Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Build Your Game AND Your Academics

By Matt Krebs, Founder of The Foundry, Redwood City, California

The Foundry is my brainchild.   I have been involved in volleyball since 1993, when I assisted Fred Lin with the Hillsdale College Women’s Volleyball team from 1993-1996.  A few years upon returning to Northern California, I started coaching club volleyball and in my second year of club, I founded Monsoon Volleyball.  After 3 years of directing, it became apparent to me that demand would exceed the three courts I had access to at the local high school.  This was the first factor that drove me to pursue my dream of opening up a sports facility dedicated to the sport of volleyball.

The need for quality indoor athletic space was apparent.  Unfortunately, the barriers to entry in Silicon Valley are greater than most areas.  Competitors had opened practice facilities in smaller, darker buildings but elite training facilities did not exist in Northern California.  I soon set out to change this.

I took a different approach to creating my dream facility.  Prior to securing funds, I assembled the team I wanted as well as an idea of the materials for the facility.  Once all of the research was completed and contracts were negotiated, I set out to raise the capital needed to build and support the facility.  After the acquisition of a 45,000 square foot building on Highway 101, the team set out to complete the improvements within an aggressive 45-day timeline.  The building was completed on time and on budget (which is rare) and the facility opened for club practice on December 3, 2011.

The facility currently has 3 full-time staff and a support staff of 15 coaches.  The Foundry features the very latest in indoor floor technology to create a playing surface that best simulates the response of a suspended wood floor. The use of millions of tiny rubber pellets allied to the stone underlay provides an added shock absorption not seen at other indoor centers. This not only enhances the playing experience for the athletes, but also reduces risk of injury.  Versatility is one of the facility’s greatest strengths.  There are 17 automated curtains, which allow the court space to be divided up into several areas if needed.  For example, any combination of volleyball, basketball, futsal, tennis and pickleball can be played at once under one roof.  Therefore, The Foundry can accommodate various leagues, teams and corporate events in addition to volleyball.

Another unique feature of The Foundry is the academic resource center where junior athletes can come in and study prior to and after their training sessions.  I wanted to create an environment that helps build the all-around student-athlete.  The facility offers a strong support system that assists junior athletes with staying on track with their goals, whether it is tutoring an athlete on a specific subject or assisting a student-athlete with the college recruiting process, the staff at The Foundry is there to help.  

In addition to a computer lab, the academic resource center features a well-lit, quiet lounge area equipped with IMacs where one can study or relax between training.   The full-service sports medicine center is directed by Nadine Waeghe, PT, ATC of Elevate Sports Performance and Physical Therapy.  All athletes have full access to the sports medicine center as they would in a professional sports environment.  The dues include these services, therefore all elite athletes have access to the academic resource center and sports performance and PT.

Currently, Monsoon Volleyball and Encore Volleyball both practice out of The Foundry.  Encore Volleyball offers both girls and boys junior volleyball.  There are 6 regulation volleyball courts with plenty of room around them for chasing down balls as well as a ceiling height of 30 feet.  There are over 115 lights allowing for 65-70 candle feet of lighting on the floor.  All 17 curtains are automated, allowing for ease of court separation.  There are new men’s and women’s locker rooms located at the rear of the gym.  A roof-mounted multi-directional camera system is currently being installed so that athletes can create recruiting videos.

 
A new 10,000 square foot circuit training area is being added that will feature plyometric equipment, suspension training equipment, cardio equipment as well as 3,000 square feet of speed turf.
Phil Dalhausser stopped in for a clinic at The Foundry

Phil blocking sans the jump

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