SportFinder is a program of Athlete Foundation designed to extend the reach of fitness, endurance, and adventure sports into the community and to help people find a sport that fits their lifestyle.
We’ve assembled a team of instructors/mentors and retail partners who will work together to remove the barriers and share what we know about a handful of beautiful sports that you can enjoy alone, with friends, in a group, or with the masses; casually or competitively at whatever level you choose, and at any age.
That covers a lot of ground. And so do our sports.
Philosophy of SportFinder
Traditional sports such as baseball, soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, and hockey get a lot of attention. They’re readily accessible as they’re taught in almost all schools and offered through community recreation leagues throughout the country, and they’re a lot of fun to play.
As accessible and inclusive as these popular sports are said to be, the nature of the sports actually exclude many potential athletes.
For instance, most traditional sports require participants to possess hand-eye coordination, or speed, or size, or some other physical attribute. Lacking these attributes, many kids will opt out of sports at an early age.
There are other negative aspects to these sports:
- The team sports listed above require a set number of participants in order to play each game properly which make them difficult to perform outside of a structured organization and impossible to perform individually. For example, it’s really hard to find 17 other people to play pick-up baseball.
- These sports have defined positions that require a certain specialization on the part of each player. Most players choose their position as early as age 10 and will stick with that position for their entire playing career. To switch positions requires a player to take backward steps in their development.This leads to competition within the team for the coveted starting positions. Being relegated to 2nd or 3rd string will cause some kids to look for another sport or opt out altogether.
- Because a team must practice as a team, these sports require participants to commit to a defined – and often demanding – practice schedule which can put a strain on family transportation and other commitments.
- Participants in these sports follow the direction of a designated coach/manager who then controls which players play in the game and which ones sit on the bench. This can apply to practice sessions, too.
Despite all of this, they are great sports that are fun to play. They just have some obvious exit or “opt out” points.
The sports we’ve selected, on the other hand, are quite different.
They are self-directed; there is no coach to tell you when, where, or how to practice. You can fit them into a schedule that works for you. This means that the participant has the freedom to choose their level of involvement. Whether they choose to participate for fun, in local charity events, in local competition, or train for the Olympics, the decision is entirely their own.
Because they are active fitness sports, a participant will gain a physical fitness benefit at every level.
There are many other benefits as well:
- The participant has the freedom to choose how social their sport is. There is an unlimited number of competitive or recreational opportunities/events in each of these sports that can be enjoyed solo, in teams, and with families.
- Participants don’t have to try out or audition. Everyone plays 100% of the time. No one can ever be told to sit on the bench – there is no bench in any of these sports.
- Each of these sports provide health benefits to the participant from the moment they begin. They’ll be burning calories and developing muscle from the very start.
- Almost all of these sports have their own meditative, zen-like quality which provides tremendous mental health benefits. It is impossible – or at least strongly discouraged – to meditate in the middle of a soccer game.
- There are never arguments with umpires or referees. And there are very few arguments with other competitors.
- These sports each have a learning curve that allows enjoyment at any level yet remains challenging throughout your athletic career.
- Cost for entry is approximately the same as all other sports. Often, it is less expensive.
- Many of these sports are played in colleges and universities which offer scholarships to student athletes. Most of our sports are represented at the Olympics.
- These sports have well-developed communities full of health-conscious people who will gladly share their passion with newcomers.
- Most importantly, these sports can be learned and enjoyed at any age.
- Even more importantly, they’re fun.
Our primary focus – in everything we do – is the safety of our participants, staff, and community.
We recognize that there is risk whenever a body is put in motion. However, we insist that risk can be reduced so that anyone can enjoy these activities. If not, the activities simply wouldn’t exist.
Our courses are designed to mitigate risk at every point. While we cannot prepare for every possible contingency, and while there is inherent danger in each activity that we teach, we endeavor to make every action as safe as possible.
This also applies to our strict policy regarding sexual harassment and sexual harassment/assault. Each of our instructors has been trained and certified by SafeSport. We have also trained our staff to identify unsafe situations and practices so that they may be immediately addressed and corrected.
Adaptive Sports & Diversity Policy
We firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to explore the sports that we offer and, hopefully, experience the same joy of achievement as we have. To that end, in the long term, we endeavor to develop – to the best of our ability – specialized programs for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities.
If we lack a certain demographic amongst our participants, it’s only because we haven’t reached them yet. Give us time. We aim to exclude no one from sport.