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kids’ fi tness


Left: In ZigZag’s Makoto game, children must touch flashing lights. Below: Cyber Coach believes group sessions can foster self-confidence


Fergus Ahern, managing director, ZigZag (PTE group) I


believe the industry needs to work on its marketing to parents. Children’s activity programming


shouldn’t just be about childcare. Often parents see health clubs and leisure centres as somewhere they can drop the kids while they have a workout, without understanding the health benefi ts that their children could be gaining too. At ZigZag we understand that, in


this current climate, all activities must be commercially viable, and our USP is helping clubs and centres make their kids’ programmes fi nancially successful. Our understanding of when and where these sessions


should take place, and who they should be aimed at, reduces the risk of simple programming mistakes that can dramatically cut commercial capability. We also advise on how best to structure affordable children’s and family membership packages. Children are willing participants but


will vote with their feet if they’re not happy. So activities must be inclusive, enjoyable and aspirational – children want to look up to their teachers, so centres must provide motivated, well-trained staff who actually want to work with children.


Richard Proctor, CEO, Bay Leisure (The LC) C


hildren’s fi tness has to be about fun: they must want to do it and want to keep on


doing it. Concentrating on the teenage market, our focus is on attracting young people who are disillusioned with school sport, not just those who are already active. To do this, a facility must be able to offer something different, innovative and considered ‘sic’ by teenagers.


At the LC, we


chose to install a teenage gym using ZigZag equipment due to its interactive nature. The Expresso bikes’ ability to race against your mates, register online and see yourself on worldwide leader boards – with a similar functionality for the dance mats – really captures the imagination. However, to drive retention we


also offer a programme of regular, fun group sessions, incorporating the reaction wall and Nintendo Wii. By trying to be innovative and offering the latest interactive equipment – which puts fun fi rst – we hope we can improve our offering. But as always, the enthusiasm, expertise and interaction of the staff who deliver the programme is paramount.


56 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


Glen Jones, managing director, Cyber Coach


M


any activities only reward children when


they are good at them, and fail to reward kids who are either new to an activity or less confi dent. Operators should provide activities that give immediate tangible rewards and a feeling of achievement, no matter what kids’ ability, so that all children can enjoy success. Give children control over


their physical activity – put them in the driving seat. Centres using the Cyber Coach Virtual Dance Instructor report that kids thrive when they don’t feel they are being dictated to, and when they can manage their own routines. Group exercise is a great way


for children to make friends, build confi dence and learn valuable social skills, but often has an element of competitiveness not suited to everyone. Activities such as our dance mat games and virtual fi tness instructor can be enjoyed as part of a small group, with the focus on fun, and can also overcome anxieties and self-consciousness often felt by older girls. Activities outside the norm can


also help operators set themselves apart and entice children who are less ‘into’ traditional sports. Clubs and centres can build


a feeling of familiarity by taking activities into the local area, creating direct links with schools, youth services and community groups and attending community events.


february 2011 © cybertrek 2011


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