Inside a renovated industrial complex in Thousand Oaks is the makings of a Southern California sports experiment.
The Sports Academy, scheduled to open this month, aims to be the sports version of Wal-Mart and Costco — a one-stop, one-shop place for athletes of all ages and sizes to train, practice, compete, study, rehabilitate, hang out, eat and find anything and everything they need without having to drive around traffic-congested Southern California.
The facility is 96,000 square feet and will contain five volleyball courts; two beach volleyball courts; five basketball courts; a turf field; batting cages; pitching mounds; yoga therapy and cycling training studios; a biomechanics lab; a sports medicine clinic; weight training; nutrition training; a sports psychology clinic; private work study areas and lounges; a healthy nutrition cafeteria; and an academic support and learning center.
At a time when parents are spending hundreds of dollars on private coaches and travel teams trying to gain an edge, the Sports Academy is striving to become the place to be for teams and individuals seeking improvement.
“I think it can be successful because this is the lifestyle that many of us are living that have kids playing in competitive sports in Southern California,” said Chief Executive Chad Faulkner, a former Kansas State football player. “There’s the logistical elements in living that life, and then there are the demands placed on our kids which comes back on us as parents supporting them.”
The sports medicine component of the facility looks promising; if you get injured or sick, who needs to go to a hospital? There’s an X-ray machine, athletic trainer, massage therapist, medical doctor, nutritionist, physical therapist, chiropractor and nurse practitioner.
The Sports Academy is hiring directors for specific sports that will lead to teams and individuals engaging in private tutoring any day or night of the week, whether it be soccer, lacrosse, track, basketball or volleyball. High school coaches have been receiving tours inviting them to use the facilities and let their players know what is available.
According to a IBISWorld’s Coaching market research report, the sports coaching business reached revenues of $6 billion in 2015. Charging $100 an hour for specialized coaching in baseball or softball has become routine.
With the Rams making Cal Lutheran their practice facility and players expected to move into the area, the facility could become a popular destination in the off-season for Rams players and others.
But the target audience is youth, middle school and high school competitive athletes. The founders want to host AAU competitions and have club teams work out at the facility.
“It’s an all-in-one solution for them,” Faulkner said. “We will also be working with the people supporting the athletes — parents, aunts, uncles. It’s not a place for parents having to sit in the parking lot. It’s not just open for elite athletes. This place is open to all athletes of all ages.”