Holiday Hoops Clinic

Kids ages K5-6th grade are invited to the Birmingham Basketball Academy& BlackWatch Sports Holiday Hoops Clinic from 9-11 am on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 21st-22nd. The cost if $50 per camper and $30 per each additional family member. Registration can be found at

BlackWatch CLOSED Tuesday, December 12th

BlackWatch Sports Performance will be CLOSED this Tuesday, December 12th for the Alabama Senate election to allow for Shelby County voting. Normal operations will resume on Wednesday, December 13th.

Christmas Softball Clinics

This Christmas break, join us for Christmas softball clinics with former Division I athletes Chandler Dare (University of Alabama), Whitney Gillespie (JSU), and Taylor Sloan (JSU). Athletes can choose which session(s) to attend. Sessions for the day are as follows:

Defensive Skills, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Led by Chandler Dare

Campers ages 1st through 6th grade

$50 per camper

Pitching & Catching, 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Led by Whitney Gillespie and Taylor Sloan

Campers 1st through 6th grade

$50 per camper

Slapping Instruction, 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Led by Chandler Dare

Campers 3rd through 8th grade

$50 per camper

Registration can be found by clicking here. Have questions? Call or email today.

7 Ways to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Let’s be honest. The holidays can take a serious toll on our health. From extra stress and lack of sleep to indulging in sweets, our waistlines can begin to expand and out goals can start to fall by the wayside.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Like anything else in life, having a plan helps. If you’ve already done some holiday damage, it’s time to get back on track! Check out our 7 ways to stay healthy during the holidays and you’ll enter the New Year feeling energized and motivated to reach new goals.

1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Drinking water may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy thing to let slip. In between shopping trips or while you’re grazing the snack table at holiday parties — take a moment to hydrate. Keeping out bellies full with H20 (and not candy) can go a long way in terms of reaching our goals and keeping holiday weight gain at bay!

2. Keep your long-term goals in mind

What’s your “why” for staying healthy? Is it to improve your fitness? To reach a new level of stamina? Or, to stay healthy for your kids? Whatever your long-term goal is, keep it in mind when you feel like reaching for that second (or third) serving. Our goals are what motivate us and keep us on track.

3. Keep an eye on portions

One cookie won’t hurt you. Ten cookies? That can do some damage. Keep your portions in check during the holidays — making sure you only indulge a little. Think about all the hard work you’ve done up until this point. It would be a shame to let your progress unravel over a few weeks.

4. Schedule your workout plan in advance

This is the time of year when planning is paramount. If you’re worried about getting off your workout schedule, then take time to put it on your calendar every day. Or, better yet, find an accountability buddy who will call or text — making sure that you get to the gym.

5. Set realistic goals

It’s important to realize that we might get off track (a little) during the holidays. But, it’s also important not to set lofty goals and totally deprive ourselves of little pleasures. This kind of thinking has the potential to set us up for failure if we miss the mark. Set realistic goals this season, and allow yourself to partake in the merriment!

6. Take time to rest

Sleep is your friend during this season. When we sleep, we recover from the day before and reset our internal batteries for the next. Just like any other time of the year, getting a full 8 hours of sleep is important to staying healthy and reaching our health and fitness goals.

7. Get your cardio in while shopping!

Don’t have time to workout because you have to get gifts for family and friends? No worries. Park a little farther away from the store, take the stairs and get your heart rate up while you shop! You’d be surprised how many calories you can burn by taking a few extra steps every day.


2017 BlackWatch Braveheart Challenge

Braveheart Obstacle Race

First Ever Braveheart Challenge

On October 28th, 2017, BlackWatch hosted the first ever Braveheart Challenge Obstacle Race at Oak Mountain State Park. This 6-mile trail run was no easy feat!

Starting near the South Trailhead on Terrace Drive, the course wound up past the Alabama Wildlife Center and continued up the mountain. Along the trail, racers encountered tire pulls, walls to scale, monkey bars, rings, sandbag carries, and more. If the elevation and obstacles weren’t hard enough, the rain and the 40 degree day made the race very challenging. In addition to the adult race, NextLevl (Birmingham’s newest trampoline and obstacle fun park) hosted a 1-mile kids obstacle run through the woods by the lake for racers between the ages of 6-13.  Despite the chill and daunting race courses, over 358 racers signed up to race! Scroll down to see more event photos!

Adult Race Results

Adults racers signed up for the earlier Competitive (timed) race heats or the later Open (untimed) race heats. The top 3 male and female race finishers were awarded with prizes following the race. The first-place finishers received full-size Scottish swords, second-place finishers received goblet trophies, and third-place finishers received glass trophies.

