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Entrepreneurial Coaching and the Arizona Sports Ranch by Bob Gillett (1999)

Can everybody hear me back there? I’ve seen talks about the business part before at ASCA clinics, and they haven’t been super well-attended for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because of the people we’re speaking across from, or something like that, but anyway, I hope that you’ll get a lot out of this talk, today. We’re going talk about coaching entrepreneurship, and it’s something that I’ve been involved with for most of my career, and hopefully, you can pick up some pointers from some of the things I’ve experienced.

 

One of the things that I would like to tell you is this talk   is mainly a case study on specifically the Arizona Sports Ranch, but by the same token there are so many principals, and so many things that you can take and apply into your own coaching, and hopefully, it will set you up for the future a little bit. So what we’ll do is just take off and start running through the presentation here. One of the things with this small group, I would kind of like to do the presentation, but then hopefully I’m going to have some time at the end where you can kind of question me because I know that coaches a lot of times are interested in very specific things that they’re thinking about, and they don’t have the resources to go to. For example, how much does it cost to chlorinate a 50 meter pool? Things like that that they may not have that they may want. How much does it cost to resurface a pool or something like that, so if you have any questions like that, I’d be glad to do it at the end.

 

As far as the presentation, we’ll take a little picture tour of the Arizona Sports Ranch. We’ll talk about the conceptual development of ASR from the time when I was a young coach and then the stage development, then operational overview of ASR. And then at the end of it we want to cover some guiding principles for you. Some things that might help you out in your pursuit of the business part of coaching.

 

First of all, let’s do this little picture tour. This is a picture of the Arizona Sports Ranch in 1980. It’s in northern Phoenix way out north on the borderline, and when we actually started the sports ranch, you can see it has a date down here, 1990, and all these are housing and everything, and none of this was built. There’s not anything in the picture that was built when we first started this, so basically what I’m telling you is we went out in the middle of the desert and bought a piece a land. We didn’t even really know where it is, we just saw it on plot maps, and took off and developed. But this is the sports ranch right here. It’s a 10-acre parcel of land, and you can see we have a little air dome over our 25-yard pool, this is a 50-meter pool, this is what we call the ranch house. This is where I live. This is the ranch house. And this is the earlier stage of development. There were some basketball courts here, and there’s four tennis courts over here. And one of the keys to what I did the success of it, was that I

. . . this is a 10-acre parcel down here. But as you can see down here, there’s another housing tract that was going in in 1990, and that’s called Arizona Sports Ranch Village. It was a 10-acre down here. So I actually had two 10-acre parcels. had 20 acres of land that we pieced together, and this became very instrumental in the development of the project is to have that other 10 acres down there which is now called Arizona Sports Ranch Village.

This is what it looked like in 1996. You can see the pool here you couldn’t see probably in the other edition of the picture earlier. Here’s the ranch house it’s kind of built in an O shape. The front part’s about 4,000 square feet, and that’s considered my house type part, and then there’s the back part back here called the suites and that’s about 4,000 square feet, so the ranch house all together is about 8,000 square feet, and you can see how far I have to go for workouts my commute time is about 15 seconds, and it’s great. Then the 50-meter pool some little details that you wouldn’t be able to identify otherwise, there’s kind of two walls here. And one of these walls right here, in between there, are solar panels. Again, that’s very instrumental in the operational expense of the sports ranch, those solar panels right there. We have an activity center here, it’s 1,600 square feet. We have a bath house, a boys and girls changing room and a front office. And at this particular time still, a few years ago, this is sand volleyball center, four tennis courts over here that are lighted, and these are the soccer field areas out here the play field areas, and this was still basketball courts right here. Now this now has been changed into a roller hockey rink. We have roller hockey leagues, and there’s actually another building here right now. So it’s something that has consistently been developed over the years. This is the front of the ranch right here where our personal entrance is. And another entrance shot of our ranch house.

