Editor's Desk - February 2015
Find a printable version here

The Right Tools, The Right Team

When I went to visit my folks and family over the holidays, I noticed something funny. Virtually all of them were wearing fitness-monitoring devices. While heart-rate monitors have been around for a long time, over the past few years, there's been a big jump in the number of people who are using fitness-monitoring wristbands and similar devices, which help keep track of everything from the number of steps you've taken and distance you've covered to the hours and quality of your sleep. And apparently, my family is on board with the trend.

Now, I'm not always one to jump onto a new technology bandwagon, but when my younger sister showed me how her Fitbit flower was growing as she racked up the steps, I caved. So far today, I've taken 7,609 steps—and it's just after lunch! The fun part is how motivating it is to be connected with my family. We cheer each other on, and commiserate when the subzero temperatures mean a day of marching around inside the house instead of going out for a walk.

I recently had a good conversation with Anthony Wall of the American Council on Exercise about how the growth in the use of such devices is having an impact on fitness clubs and personal trainers. You can read more of that conversation by visiting the RecManagement.com website and looking at our recent web-exclusive stories. Wall made a really good point about such tools: They're not motivational in and of themselves. In other words, they're a great tool—but they're nothing if you're not bringing your own motivation to the table.

And on top of that, he said that in addition to having such useful tools in your pocket (or clipped to your waistband, as the case may be), it's a good idea to have a coach or mentor in your corner, too—someone who can help educate you about what all those facts and figures at your fingertips mean, and who can help get you on the right track and keep you there.

It strikes me that this doesn't just apply to wearable fitness devices, either. Really, it applies to any new and exciting technology or method that comes along. The tools are great, but you can't make them work for you without the right guidance and education—without the right team of experts in your corner to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment.

We'd like to consider ourselves one small part of your team, as you keep your facilities up and running—sort of like the friend who can hook you up with all the right resources to turn your motivation into success.

In this issue, we'll point you toward some best practices in managing your aquatic center (see the pull-out supplement for more), as well as offering ideas in fitness programming, sports field management, adding a bit of fun to your parks with disc golf, mini golf and more, and creating community support for inclusive play.

All of it adds up to the perfect equation:

Your Motivation + Investment in the Right Tools + A Smart, Savvy Team of Experts = A Successful Facility.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management