Ask the Expert - Donna Davis, COO Sportika Freehold

Published
09/22/2016

Donna Davis believes in the future of full-service sports facilities – in the winter of 2017, Sportika will move to a new sports complex now under construction at 146 Woodward Road in Manalapan.The new Sportika will have 170,000 square feet of sports and non-sports elements that cater to both parents and children. Unlike other competitive facilities nationwide, the new Sportika will provide The Ultimate Sports Experience™­, offering competitive and non-competitive play, training on a private and team basis, league games and tournament hosting. Sportika’s ultimate goal is for each and every person who enters the facility, whether player or non-player, to have a relaxing  and enjoyable experience.

What is a “sports complex” and how is it different from traditional sports facilities?
Most current sports indoor facilities in the United States focus all of their attention on only the players, teams and coaches. The sports complex model caters to both competitive and recreational athletes of all ages, in a variety of popular sports, while also providing opportunities for the entire family to enjoy the sports experience while they support their young athlete. What truly distinguishes the modern sports facility concept from other indoor facilities is that it is designed to consider all age demographics of both participants and their fans.

How does the concept of a sports complex meet the needs of young athletes?
What was considered the norm in youth sports prior to the mid 90’s is no longer the mainstay. The landscape of organized youth sports has expanded exponentially, and now we find a flourishing of training grounds for collegiate and professional curriculums in this country and all over the world. Children as young as six years old are informally being recruited by private, professional academies, college scouts and pro scouts. Because of this, organizations are looking for state-of-the-art facilities where their players can train and practice for competition.

In many instances, players are being forced at very young ages to make critical decisions in terms of the sport they will focus on. Recreational sports, although a former breeding ground for elite athletes, are now considered to be an enjoyable agenda that gives a player the option to pursue sports at a higher level or simply remain in the program for enjoyment and physical activity.


Does a sports complex generally provide sports training as well as play opportunities?
Any sports complex with a comprehensive sports mission will offer training on a private and team basis, league games and tournament hosting. A new and exciting concept is to offer training through an inclusive program, where each player plays for a specific age group within an academy operated by the facility on a set fee membership basis. Included in their yearly fees is team training sessions and league games.

For additional fees, players may also elect to have private training sessions, participate in summer programs, and develop their skills within select focus groups.

Moreover, a good sports facility makes it a priority to decipher through thorough background screening and data-based research, which players and teams are to play at what skill level. Screening teams will insure a competitive league, and accurate academy and tournament placement at all levels.

What are some of the current and future trends in sports facilities in what they offer?
In a large, well-equipped complex like Sportika, different themed areas can accommodate young children, and adults can take advantage of a beautifully designed and landscaped compound. Features such as a state-of-the-art video arcade center, a spacious and entertaining lounge, a personal training center, birthday party rooms, and a myriad of self-standing retail kiosks make these new facilities entertaining destinations for the whole family.

Some specific trends in a modern facility include comfortable seating so that seniors will be able to remain in their seats for the entire duration of each event. Instead of being bored and restless, children will be able to enjoy the state of the art arcade while their siblings are playing in games or participating in practice. Parents waiting for young athletes to complete practice sessions will have the option of training in the personal training center or conducting business in a Wi-Fi lounge or meeting rooms. These exciting trends in sports facilities mean that not only players, but other children and adults of all ages will have a winning experience.