SKLZ and Athletes’ Performance Share A Mission To Advance Athletic Performance
SKLZ recently held the grand opening of their new international headquarters nestled in the city of Carlsbad, California, and TransWorld Business was lucky enough to take a grand tour of the new facilities, which is part of a partnership between SKLZ and Athletes’ Performance.
SKLZ started with baseball training and then in 2009, partnered with Athletes’ Performance, a leader in athlete training that works with thousands of athletes around the world, including the LA Dodgers. SKLZ new PR Manager Chad Romiti, formerly of Iron Fist, says the crossover between training and action sports is exploding into the market right now, and the introduction of the Carlsbad facility is a great fit for the many athletes and brands in the industry who are close by and looking for an outlet like this to train.
“Athletes’ Performance and SKLZ have worked with tons of action sports athletes, such as Olympic snowboarders and BMX athletes like Spencer Bass and X Games competitor Brett Banasiewicz, who was recently injured and is working on physical therapy,” says Romiti. “Since it is a world class facility we feel we have the opportunity to draw in action sports athletes as well, and we know they are training more now than ever. It’s not like the old days when you could just get on a skateboard and be a professional skateboarder. The same goes for surfing, as well.”
The explosive level of power needed for athletes in action sports is increasing by the moment, points out Romiti: “Yanking yourself over the handle bars of a bike, or pulling 720s and some of these new benchmark tricks in surfing and other sports at all levels--it takes more than just sitting on your couch.”
SKLZ has a blend of what they define as 2.0 technologies, supported by professional, skilled athletic trainers, and is open to building relationships with action sports brands, and in turn helping train and develop their athletes. We caught up with Romiti and SKLZ VP of Business Development James Choe, who gave us the scoop on how the training center provides the best of both worlds, and how the founders hope that this all-inclusive facility will help change the perception behind fitness moving forward, and give pro athletes of all disciplines, especially action sports, an outlet to build their performance skills.
How is SKLZ planning to partner and work closer with the action sports industry in the near future?
Romiti: We recently worked with Wasserman and a number of their athletes to promote The Success Project alongside with us. Ultimately we are looking at a variety of different opportunities. Right now our main goal is just to share the product and training method with as broad an audience as possible. We feel like it’s an emerging trend within the action sports arena and we definitley have the product and knowledge to help these athletes the same way we’ve been able to help professsional lacrosse, baseball and other athletes around the world.
Tell me more about The Success Project?
What are some recent examples of action sports athletes you’ve worked with?
What is SKLZ and AP all about?
We're the leading technical training brand around all the training accessories. Medballs, balance pads, we provide advanced skill and performance training tools. The AP side is the training facility. We brought together a partnership, which was established in 2009. We operate like we're one group, because culturally and through our vision mission we very are aligned, but the idea is simple. You can build all the stuff in the world, but what good is it if you can't support it with how to use it. So all the knowledge, content, and training instruction that helps you- as an athlete on how to use product x.
What’s the defining differences between SKLZ and Athletes’ Performance?
SKLZ is the leading training company as it relates to bringing in products, technology, and knowledge. We use technology by ways of how we deliver content, so when you look at SKLZ.com or any of our Apps we're developing, its integrating new technologies that help you perform. We're implementing sensors within Medballs and other equipment that allows the measurement of data. There are all kinds of performance metrics that everybody is after, including action sports. We are all looking for numbers. Then there's the knowledge piece, on how vast of a library can we create on training sport by sport. Athletes’ Performance brings to the table a solid history of proven training techniques and approaches that we feel is invaluable.
Who would the key customer for SKLZ be?
Naturally, you would expect the athletes to be our key customer, and they are- but the one who has the most influence in sports are the Coaches. Coaches are the ones who need tools that help construct their players. We try to take away all the thinking out of it. And when we say solutions, it is all encompassing.
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How do you think this new partnership strengthens SKLZ?
We could've taken the broad stroke approach, and say SKLZ is all things to all people. We could've built something that looks like Athlete's Performance, but it wouldn't be and we chose not to. We took a selfless approach to this business and recognized that we are trying to be the leaders as a training product company. Let's go find a counterpoint with somebody that we could recognize as the most credible training group, and say that we can co-exist together in one space – instead of trying to be the catchall. We want them to maintain their existence as a brand, and we want them to be included in the discussions. It's a lot better to align with the best-in-class partners, and not re-invent the wheel.
How do you view the fitness industry as a whole and how that fits into the action sports world?
I spent a number of years within fitness, and fitness was created as the follow up to body builders. At the time you had individuals who were only looking to body build, and those who just wanted to get in shape. Then you went through an era of jazzercise, balance training, etc. I wouldn't say they're fads per-se, but trends or influences that carried fitness year to year. For SKLZ we want to bring together all the principles that we have together with AP to produce a performance edge within fitness.
We're not inventing anything new necessarily. I tell this to Chad [Romiti] all the time. We're not inventing training; Yes we create our new methodologies/product, but at the end of the day they are all modes of teaching the intangibles. If you train well, you develop leadership, confidence - those skill sets carry on with you for the rest of your life, no matter what discipline you are working in.
You found a nice niche within this industry, how do you view the next couple of years for this facility and fitness as a whole? Do you feel that it will continue to expand?
Yes- this is just the beginning of it. It's going to be up to us to keep focus, so that we're not just trying stuff marshmallows in a piggybank. We just have to keep sorting through the information overload, and tending to our athletes needs versus what we want. The skill set we need to gain over the next couple of years is to listen and to respond. There's all type of opportunity in the market, we're fortunate to be in an area where there are more than a few available. We just to need to understand what will be the make the most impact and deliver it.
Thank you for the great tour, and a moment of your time!