Improving communities through sport

Innovative Recreation Center Programming, Part 2


Community recreation centers throughout the country are driven by strong sense of purpose. Their leaders see a need around them and build programs to fulfill it. That’s why recreation centers feature versatile programs that enhance community health, develop technical skills, and support citizens during a crisis. In the first part of our series on innovative recreation center programming, we discussed an exciting new wave of initiatives that are already impacting lives everywhere. In this part, we will provide a few more fun and important examples that may be coming to a rec center near you.

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In recent years, pickleball has emerged as one of the nation’s most popular recreational activities among people 35 and over.  According to a report from the USA Pickleball, 50 percent of pickleball players were in this age range. Additionally, the sport is growing rapidly with a 34 percent increase in players between 2018 and 2020. Today 4.2 million people are at least casual players. The game is played similarly to tennis with two players (four players for doubles matches) volleying a ball back and forth with points going to the person or team that can maintain the volley the longest. It’s been described as a mashup of badminton (where the sport gets its origins), tennis, and ping pong. Small paddles replace tennis rackets, and the net is the size of badminton net, lowered to ground. The ball is similar in size and structure to wiffleball.

Fitness and Behavior Change Programs

There has been a realization among fitness and recreation center management leaders that the physical changes that people desire are often driven by mental and emotional changes. In response, community recreation centers are developing programs that work to reduce fat, build muscle, and encourage behavioral change and better habits. Programs are combining daily workouts with one-on-one sessions with coaches that talk as much about life surrounding exercise as the exercises themselves. These groups also have a community communication element that allows members to build accountability and support during the challenging parts of getting in shape.

Sports Performance Training

Sports performance training is a vital part of maintaining a competitive edge for college and pro athletes as well as a gateway to earning a scholarship for high school athletes. However, recreational athletes are starting to see the benefits as well. Recreation centers are now dedicating a portion of their fitness areas to amenities that build speed, strength, and agility, including turf areas, 60-yard dash tracks, power hurdles.

Recovery Areas

Recovery has also been focused on high level athletes in the past. Now, any athlete can benefit from amenities such as cryotherapy, jacuzzies, and infrared saunas. Fitness facilities are also using tools like the NormaTec Recovery System to push fluids through arms, hips, and legs to reduce post-workout soreness.

True innovation in this space begins with great recreation center management. For ideas from the top facilities around the country or if you are looking to elevate the performance your recreation or fitness center, contact us today at 727-474-3845.

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