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22nd DAA approves funding for new sports training center

DEL MAR — Next September, a public training center designed to fast-track conditioning and development for athletes and families will open. Backers believe the scope of the center will make it the first of its kind.

The center, which has yet to be named, will offer a variety of programs, from sport-specific conditioning to workout programs tailored to an individual’s needs to small-group training.

Matt Clay, general manager of the Del Mar Golf Center, swings a golf club near where a new training center will be built for families and athletes who are looking to improve their conditioning. Photo by Jared Whitlock

According to Sean Cochran, Phil Mickelson’s personal trainer and head of program development for the center, customized-exercise sessions are all the rage in fitness.

“There’s no one-size-fits all workout anymore,” said Cochran, who lives in Del Mar. “Everyone’s body is different. What works for me, might not work for another person.”

Because baseball players use different muscles than golfers, athletes will be separated by sport at the center. From there, workouts can be further individualized.

As Cochran explained, even those that play the same sport can acquire imbalances in different places in their bodies.

“A golfer might be lacking flexibility in his or her hips, whereas other golfers may not,” Cochran said. “We can correct asymmetry with specifically targeted exercises.”

To prevent imbalances, workouts will emphasize compound movements that condition the entire body, as opposed to isolated exercises like dumbbell curls. As such, there won’t be a lot of bulky machinery and equipment at the center, mainly treadmills, kettle belts and training ropes to build flexibility and core strength.

Upon first visiting the center, trainers will develop individualized workout routines based on a questionnaire, video analysis, other tests and patrons’ goals.

Personalized workouts are nothing new, Cochran said.

But the center is unique in that it will accommodate more people than the average gym, offer baseball, tennis, golf as well as other conditioning programs and focus primarily on individualized workout plans. The combination of these factors makes it a rarity, Cochran believes.

“Something on this scale really hasn’t been done at a public fitness center,” Cochran said.

Another point of differentiation: The center will also feature youth-conditioning programs for sports like soccer, football and basketball — an effort to make the center a “family affair,” Cochran said.

“The idea is that everyone can participate and have fun,” he said. “It’s for athletes of all ages and stripes.”

Cochran credits Matt Clay, general manager of the Del Mar Golf Center, with spearheading plans for the new center.

“This is an active area, so we thought it would be perfect,” Clay said.

The golf and tennis conditioning programs at the center will likely operate in conjunction with nearby facilities like the Del Mar Golf Center, he said.

Although sports will be played at the center, Clay noted it will primarily serve the purpose of improving conditioning.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association, which governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where the site of the center is located, agreed to approve the center and fund its $1.25 million construction.

The center will be built at the site of the former Del Mar Skate Ranch, east of the Del Mar Racetrack.

Ongoing operations will be paid for with membership fees.

According to Clay, the center’s membership will likely hover around 450 people.

A pricing structure has yet to be released.

In addition to a 55,000-square-foot indoor facility, a 35,000-square-foot field that’s part of the future center will also be used for workouts.

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