company — Collage Skateboards.

WOODS with one of his Collage skateboards.

A session with Woods is more than a skateboard lesson; he teaches the sport’s history and culture, and his approach is philosophical and sensible.

“I instruct beginners to observe the other skaters around the skate park to learn the rules and protocol.”

Need an endorsement? One of Woods’ students was No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani’s son.


KAREN “Goldie” Goldberg instructs one of her league teams.

Any parent whose daughter has played basketball in Goldie’s Youth Sports All Girls League knows who Karen “Goldie” Goldberg is.

Goldberg began the program in 2018. There were 10 teams that contained 103 girls the initial season. This past spring, 350 players participated, and there were 36 teams. The league attracts girls from all over Los Angeles, but most of the games are played at St. Brendan School’s gymnasium.

“We’re so grateful to them for partnering with us to provide this service to our community,” said Goldberg.

Goldie grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts (home of Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler), and began playing basketball in an all-girls league in fourth grade.

“I was very fortunate to grow up in a town that gave girls lots of opportunities to participate in so many sports.”

At Brockton High School, she was on the Division I State Championship basketball team. Afterward, she attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she also played tennis.

Like Norman Woods, a session with Goldberg includes much more than just the sport’s techniques.

“I focus on giving girls their voice through sports — in this case, basketball. I focus on their body language and building their confidence and self-worth through incremental achievements on and off the basketball court.”


COACH Cliff Frazier is the head tennis pro at Poinsettia Park.

Cliff Frazier was in the music business before making tennis his full-time job.

Frazier grew up in Los Angeles and attended Beverly Hills High, where he also played basketball. Afterward, he attended Alabama State University on a tennis scholarship.

Frazier’s interest in tennis stemmed from his mother, Ronita Elease Elder. She played tennis at Whittier College, then worked for the Southern California section of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). She also founded Sports Explorer Inc., a nonprofit that provides a comprehensive sports experience for underserved children in Los Angeles. At present, Cliff and his mother co-chair the organization. Some of the money raised helps provide opportunities for kids to travel and compete at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

Coach Frazier can be found at Poinsettia Park, where he’s the head tennis pro, six days a week, wearing a big wide-brimmed sun hat and giving private and small group lessons on the tennis courts.

“My philosophy is trust, patience, effort, fun,” he said.

For private lessons, contact:

Skateboarding / Norman Woods,;

Tennis / Cliff Frazer, Instagram: @coach_frazier; or

Girls Basketball / Karen Goldberg,

If you have difficulties reaching any of these coaches, please contact me at

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Category: People

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