When we started, those little trees that you saw real big, one of them was given to us by the contractor who built our house. It was about like that, now they’re huge trees. This is a 25-yard pool. This is the activities over here. A little activities center. And this is a four-lane 25-yard pool. Now, we have lots of things there, but one thing about the 25-yard pool, it’s basically where everybody develops. That’s where Misty Hyman developed in a four-lane 25-yard pool.   She did not necessarily develop in the 50-meter pool. Here’s the 50-meter pool at the end, closest to our house. Our house  is right over here again, not too far away. Give you another look at that. The 50-meter pool in relation to the 25-yard pool. Here’s the 25-yard pool has an area of about 20 feet across there between them. There’s the 50-meter pool looking back towards our house. It’s a 50-meter by 25-yard pool. It’s 25 yards this way. We have 22 lanes this way, and we put in nine foot lanes with a little on the outside because we wanted big lanes to train in. This is looking from the pool, and this is where I go in each day. This is my office back here, and have a little atrium area there for a Jacuzzi and that type thing. When you go into this area right here, you go down to the suites area. This is where the swimmers that come for camps and everything, they stay here, or visiting teams that come to the training center. This is looking out at that grass area. It looks across the soccer field and there’s another house right over here.

 

And I’ll talk about this person I have a person who’s a been a friend of mine in coaching for years and years and years. His name is Scott MacFarland. I’m sure a lot of you know him. When Scott came with me, we bought this house. This real nice little house over here. It has a gate that goes into his house, so all he has to do is walk across to the pool when it’s time for workouts, and he’s ready to go, too. This is the 50-meter pool looking from my office area, and see we have a grass area here, then the 50-meter. The 50-meter pool’s open right now. No water in it, and you can see work people down into it. And this is an air dome that we put over the 50-meter pool during the winter primarily to cut down operational costs. As you know, we’re the only people in Arizona that swim indoors, but the reason we do is because of the operational costs.

 

If I forget to mention this, to give you a little specifics about this. This 25-yard pool costs about $2,800 a month to heat in Arizona. It’s pretty expensive to heat pool there. With the solar and the air dome over it, it cuts it down to $500. Now you go, $2,800 . . . $500. Which do you want? And obviously that’s why we do it. It pays for itself every four months. It’s one of those few things in life that we’ve ever had that they say, this will pay for itself. Solar heaters and bubbles pay for themselves. They do do that.

 

We do not keep the 50-meter pool open in the winter right now, that’s one of our big goals, and the reason why we don’t is because it’s a bad business deal. I mean, there’s just so much you’ll do it’s $7,000 a month for the heating. $1,000 for the electrical turnover. Another $500 for the chemicals. And if you’re out on the edge of Phoenix, and you don’t have a very big team, and you don’t have that income, it’s all loss if you choose to do that. We’ve never chose to do that yet. To keep it open all year long. Hopefully, as the population moves out more towards us, and envelopes us, which it’s doing right now, big time, because Phoenix is one of the fastest growing areas in the country, we anticipate that we will get enough local kids that swim for us where we’ll be able to keep the 50-meter pool open. We could do it right now from a financial standpoint, but it’d be very poor business.

 

We have a sand volleyball center. Has four lighted courts on it. We have a hockey facility. This just shows you how you get to our hockey facility from our parking lot. You just walk down a sidewalk. We now have a hockey building where we have a hockey pro shop and that type thing in a hockey area. This is a berm right here, that we set up, and the pool is on the other side of that. So this berm kind of separates the swimming facility from it.

 

This is a picture from the pool office looking at it, and you can see the air dome, what the air dome looks like over the 25-yard pool. And this air dome, it retails for about $10,000 is what it does. And it’s 20 gauge vinyl, and we have to worry about them. The way they eventually go is the wind tears them up. This is a brand new one. Last year was the first year for this one. They have a prorated guarantee of about three years on them, and we had the last one for six years. So, you can look at the amortization cost over a six-year period for a $10,000 item that saves you $2,800 a month good deal.

