I’ve got a new addiction. It’s Hill Street Boxing.
If you’ve driven down Route 27 in Southampton, in a parking lot across from the Blackman building you’ve likely seen a forever parked Hill Street Boxing van, but the actual studio is next to the village movie theater. Walking in once to Avery Crocker’s Boxing Bootcamp had me returning four times in two weeks.
When did you open Hill Street Boxing studio?
The idea for Hill Street Boxing started over five years ago when my partner Tommy Haynia and I discussed the need for a boxing fitness gym in the area. We had been training privately at his home for years and always spoke of how great it would be for the community to have a place where people could come together through their interest in boxing, train hard, stay healthy, and learn the techniques and discipline of the sport.
What drew you to boxing?
I’ve always loved the sport. I watched the pros as a kid, and loved all the “Rocky” movies. I was always a scrappy kid and loved to play fight or “slap box” with friends. Boxing was a personal test of true mental and physical strength. I also played the drums throughout high school, and found this helped me tremendously with understanding the rhythms in boxing.
What’s your background in the sport?
I’ve been a student of the sport for over 15 years now. I started learning from a few older guys at the gym when I was a teenager and fell in love with the discipline of the sport. I moved to Brooklyn. It was then I began working out at the renowned Gleason’s Gym in DUMBO. I met and began training with former Middleweight Champion Iran “Blade” Barkley. I returned home to begin training other people who shared the same passion.
I have a USA Boxing Level 1 Certification and am heading down to Miami this month to complete a Boxing Fitness cert with former pro boxer and Olympian Tony Jeffries at the Box n Burn Academy. I’ve taught boxing classes at local gyms and trained private clients in their homes for years, but am so happy to finally have a place I can call home, where everyone can come down and workout together.
Who is your ideal client?
Anyone and everyone can take up boxing for many different reasons. Whether it’s to compete, cross train, learn something new, improve your self-defense and self-esteem, lose weight, shred calories, or just let out a little stress, boxing is beneficial for anyone at any fitness level.
Describe your coaching technique.
My approach is always focused on proper technique and form. Each client is different, but in order to really understand the sweet science of boxing, one has to understand how their body works. For example, learning how to stay light on their feet, maintain balance, shift their weight, keep their stance in line while throwing or taking punches, etc.
I use strength training exercises and conditioning drills mixed in with footwork, bag work, and especially mitt work to every session. I push my clients to reach their full potential and make sure they leave nothing behind when the hour is complete.
How many boxing bags do you have? What are their different uses?
We have over 25 bags in our facility: over 15 heavy bags, and water bags of different shapes and sizes for working your power punches. Speed bags, slip bags and double end bags for working your speed, eye-hand coordination, timing, and defense. And even a couple muy thai bags for those who want to come and practice their kickboxing.
What is the smallest class size you’ll take and largest class size?
We will work one on one with someone if they are the only one to show up to a class, and take up to as many as 25 for our Bag classes. Our circuit classes are structured in small group circuits, so the numbers are limited to 12 to 15.
What’s your power song to work out to?
I grew up in ‘90s listening to hip-hop like Wu-tang, Mobb Deep, The Lox, Capone-n-Noreaga, DMX, Nas, and M.O.P. But currently I’d have to say: “Purple Lamborghini” — Skrillex featuring Rick Ross.
Crocker seamlessly combines high intensity interval training, agility footwork, and traditional boxing training, all amounting to a real sweat session. Jump rope, treadmill, burpees, air punches, punching bag, ladder steps, box jumps, weights, boxing exercises, are a part of the mix. Each technique is designed to increase cardio, strength, and skillset.
One on one, Crocker taught me the numbers corresponding to punches and tightened up my form so I could really knock someone out and stand tall against a punch. It’s empowering, and he makes boxing fun and accessible to anyone willing to get their butts kicked.
Hill Street Boxing is located at 33 Hill Street in Southampton. Check out the schedule online at www.hillstreetboxing.com or call 631-377-3087.
This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here