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Ways to Enhance Your Sports Facility

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Learn how to enhance your sports facility.

Following the start of each new year, most sports facilities see a boost in new memberships from people hoping to accomplish their health and fitness resolutions. But how do you attract new members to your recreation center after the motivation of a new year has worn off?

Improving your sports facilities is key to keeping guests coming back again and again. Here’s how to do so by increasing functionality, enhancing your outdoor areas and creating a better overall environment for members.

Advantages of Updating Sports Facilities

When planning for renovations or additions to your sports facility, you’ll notice several advantages as a result:

  • More returning visitors: Renovations demonstrate your dedication to the user experience. When sports facilities consistently strive to improve their equipment, programs and other offerings, you attract more guests and keep current members interested in coming back.
  • Longer usable time: During hot months, the peak hours of sunlight may discourage guests from using your outdoor areas. Meanwhile, snow and rain can mean more activities need to be moved inside. Specific upgrades can help extend the usable time of your recreational facilities.
  • Increased profit: Updates can help provide a year-round solution for sports facilities, leading to more membership renewals and more usable time for guests. Improvements boost the value of your facility and make it more attractive to visitors, increasing the annual profits.
  • Improved safety: Regular improvements to your sports facility help keep everyone safe and healthy. You might add shade structures to offer more sun protection, renovate a gymnasium to create separate entrances or update the structures for increased durability.

5 Ways to Keep Your Facility Functional

Functionality is essential for sports facilities. In addition to all of the recreational activities you must accommodate, facilities should have ample room for socializing, dining and sitting. Consider the full user experience before deciding how best to maximize your investments. Creating an ideal experience requires thinking about how everyone will function within the environment.

What are some ways your enhancements can maintain functionality?

1. Transform Spaces for Multiple Uses and Plenty of Equipment

Maximize the potential in each usable space with flooring that will suit several sports events. Large areas can be easily transformed with different equipment and retractable dividers. Quickly swap volleyball nets for basketball hoops, or partition a full-sized court into smaller sections for practices and intramural leagues. When you plan your recreational center with multi-use spaces in mind, you won’t need to invest in new flooring or update room dimensions when your facility’s needs change.

Make sure there’s enough equipment for all guests to use during busy hours of operation. Remember, when you plan to use the same space for multiple activities, you will need sufficient room to set up and store equipment in these multi-use areas. Portable equipment might be a worthwhile investment to help keep your facility functional. Retractable nets and baskets are also valuable, allowing you to quickly transform an area from a basketball court to a meeting space for community events.

2. Consider How Different Demographics Might Use the Space

The different demographics of your visitors can greatly impact your plans for a sports facility. Particular recreational activities attract certain ages and experience levels. At the same time, location and nearby amenities may influence the popularity and necessity of certain sports in your facility. Ask yourself, why do members return to particular facilities? What programs, sports events, equipment, classes and other offerings do they enjoy and use?

Adapt your plans for indoor and outdoor spaces accordingly. Flexible, large-volume facilities with plenty of multi-use areas are the best way to meet the needs of your various demographics. Consider how varsity teams, intramural leagues and leisure sports enthusiasts might each use a particular space. Then, design shared spaces that allow for multiple uses. Remember to gauge community involvement, as facilities that hold big spectator events will need additional accommodations over other areas used primarily for leisure or club activities.

Adapt indoor and outdoor spaces to be multi-use areas.

3. Design Facilities for Seasonality and Daily Fluctuations

A well-organized facility can handle fluctuations, whether these changes occur throughout the day or with each new season. Weather is a vital factor impacting the number of usable spaces in a facility. If you want to keep operations running year-round, plan for snow and rainy seasons with large-volume facilities offering flexible indoor spaces. The sun’s intensity during the peak hours of warm months is another concern limiting the usable time for outdoor ball courts, seating areas and pools.

Daily fluctuations in sun coverage and seasonal weather will have less impact on your profits when you design with these factors in mind. Consider adding shade structures to your outdoor areas to allow sun protection for swimming and other outdoor activities. Efficient parking lots and entrances make the experience smoother for members, staff, athletes, coaches and spectators. People should move seamlessly from their vehicle or public transport to the correctly marked entrance.

Finally, determine if there’s a need for more lights, vents or fans throughout your outdoor areas and indoor spaces. For guest comfort and safety, you need to distribute proper ventilation, lighting and other utilities throughout the entire facility.

4. Foster a Welcoming Atmosphere With Friendly Staff

The friendliness of your staff goes a long way in fostering a sense of community to new and returning members. Staff should be quick to greet guests and offer their assistance. Keep staff informed about the facilities and current offerings to help create an atmosphere where guests are encouraged to get involved.