 

This is a parking lot. One of the hard things about having a facility like this is working with parking requirements and everything. This is our 50-meter pool. You can see we have people down here and what they’re doing is they’re washing it out. This was taken probably at the end of March because we take down this on April 1st, usually, so we were getting the 50-meter pool ready to open, and we don’t open it until we can pretty much be assured that it’s only going to cost us a couple of thousand dollars a month to heat. We’re not going to open it up when we still have to pay $7,000 a month to heat the pool. But this is kinda what it looks like right here. This is what it looks like inside the air dome. Actually it’s pretty roomy works real great, especially for young kids, works real great. But that’s what the four lanes look like that. It’s too bad you can’t see this real good, but there’s not very much volume to it, and we actually roll it up, put it in the back of a pick-up, take it around and store it. And then we bring it back out every fall and just tie it down. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort or a whole lot of expense to do it. We do it in a couple hours. In fact, if we wanted to, we could take it down, have a swim meet or something like that if it’s a nice day, but it’s quite a bit of pain.

 

This is the soccer field right here. You can see we have three little soccer fields that we use mainly for sports day camp, and this is the house I was telling you about that Scott MacFarland lives in. You can see the gate over there. It’s a real nice set-up for him. This is the hockey facility. We have a sports court floor in it. And we also use it for basketball for our summer sports day camp. This is another view of the ranch house. And again, another view of the office, and where the kids from the deck where they enter to go into the dorms. This happens to be my office. I’d like to tell you my desk doesn’t always look like that, but it looks worse than that, usually. This is the kitchen. We have a kitchen, and when we designed this, it was designed specifically for this so it has a little walk around area in the middle there where we can serve and cook and everything. This is a picture of a suite, and they’re like Embassy Suites, front room, back room, this is a sleeping room. It’s carpeted. We usually put two individual beds, and then we have bunk beds on the other side over here, which you can’t see. So when swimmers come to us, we want them to have their own bed. We don’t want them to have to share beds, so usually we put four people, and we have eight of these units here. And this is another picture of the back sleeping area. You can see the bunk bed back here. Going into this area back here there’s a bathroom. All of them have a full size bathroom. All of them have a little kitchenette. This one doesn’t show it, but we have a little refrigerator for every unit also. Then there’s the front sitting room, and all of them have cable, they’re all air conditioned. It’s a lot nicer than the Olympic Training Center. And here’s a picture of the ranch house out from it, here’s a picture around at the back of it. Each one of the little units has a little patio area here also in the back. You can see each of them looks out over the soccer field. This  is inside the courtyard where you go in. Another picture of the inside of the courtyard. This is picture of the entry level room. Family room . . . during the camp season, when we have camp we have camp there eight weeks, and we take all the furniture out and we put in table and everything, and we do a lot of video instruction here. We have a big screen video, and another T.V. on top. This is where we do a lot of stroke instruction. We have a copy room. We do a lot of our own printing, a lot of our own makeup. Very important part of it. I can’t tell you how important it is, we’ll go into that a little bit more.

 

Let’s talk a little bit about the conceptual development of ASR , a little bit about why I wanted to do something like this. Why would a coach want to go out and do something like this. I started coaching when I was very young. And back in the early sixties is when I started coaching , and  the American scene was quite a bit different than it is right now. You had little pockets of coaches around the country, and those coaches were basically the only ones who kind of produced. There was Walt Sluder up in Portland, Oregon, who later came to Phoenix. There was Sherm Sheborg and George Haines, there was Peter Daland down in Southern California, and Jack Nelson was a young coach in Florida, and Mary Kelly in Philadelphia, and just around the country. And a lot of people traveled and took up roots and moved to those places because they couldn’t get all the ingredients that they needed to develop in swimming. For example, maybe they were a willing athlete, but they didn’t have a coach. Or maybe they had a good coach, but they couldn’t get facilities. Maybe they couldn’t’ have access to a 50-meter pool. Back in the sixties, there was a whole lot less resources than what they are right now. And so, as a young person in college, a young coming up, I thought, these people have such inconvenient stress, they don’t have what they wanted to, so it’s what I wanted to do is put together a facility.

