Feature Article - March 2006
Find a printable version here

Command Performance

Sports performance training offers fitness facilities some room for improvement

By Margaret Ahrweiler

Youth Will Be Served—And Adults Too

Performance training currently caters primarily to a youth market. And it's no wonder. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the under-18 group is the second fastest growing market in the fitness industry. In 2004, gyms counted 4.6 million kids as members, up from only 2 million in 1993.

And while most fitness clubs have grown their youth business through their adult clients, the reverse is true at performance facilities: Gym owners are reaching adults through their young clients to get the maximum use out of their facilities.

"You've got great coaches all sitting here in a pretty empty gym from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.," says Clete McLeod of Velocity Sports Performance in Warrenville, Ill. "Why not have adults?"

Many parents see the workouts their sons and daughters receive and want to try something similar. McLeod also has seen a number of parents who played sports in their youth and want to return to that type of training.

"You're treated like an athlete here, regardless of your age, and a lot of moms and dads appreciate that," he adds. At this point, adults make up only about 5 percent of the Warrenville Velocity, but McLeod expects that figure to grow as the parent effect continues to take hold.

At Sports Performance Advancement in Appleton, Wis., owner Tony Soika says he trains primarily youths as well but also works with adult "occupational athletes," people shipping out for the military who want to hit the ground running for basic training, or police and fire professionals.