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Adult Sports & Recreation in Multi-Purpose Spaces


Without question, budgets can be a limiting factor in any organizationís interest in and ability to provide quality sports and recreation programming. While youth sports programs can adapt more easily to lower quality equipment and smaller spaces, adult pick-up games and league play require competition-level equipment and full-size facilities to ensure safety, reducing liability concerns. 

The first question to answer is WHERE you have access to sports facilities.  If you own your own gym or multi-purpose space, this is likely an easy decision, but local schools, health clubs, and neighborhood parks can be excellent options with low- or no-cost usage fees.

Once your location is determined, equipment is your next hurdle.  If youíll be purchasing equipment, portable options are recommended so that they can be moved and stored safely when the building is used by non-members or for non-sports activities.  Easy to set up portable basketball systems are available for all levels of play and sizes of facilities, but steer clear of popular low-quality portable basketball systems designed for driveway play. Volleyball posts that fit into existing sockets in the floor or with socket adapters are an excellent choice, as long as storage dollies or racks are available, but competition-quality freestanding portable systems on rolling casters entered the market a few years ago, as well.  Portable soccer goals generally are available with transport wheels, but tip-over injuries are a concern, especially outside of game time, so appropriate ballast must be built-in or properly installed with each use and unsupervised play must be restricted.  Portable goals for football, rugby, lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey, futsal, and team handball can also be found, and the only obstacle is usually finding a place to store them when not in use.

Taking the necessary safety precautions is critical. Proper installation and storage can be verified by talking to the equipment manufacturer and requesting an instruction manual. Take inventory of all safety padding and purchase new padding if itís missing or in poor condition. In most sports, all surfaces that could make contact with a player must be padded. The concept of safe play areas reduces the likelihood of player-to-equipment contact, so be sure that open spaces surround your sports systems and visibly mark any sharp (e.g., bleachers) or hard-to-see obstructions (e.g., gopher holes) on the playing surface and surrounding areas.

So, who is going to pay for all this?  User fees from members may cover your equipment purchases, but a full return on your investment may take more than one year.  Savvy shoppers can often negotiate discounted rates or can inquire with their local sporting goods dealers or equipment manufacturers about current and future special offers. 

Just as in the major leagues, there are many sponsorship opportunities designed into most sports equipment. Most safety padding can be lettered or logoed with donor names or companies if the manufacturer offers this service. Full-color graphic wall padding can include photos, logos, and even donor advertisements, as can graphic scorers tables, seating, folding chair covers. Even graphic wraps for volleyball and soccer padding are now becoming popular. Benches and litter and recycling receptacles can be customized with laser-cut messages and graphics, as well.  Local sign shops can often provide ready-to-apply vinyl or printed banners for temporary donor recognition and, as any school booster club will tell you, the fundraising options are endless!

The camaraderie and fellowship that results from active adult sports leagues and even casual pick-up games will prove to be a good investment if your planning team is detail-oriented.  Sporting goods dealers and manufacturers can be excellent resources in determining which systems are the best match for the intended uses. 

This article is courtesy of Bison, Inc., www.bisoninc.com.










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