 

One of the things I wanted to do is accomplish these five goals with it. I wanted to have great facility time and control. Again, at that time in the history of swimming, usually coaches got what was left over, and that still happens a lot, too. A lot of people, they get up at 4:00 in the morning and work at a parks department pool because that’s the only time they can get. It was really bad back in the sixties like that. Very few coaches could control the pool times that they used, when they wanted to use it. There just weren’t that many expert coaches at that time. People that could take kids to world class level. And there were very few groups of pockets where they have good peer group or the competitive situations were bad. And it was hard to get willing athletes to match up with all this. So this was kind of the objective, the five goals that we wanted to accomplish by building an Arizona Sports Ranch, and we felt like that we could do this.

 

One of the problems with this now is that the concept that  I originally had probably became outdated. It’s probably not valid anymore. And the reason why with the increased communication and everything, we got zillions of coaches in the United States that can coach world class kids. It isn’t just one or two, or four or five, or ten coaches, there are so many people that are good, just in the Phoenix area we have probably six, seven clubs that have coaches that have enough expertise to coach their athletes to world class level. So it’s not really a valid concept.

 

The other thing is we’ve had so much improvement in facilities, every area has such great facilities now that they don’t really have that problem of getting 50-meter pool time and stuff like that. We have a much larger swimming population. There’s good peer groups. Back in the sixties, if you wanted to go to California to swim in a swim meet, you got in the car and you drove for a day to get there. Now, you get on an airplane and you’re there in an hour. And they didn’t have that kind of mobility back there to get great competition. So I’m not sure that the concept is valid, but it really doesn’t make any difference because we’ve achieved an adaptability, a flexibility, and we think that we still have great uses for Arizona Sports Ranch, and of course one of the best uses that we love to do, and we’ll talk about this a little later, is that we love to have visiting teams come and utilize the facilities. And we think that’s one of the biggest uses that it can be.

 

I’m going to back up a little bit and talk about career planning because I know that this is kind of a thing that I guess a topic right now. I had a very distinct career plan, and you need to be flexible when you have a career plan, and what I did is I divided basically what I thought I would have as a 40-year career, at 20 years-old. I wanted to have 10 years of what I called education and learning, and I was going to spend 10 years learning my trade and learning from all these people like George Haines and Walt Sluder, and learn everything I could.

 

I wanted to go to school and get my bachelor’s degree, get my master’s degree, do everything I could. Then I was going to have 10 years of what I call growth. I wanted to grow, I wanted to actually put together Arizona Sports Ranch during that 10 years. Then I wanted do have 20 years of production to really be able to utilize it and everything. And of course, it hasn’t worked out. It’s not nice and neat like that. It’s kind of aerobic and anaerobic type exercise. It’s not one and the other, and neither was it that. I did spend a good ten years on the educational part of it, and find out that I could be productive even during those years, but the rest of it hasn’t been all nice and neat. And Arizona Sports Ranch is not finished and it never will be finished. It’s always changing. That was hard for me to accept for a long time, but that’s kind of my career coaching plan.

 

Talk about some of the functions, and this is very important for me to do this. When I went into zoning and everything to make sure that I stated exactly what I was going to do on that piece of property. And it served me well. Sports skills teaching center. And notice I didn’t say swimming, even though swimming’s been the main thing there, I always use sports a much as we can because you want to keep your flexibility open. If you say it’s a swimming skills teaching center, and then you try and do hockey there, or you try to do soccer, you can get called in on it. So you have to be careful of the semantics that you use during your planning stage. A residency sports training very important that I have that in there because I wanted people to be able to come in and live on the property, and I didn’t want them saying, hey, now you’re a motel, you can’t do that, or something like that. So we had to have that it’s a residency training center. This is something that we never have done very much of.

