As participation in youth sports has continued to grow, the establishment of independent strength and conditioning facilities aimed at helping young athletes develop a strong foundation on which they can continue to develop themselves physically and mentally seems like a natural progression in the evolution of the industry. Given the resources provided by the educational institutions that most youth athletes play for today, however, I’ve been curious about how these independent facilities establish business models that enable them to compete against the “free” facilities offered by these academic institutions.
Many of my questions were answered when I attended a presentation by Adam Feit, Direct of Sports Performance at Rypt, a training facility located in Tinton Falls, NJ. While Rypt offers training options for adults, they really excel at youth athletic development. You can learn more about Rypt on their website found here. The athletic and educational background Adam and his colleagues bring to their business definitely qualify them to work with athletes of any level. What differentiates Rypt’s business model is the system they have developed to establish a feeling of community and belonging among their youth participants. Adam and the Rypt team take a great deal of pride in establishing an environment where youth athletes feel like they are part of something special. Through special events, recognition and rewards for performance, promotion of their achievements within the facility and in the broader community and the recognition of the athletic endeavors achieved by their alumni long after they have left their facility, youth athletes feel a sense of pride at being a part of a special community – a community that they can’t find at their school(s). As a result, the youth athletes that participate in Rypt’s programs are willing to pay for a service that they would otherwise receive for free at their educational institution(s).
I intend to follow Rypt as they continue to expand their presence in their community. At first glance it seems as though this business model could be easily replicated, bringing competition into Rypt’s space. I disagree and I do so because of the passion that Adam brought to his presentation and the sense of pride I know he feels in the impact that he and the Rypt team have on youth athletes daily. This ingredient can’t be easily replicated. Rypt is succeeding because of their ability to understand what is important to a young athlete as they train to improve in their sport of choice, the quality of their facility and, most importantly, the human resources they bring to the education of the youth athletes who walk through their doors every day. They are training youth athletes the right way and I believe they will leave behind a legacy of successful student-athletes as they move on in their athletic, academic and professional careers.