Top 3 Males

1 – Shawn O’Brien (Pelham, AL), 56:26

2 – Justin McDonald (Birmingham, AL), 01:08:19

3 – Paul Lawrence (Birmingham, AL), 01:10:16

Top 3 Females

1 – Claire Sherling (Marion Military Academy)

2 – Kaci Hamilton (Birmingham, AL), 01:29:49

3 – Stephanie Smith (Birmingham, AL), 01:29:49


We could not have had a successful race without our wonderful sponsors! Click on the links below to learn more about each company who supported this great event.

CARE GROUP at ReMax Southern Homes 280Back on Track Chiropractic – Dr. Scott DucasMarc-1 Carwash

Shelby County, AlabamaChick-fil-a of Oak MountainThink Again! ConsignmentDonut Joe’sLowe’s Home ImprovementThe Trak ShakNextLevlGriffin FarmsPodos Boutique,

Shades of Green Landscaping, & 21st Century Signs

Future Races!

The 2018 BlackWatch Braveheart Challenge is scheduled for OCTOBER 27TH, 2018.

Go “like” the Braveheart Challenge Facebook page by clicking here to follow race updates and be the first to see race registration when posted!

Race Photos

To see more race photos, click here!

Season of Strength

Are you ready to get better, faster, and stronger? Between now and December 31st, sign up for your first month of membership at BlackWatch Sports Performance, and get the second month free! BlackWatch offers performance and fitness training for athletes of all ages and skill levels! Learn more about our programs below.

To register for your free session, call or email now!

Elementary Performance (ages 7-10) – Unlimited 30-minute sessions that cover the basics of speed, agility, and strength in a safe and fun atmosphere

Youth Performance (middle school) – Unlimited 60-minute small group training sessions (4-6 athletes/trainer) that go through upper and lower body strength, speed, agility, core strength, and power

Competitive Performance (high school) – Unlimited 60 to 90 minute small-group training sessions (3-6 athletes/trainer) that address strength, speed, agility, core, and power while all being geared toward the individual athlete’s goal(s) and sport(s)

Elite Performance (college and professional) – Unlimited 90-minute semi-private training sessions (1-2 athletes/trainer) that are designed to help each athlete achieve his/her athletic goals and include strength, speed, power, agility, and endurance

Fit for Life (adults) – Unlimited 60-minute small group training classes centered on cardio and strength and designed to help each client reach his/her fitness goals

5 Myths About Youth Resistance Training

Kids and weights — do they go together? Unless those weights are book bags, the most common answer is “no.” New studies, however, are pointing to a different answer.

By participating in resistance training, children can essentially get a leg-up on muscular fitness early in life. And, even though most parents know this, plenty of myths are still out there. We all agree that physical activity is good for our kids, but once weights come into the picture, hesitation sets in.

Aside from improving muscular strength, resistance training affords children the opportunity to practice movement skills and establish long-term physical development.

If you’re still on the fence about youth resistance training, let us dispel some rumors for you. Here are 5 myths you might have heard:


1. Resistance training can stunt child growth

Why it’s false: There’s no scientific evidence to support that resistance training stunts growth. If well-designed and supervised, resistance training can actually improve bone growth and development.


2. It’s unsafe

Why it’s false: Like any other intense physical activity, resistance training is only unsafe if it’s unsupervised. You wouldn’t let your child practice resistance training without an experienced coach just like you wouldn’t let your child play contact football without a helmet. Although accidents can happen, the key is in providing qualified instruction.


3. Youth need to be at least 12 years old to lift weight

Why it’s false: The only true requirement for youth resistance training is the ability to listen and follow instruction. When children are ready for organized sports — which usually happens at around age 7 or 8 — then they are ready to to be exposed to resistance training in a safe environment.


4. It makes girls bulky

Why it’s false: The only true effect of resistance training in young females is getting stronger — and that’s a good thing. While girls and boys react differently to this type of training, there is little evidence that resistance training will make girls bulky. Especially if the training is light and done daily, the outcome will be ideal.


5. Resistance training is only for young athletes

Why it’s false: Regular practice in resistance training can benefit any child — even those who are not on an athletic team. Resistance training builds strength for healthier body composition and improved physical skills. In fact, because the benefits are so many, resistance training is an encouraged behavior for children.


We hope this helped dispel some of the myths about youth resistance training. If you have any more questions, reach out to us and we will be more than happy to tell you about our programs and how they can improve your child’s physical strength.

(Content curated from this article)

Beckham Speaks to District Wellness Committee

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 – Thank you to the Hoover Department of Education’s Wellness Committee for inviting BlackWatch founder and CEO, Randy Beckham, to speak at their meeting today. Beckham spoke to the committee about his background, why he started BWS, where the company is today, and his vision for it in the future.