 

When I started out, as far as the academic part of my career, is I basically was in physical education. I had my greatest interest and background in exercise physiology, research design, and statistical procedures, and one of the things we wanted to do was have a testing center where young, developing athletes could come and we could guide and direct them in the sports or events that they should be swimming. By doing things like measuring max VO2, looking at historicals on them, doing projections of height, things like that. So we wanted to do that as far as a potential prediction, and then we also wanted a performance counseling ability where we could come in and test people and maybe direct them, because a lot of kids, you’d be surprised, and this is something I’ve kind of been on ICART for a long time. I think one of the things we should be doing is testing our young swimmers in this area of 12,13 years old and try to really identify the physiological differences of kids at that age, and then help direct them into more suitable, mainly distance events, or sprint events, wherever they should be.

 

We were very lucky at one time at Arizona Sports Ranch, back in the seventies we got involved in a study that measured max VO2, and we measured about I think we had about 10 girls that were measured, and we happened to be lucky enough to have about six of them that came up with 56 milliliters per kilogram of body weight of oxygen consumption a minute, meaning that they had disposition towards distance freestyle. And all of these kids went on to swim very well at the national level. In fact, out of that group, we ended up having six kids that eventually broke 1640 in yards, all in the same team at the same time. They didn’t all do it in the same year, but during their careers they all did it sometime, so this kind of what we were after, right here, is a testing center for developing athletes.

 

And then of course we needed a supporting club membership that gives you the money. As far as the staging of development, if you wanted to go after a facility like this, these are some of the things that you have to think about, you have to go through that planning and design stage. And again, during the planning and design stage, primarily I was in college, and every time I went to a facility and looked, and I was already coaching. I had a fairly significant program when I was in college coaching, so we were able to design and plan our facility. I had a young friend of mine who was an architect, and I would draw out what I wanted and he would put it in final formal form and then he would stamp it for me for a couple hundred bucks. So basically, I don’t think that I had probably $3,000 worth of architectural fees for everything I’ve done there over the years. And so that would be a critical point to try and get somebody like that to help you out.

 

As far as the site acquisition, remember I told you that we had 20 acres there? The way I got the site. . . you know how they have these seminars that say nothing down, buy a house with nothing down and everything. Well at that time, back in the early seventies they had seminars on how to buy apartment complexes with nothing down, so I took off and went to this seminar on how to buy apartments with nothing down, and of course, what I did I wanted to use it to buy my land for nothing down, for my club. So I went and found somebody and used these principles which were basically you don’t give them very much down, little or nothing, but you give them their asking price, or leave you a little bit more and let inflation eat it up. So that’s what I did. I bought a 5-acre parcel. I got an option on the other half, and I was off and running with my site.

 

Not too long after, we were at the facility, the people to the south of us had a 10-acre facility, or a 10-acre parcel of land, and the guy got it on a bad debt, didn’t want it. So I went out and bought it for almost nothing down, but we’d make payments on it. And the guy died about two weeks after I bought the property from him. He left it for his estate, and then later on we negotiated with his estate to pay it off at a discount. So, kind of lucked out on that.

 

So we ended up with 20 acres in our site. It’s what we were able to do eventually is we were able to take the site, sell half the site and use it for development. Zoning. I put the great awakening because this is your nightmare if you want to build a facility. You have to go through all the bells and whistles, you have to put your plan together, you have to visit everybody in environmental controls. You have to go to health departments, you have to go to all these different places and get their approval. Roads and right-of-ways. Health departments, building safety, building codes, everything. And it was a very trying thing, and I didn’t have the money to go out and say, hey, Mr. Attorney, I’ll give you $20,000 to take this project through. I didn’t have that kind of money. So I did it myself. Those guys got tired of seeing me down there. I’d go down there, and most of the time I’d have to do all this work in between workouts because I had morning workouts, and then I had afternoon workouts, and so I spent month after month working on this in between workouts. And we finally got through what we call the TAC meeting the Technical Advisory Committee meeting. It’s where the city attorneys, the county attorney, and everybody comes in, and they have about 20 people and they kinda gang up on you, and they tell you what you have to do in order to get approval.

