I was leaving my gym the other day after a good workout. I had my hand on the door handle to my car when a woman, who had just pulled up in the space next to me, asked me out her open window: “do you play basketball?” I had barely replied and she had already jumped out of the car to put a beautiful postcard-sized flyer in my hand for a new business that she had co-founded: Hoop Fit.
After talking with her a bit, I decided Hoop Fit was worth a mention in this space. I don’t profile businesses unless they’re worthy, but as in one other case last summer, I’m making an exception here. For one thing, the idea is innovative, and of course it’s basketball-related. For another, the business is women-founded and women-run.
Here’s the intro on the Hoop Fit website:
Hoop Fit was established in 2010 by two former female athletes who recognized and realized how valuable, beneficial and fun exercise through sport is. The idea derived from their own unwillingness to visit the gym and run on a treadmill. Bored with that routine, they thought how fun it would be if all women could practice, train and get in shape just like a sports athlete. Thereafter, Hoop Fit was born.
The woman who jumped out of her car to tell me about her business is co-founder Monica Armstrong, who answered some questions about how Hoop Fit works:
Sue: Where do you conduct your training sessions?
Monica: We just launched our company in April and are currently holding our classes at Jim Gilliam Recreation Center, down the street from 24 Hour Fitness off of La Brea. We will be expanding very soon to other local gyms in the next few months. Right now our classes run Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 8pm, and Saturday mornings from 8am to 9am. We are currently working on scheduling other days at various locations.
Sue: What’s a typical training session like, from beginning to end. What elements does it include?
Monica: A typical Hoop Fit class session from beginning to end includes:
Full-court warm-up basketball drills
Some sort of basketball fundamental work: (ex: shooting, passing, offensive skills development, dribbling, defensive skill techniques, break down of offensive and defensive situations, footwork, etc….)
A training circuit: cardio, agility, footwork, strength training, basketball skills
This is a typical class plan for sessions lasting 60 minutes. Sessions scheduled for 90 minutes will follow this plan, but will allow more time for a more formal break down of basketball information. I.e., taking the taught fundamentals and then applying them into half-court or the appropriate basketball situation.
Sue: What do you do with many women who are overweight and might have difficulty with the athlete workouts?
Monica: Hoop Fit is taught by myself and another assistant training coach. The class is intended expose more women to fitness through basketball. Many of our clients have not played any basketball recently. We encourage them to push themselves to their limit even, if that means making mistakes in drills that they are not comfortable or familiar with. We promote a supportive environment during class and motivate them to where there is minimal discouragement. Our main goal is raising all our clients fitness levels. By having myself and another coach, we are able to separate skill levels and fitness levels while working with each and every clients physical needs. If anyone needs to take a breather or hydrate themselves, they are encouraged to and then rejoin the group.
Sue: Did you have a certain clientele in mind when you began the business, and has it fit with who’s shown up yet?
Monica: Yes and no. Yes, because we wanted to bring the excitement of basketball to all women alike who had even the slightest curiosity about getting on the court and playing. No, because we didn’t know exactly what that woman looked like or exactly what demographic they would fall under. Of course we are targeting women who have played basketball before, but may not be currently active through basketball or play in any adult leagues. We are very pleased because so far we have attracted women all across our intended target market. Our clientele consists of women who have never played before, to women who played in high school or college but have not recently, to women who do actively participate in adult leagues. All of them want to exercise in a basketball style format as well as learn more and sharpen up their basketball skills.
Being a coach as my profession, I work with high school and college kids daily and of course it’s very rewarding developing young talent. I must admit that working with adults through Hoop Fit has been just as exciting because they are looking for that same knowledge, and are thrilled to take it and translate it on the court. It’s pretty amazing.
Sue: Would this be a good place for women to go who play in summer leagues, i.e. recreational, Just Say No League. Have there been any college players come through yet who are wanting to stay in shape?
Monica: Yes I absolutely think so. We encourage women that do play to come because Hoop Fit is the forum to work on their skill set and even develop new skills. This is sort of the reason we started because we wanted women to still be able to train and practice basketball as they once did in high school or college. Most women that do play, just play and don’t take the extra time to work on their game. All the skills we teach at Hoop Fit are game-like drills that will transfer seamlessly over to a 5-on-5 game.
Hoop Fit Class teaches fitness first and uses basketball as an avenue for women to have fun and enjoy their workout.
Yes, we have be contacted by current college and high school players. For clients that are still in high school, we offer Hoop Fit Youth specifically designed for skill development to help get them to the next level. For our college athletes, we offer Hoop Fit Personal to help them in off-season training for their next year of eligibility.
Those interested can check out the website. Hoop Fit is also on twitter and Facebook.