This meeting was also a great chance for BlackWatch team members to meet leaders in the Hoover City School system and learn about their efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles for both students and staff. The BWS team looks forward to working with Hoover students and staff in the future and helping encourage healthy lifestyles throughout the whole Birmingham metropolitan area.

Pilates Reformer

Pilates Reformer

Many of us have taken a Pilates class or know what it entails – slow, controlled movements that leave your abs sore for days and improve core strength. Most people, however, have never heard of Pilates Reformer. This is a form of Pilates that uses a large apparatus to further challenge the body. One look at the Reformer apparatus scares many away, but this tool has been proven to improve strength and flexibility. This apparatus used springs, straps, and a sliding carriage to create resistance against common Pilates movements.

View the video from Empower Physical Therapy in Pennsylvania to get an idea of how the apparatus works –

History of Pilates Reformer

The Pilates system was created by German-born Joseph Pilates in the 20th century. Born in 1880,  Pilates had a sickly childhood and used his teen years to test different exercise methods to become stronger and healthier. In 1912, he moved to England and became a professional boxer. During World War I, Pilates resided in a German internment camp where he served as a nurse. To help soldiers rehabilitate, he attached springs to hospital beds. These springs served as resistance devices that patients could use to exercise and improve muscle strength. This modified bed was the earliest form of the Reformer apparatus.

In 1923, Pilates moved to the U.S. where he opened his first exercise studio. This studio became a training home for many dancers where Pilates taught his exercise methods, referred to as “Contrology”. Ever since, this method has grown and is now referred to by his surname. Pilates instructors around the world teach this exercise method to people of all ages and skill levels. The slow, controlled movements challenge the muscles of the body, increase overall strength, and improve posture, flexibility, body awareness, and coordination.

Try it Out

BlackWatch offers Pilates Reformer classes with flexible scheduling. Led by an experienced instructor, classes will be tailored to each participant’s skill and comfort level with the Pilates system and apparatus. Our Pilates studio has space for two participants at a time, so sign up with a friend. To register for a class or to learn more, email us or give us a call today! Pricing can be found here.

Pilates Reformer

Baseball & Softball Lessons at BlackWatch Sports

Attention all baseball and softball players – being the best player you can be takes time and dedication. BlackWatch has the right coaches to help you perform better in any position and increase your speed and strength. These coaches have years of experience both in playing and coaching and are ready to share this knowledge with you.

To schedule one-on-one or team coaching with any of our coaches, give us a call at 205-518-6591 today!

Jeff Gillespie


Jeff is an Alabama native who has been involved with playing and coaching sports since a young age. During his college years, Jeff played baseball for both Wallace State and Belhaven College. He has coached elite fast-pitch softball teams since 2005 and is currently the Director of the Birmingham Vipers Fast-pitch Organization. Of his former players, 17 play at the D1 collegiate level. In addition, his teams have won 7 ASA A Alabama State Championships and have placed 2nd, 3rd (twice), 4th, and 5th at ASA A Nationals.

From youth sports to college baseball, Jeff  says, “sports has made me a disciplined person and the ability to say ‘WE’ in all situations”. He promotes that “success only comes through sincere commitment and hard work”.

William “Pookie” Wilson


William “Pookie” Wilson played baseball at Sylacauga before playing at AUM for college. After college, he was chosen to be part of the US National Team as an outfielder. During this time, William was recognized as an All-District 27 outfielder, was on two NAIA National Tournament Teams, and received All-American honors as an outfielder in ’92. William then continued his baseball career as an outfielder for a minor league Florida Marlins team.

Following his playing career, William took up scouting and coaching and still continues with coaching today. Some of his experience includes scouting for the Montreal Expos and coaching as an outfield base running instructor for the Florida Marlins and a minor league hitting instructor for both the Florida Marlins and the Kansas City Royals. Now, William is coaching one-on-one lessons to share this knowledge with baseball players of all ages!

Ben Craft


Ben is a Chelsea, AL native who attend Briarwood Christian School and was named an All-State Athlete in both baseball and football during his time there. Following  graduation, Ben played one season of football at UAB before realizing baseball was his true passion. After this, he transferred to Northwest Florida State Junior College to pursue his baseball career and was then recruited by Auburn to play his last three seasons with the Tigers as catcher.

Ben believes in the importance of hard work and mental toughness and is passionate about helping young athletes improve their game mentally and physically while fostering a competitive spirit. His love and knowledge of the game of baseball is apparent and he looks forward to helping other athletes succeed.