 

We finally get through all that. We go to the supervisor’s meeting, we finally get approved, so I think it’s time to celebrate. We finally got our approval for zoning. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that they were going to give me what they call contingencies, and things like, pave a half mile of road into your facility, something like that. And we got several contingencies that ended up holding us back for years. And so your contingencies and zoning can be extremely critical. I was so scared and so concerned about getting it, that I accepted it. I wish I’d a fought it, but I didn’t have the knowledge or the resources to try to fight it. As it ended up, I had to put in a half mile of paved road to the site. I had a house that I’d already bought in another part of town I got a second mortgage for $30,000 and built the road. And finally we got in a situation, after a lot of years, where we got the off-site done, got all the zoning requirements, and then it came time to get the financing to actually build something.

 

And, Murphy’s Law, the worst thing that can happen will happen to you, so I hit the street, go to the banks, they say, what are you going to do? How much do you want? How are you going to pay us back. And that week that I very first went out, and you may have heard about this in the history, we really did have prime lending rates of 21% at one time. And you can bet, that’s when it was. The first loan that I ever got was for the house. I got house loan, and I got it for $150,000 and the interest on it was 18% I got a real good deal. Then I got another $50,000 from another lender for 16%, so those were the kind of rates we were paying. Nowadays, you wouldn’t consider it. So we built the house first, and we had nothing on this property except a house out in the middle of the desert.

 

Then I met Scott MacFarland, and he’s the one that’s with me right now. Scott had a situation where he inherited some money, and Scott writes me out a check for $150,000 and says I want to be a partner. So, this is why I have Scott’s picture up there. He wrote me out a check for $150,000, so I went out and I built a little 25-yard pool, four tennis courts. We do things like rent a grader, and have somebody come in, and we’d get out there in our car and drive up and down where the tennis courts were going to be where we could do our own compaction. We did our own blue staking, we learned how to survey, we did all the stuff ourselves built it brick by brick. And subcontracted out, and we got it built.

 

Anyway, Scott is very much responsible for doing that. Unfortunately, later on, it was so many years before it became profitable, I always felt bad about having Scott’s money tied up in it, so I went to him one time and said, I just can’t take it anymore. I have to pay you off. So I paid him off. Took him out of the ranch and paid him interest and some other fees and gave him a good deal on the buyout on it. Unfortunately, I shouldn’t have done that. He went and invested in some other business deals that didn’t turn out so good. But anyway, that’s why he’s with me right now. He’s not really a partner in the sports ranch, but I’ll always be beholden to him because he had enough trust and faith in the project.

 

So kinda did our construction ourselves and then after we got the initial construction done, we were able to start on programming, and of course that’s the first time that you’re really generating the income is from programming. This is a financial model that I used. It’s very idealistic, but I’ll tell you, it served me well and I think it will serve you well also, in our sport. The problem is, you don’t want to tell your banker that you have this philosophy if you adopt it. They do not like this. I was very proud of this philosophy. Went in and told the banker, and the banker just looked at me and said, kid, I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Just get out of here. It’s stupid. What you want to do is just ridiculous. Maintain financial responsibility. Pay the bills. Don’t ever renege on anybody. Make sure you have financial responsibility. Pay everything on time.

 

And then after that, I wanted to achieve program excellence. And I wanted educationally sound programs, and I really have a feeling that you have to go after this no matter what. You cannot compromise this. And the bankers didn’t understand this. Develop a profit situation after that, and then, maximize profits. What the banker wanted is to turn it over upside down. They say the only reason you’re in business is to maximize profit, and that has to be number one, and we don’t want to talk to you unless you’re willing to do that. And I don’t think that’s appropriate. There’s a few things in business that are not appropriate for our sport. And they’re very customary in business. For example, there’s another one that always gets me. It’s, the customer is always right. Sorry, but they’re not always right. You have parents that are not right, they’re not educationally sound for your kids, and you can’t tell them that they’re right they’re wrong.

 

Here’s the name of the game for entrepreneurial coaching in a facility like this. First of all, you have to control your expenses. And I know that a lot of people can go to a program and they can increase the revenues and solve the problems. But more than likely, that’s not going to happen. You have to control expenses first. And that means being able to expand when you need to expand and contract when you need to contract. And it’s one of the hardest things to do if you’re an entrepreneur. If you’re running the business kinda the buck stops with you, you’re responsible for it and it’s extremely hard to contract your programs when you need to. And what’s even worse than that is trying to contract personnel if you need to contract personnel situations because you have to let people go. It hasn’t happened very often, but if it does happen, you have to realize that you have to do it. You have to be willing to bite the bullet and do that kind of thing. Improvement of programs. We have a guiding principal that we never take off and do another program, or improve the program for extensive expenditure, unless we can already support it on the cash flow that we have at the time that we decide to go into it. In other words, we never do anything on the come. We never say, we’re going to start this program, and it’s going to generate a lot more income, so let’s go do it. We don’t do that because more than likely what happens is when you start that program, it’s not going to have that kind of revenue, and if you can’t support it on what you already have, you’re going to put yourself in a bind. So that’s one of the other principles that we use. For improvement of programs, we always go off present cash flow. Here’s one. Do it yourself, and save and survive. If you’re going to do something like this, you can’t every time the pool heater breaks down, you can’t be calling a pool company. If you get a little leak in a valve, you can’t call a pool company and have them come in. The going to charge you $35.00 for the valve, plus their mark-up, another $35.00, plus their $40.00 to visit you. They’re going to charge $130.00 to change a little valve. You’ve got to do it yourself.

 

Now, this is me, right here. I decided we needed this sprinkler system. Now I can go out and spend $600 $700, or I can spend three days, two hours a day, and put it in myself. So that’s what I did, I went out and put it in myself. We needed a sprinkler system, we put it in. We got the ground real wet. Went along there and dug it out, put it in. That’s the way you have to do things. This is Scott MacFarland right here working on the bubble making sure the attachments are down, the way you attach it to the deck is little eye hooks, and he’s out there working on the eye hooks, in between workouts. This is where we’re resurfacing our pool. When I built the pool I knew that we probably wouldn’t be able to keep it open all the time. Especially during the initial years. So it’s what I did rather than do a plaster pool do a plaster pool in Arizona, it heats up, plaster cracks, you’re gone. If you replaster a pool, it’s about $60,000 for a pool this size right now. Now, what we did is we designed our pool where we could drain it by doing the poured floors, and everything, is where we could paint the pool. So we paint the pool. And we paint it with a chloride paint, chloride-based paint. To put on another coat, it takes 50 gallons I know because we do it all the time, and so 50 gallons let’s say it costs you, let’s say $1,200 for your paint. Maybe a little bit more. Maybe $1,500. And then, these are workers we can find kinda around on the streets in Phoenix. There’s five of them here, and we pay them $50.00 a day, so that’s $250.00, and it took us about six hours to paint the pool. So we resurfaced our pool for just a little over

$1,500. Now, a lot of people would just say, okay, we’ve got to have a new surface, so let’s pay $60,000 for a resurface job and plaster, so $1,500 versus $60,000, you know, that’s the kind of decisions you have to make when you go into this when you make your planning on your facility. We just start at one end down to the other end and we just work our way and it works great.

 

Here’s another real important thing and that’s sales. I can’t tell you how important it is. A lot of people don’t think of it as sales. They think of it and it’s fine recruiting. Recruiting new young kids. But it takes a lot more than that. It really does take a big sales effort. At certain times of the year, a coach is going to have spend 40% of their time or so on sales. It’s very important that you get income coming through the door. A lot are choosy about what kind of payment they take, but we take anything. We’ll take cash, check, credit cards, and one of the best ones there is barter trade. We’ll do barter trade in a second. Anything to get income, that type of thing.

 

Here’s another principle we have—it’s called margin on every program. Every program we do, we don’t do anything unless we have a margin. It doesn’t have to be a killer margin, but there has to be some type of margin. Notice that I have one thing there. Swim team? That’s the only one we don’t require margin on. And we don’t have it. It does not support itself. Revenue streams at the center here. This is pretty amazing when you start thinking about this, we start thinking about the potential that I have, or you have, if you get control of  a facility like this. Just look at all this. It’s kind of like a car dealership. Car dealers? They don’t make their money on new car sales, they don’t make a profit. If they had to make a profit just on new car sales, they’d be out of business. It’s where they do, they make it on the repair, they make it on the paint body shop. They do everything they can in order to get little profit centers, and we’ll show you what kind of little profit centers we have here.

 

Of course, one of the biggest things we do, and this is the only one thing in the whole thing that could support it. If I don’t have one other penny in my life, summer sports day camp for little kids. We have 240 kids a day that come. We do it over a 12-week period. And they go around to different I’ll show you pictures of it a little bit later on but summer sports day camp is awesome. Wichita when Bob Steele was at Wichita and they opened up their facility, I sent him all of my materials that I use for it, and I said the old, God gave you eyes, plagiarize, type thing. And I told him, copy everything you want. Now I know that he set up a sports day camp that contributed quite a bit to the support of their facility. I know whether it continued to grow or kept on after he left or not. But, sports day camps can be great. If any of you know, have ever visited or been to John Collins facility at Badger swim team in New York. This is what does it for them also. If you have facilities, and water is one of the key ingredients, you can sometimes do this. So this is one thing that we do that’s very, very important. It supports the whole facility. Swim camp.

 

And of course now we’re getting into what I really do for  a living. Swim camp is extremely important to me. It’s not something I do during the summer as a sideline or anything else like that. I think it’s a great camp. We have eight of those little units. We bring in four kids a week, so we have 32 kids a week and swim for swim camp. During the summer, we do eight weeks and we do a great job with the kids. It’s not I’m not going to say anything bad about college coaches or anything else like that, but that’s not one of their missions is to run camps for young developing swimmers. And I can assure you that’s one of our missions there. It’s one of the most important things for us, it’s one of our best usage of it. So, swim camp is super important to us, and we love it. It’s very hard, though. Super hard. Hockey is a big profit. I don’t particularly like hockey, but it makes a lot of money. I guess I like it because of that.

 

Swim team, again. Swim camp and swim team, that’s what we really do, and it doesn’t have to make a profit, it just has to be good. We have a very small team there, again, because we’re on the outskirts of town. We have about 90 kids on swim team. That’s all we have. Our senior group is composed of about 20, 23 kids, or something like that. And we’ll usually have 12 to 15 of those kids at senior and junior nationals. So, pretty high little quality program for not too many kids.

 

And after school sports camp, and this is something that we do, but it’s going to be a lot better. If any of you ever get a chance to go to one of the best ones that I think in the country is probably down at Brandon Swim and Tennis Club where Peter Banks is. I’ve been down there and looked at his. And if you ever get a chance you’ll want to go down there and see it. Not that the facilities are new and nice, but they just have a great program. Swimming lessons.

 

Again, profit center? It’s not something that I do very well, and it’s something that could grow tremendously. One of the problems with a facility like this is I own it, I run it, but I can’t do everything. So some of the programs are either minimum, or they don’t get done.