5. Motivate Visitors to Do Their Part to Maintain Visual Appeal

Durable and easy-to-clean surfaces are essential for sports facilities, but the materials used in high-traffic areas should also be visually appealing. Frequently utilized spaces, such as locker rooms, must uphold a level of cleanliness. When members enjoy the appearance of facilities, they feel a greater sense of responsibility to keep these areas well maintained. Visitors will know the facility was created for their benefit, so they’ll be more motivated to respect and take care of it.

Just as you would with the interior spaces, make the outdoor areas functional and appealing to your visitors. Features like permanent shade structures serve both purposes, providing shade for visitors and improving the facility’s curb appeal. Update the outside appearance to attract new members to the sports facility and gain interest from the community.

What Types of Outdoor Sport Events Need Shade?

As the months get warmer, people of all ages benefit from having more shaded spaces in outdoor areas. In fact, many facilities avoid hosting outdoor sports events unless there’s adequate shade available. This is because the peak hours of sun can lead to sunburns, overheating and other health risks. Quality shade structures offer protection from the hot sun and damaging effects of ultraviolet light, so visitors and staff can comfortably use outdoor facilities for longer periods.

Members can enjoy more perfect days at your recreational facilities when the following outdoor areas have adequate shade:

  • Sport courts: Outdoor tennis and ball courts offer recreational play for all ages. Quality shade structures can be large enough to cover the entire court or smaller structures over sideline benches to provide athletes a place to rest in the shade.
  • Sports fields: Create a place for athletes to cool off after playing in the hot sun with shade structures over your dugouts and team benches. Shade extends the time of use of the sports field, providing players of all ages and experience levels the chance to cool off.
  • Bleachers: Keep guests comfortable and cool underneath fabric structures as they sit and watch the game. The spectators benefit from sitting in a shady bleacher area, while the sports teams benefit from having a large audience willing to cheer them on through the entire game.
  • Seating areas: Shade structures offer sun protection in style for dining and other seating areas. Consider how visitors and staff would better utilize an outdoor space if they had more shade.
  • Pool areas: Quality shade structures allow visitors to relax by the pool without getting sunburned or overheating. The shade offers protection for small children as they swim and a nearby respite from the hot sun for people who want to lounge on chairs.
  • Playgrounds: Shade structures provide playgrounds with cooler temperatures, so children won’t get burned while playing on the equipment. When play areas have adequate shade, children avoid sunburn and the equipment stays cool to touch.

The shade allows people to enjoy more recreational activities and sports events outside, both as athletes, staff members or spectators. People of all ages and experience levels can experience health problems from staying out in the hot sun for too long. Invest in shade structures to keep everyone cool and comfortable on sweltering days, enhancing the value and utility of the sports facility.

You can put shading over sports courts, seating areas, sports fields, and more.

Common Sports Facility Shading Ideas

USA SHADE and Fabric Structures has worked with many sports facilities to create custom shade structures for their fields, courts and other outdoor spaces. Visitors are protected from heat and sun damage underneath the quality shade structure, while our custom design adds visual appeal that meets your unique location and needs.

Our recreational center and sports facility arena enhancements extend to a wide variety of outdoor areas, including basketball courts, dugouts, stadium seating, bleachers, pool areas and more.

Basketball Courts

Outdoor basketball courts are a staple for sports facilities across the country. The appropriate shade structure for a basketball court offers athletes, coaches and spectators a place to cool off in the shade. Shade structures can be large enough to cover the entire court, or there can be smaller, individual structures over sideline benches and bleachers.

By installing quality shade structures, facilities can hold events during some of the hottest days of the year without needing to reschedule. From all-day basketball camps to national competitions, players of all ages can spend hours on the court in a completely shaded environment. The shade structure mitigates the risk of sunburn and overheating, so everyone can enjoy a more comfortable experience on an outdoor ball court for longer periods. Additionally, players won’t become blinded by the sun.


Shade structures extend the usable time of a sports field, providing players of all ages and experience levels the chance to cool off between innings or during timeouts. Shade structures for dugouts and team benches create a cool place for athletes to rest on the sideline after playing in the hot sun. From little league tournaments to club activities, coaches and players on the sideline can have protection from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays with the right shade structure.


From large stadiums to local tennis courts, shade structures for bleachers improve your guests’ comfort as they watch the sporting event. Spectators enjoy an improved viewing experience, while the sports teams benefit from having a large audience willing to support them throughout the entire game. You attract more visitors from the community and keep them returning for more when there is ample shade for everyone.

Since guests might spend hours on the bleachers, you want the experience to be as cool and comfortable as possible. Fans are protected from sun damage and heat as they appreciate the coolness underneath the bleacher shade structure. Adding shade can even boost the appearance of your sports facility, with bold fabric colors and intriguing shapes that people will see rising high above your outdoor fields and courts.

Pool Areas

Installing shade structures for pool areas creates a more enjoyable environment for individuals, couples and families. In addition to improving the design aesthetic of your pool, quality shade structures allow visitors to relax outside without getting sunburned or overheating. The shade offers protection for small children as they swim by helping to reduce their risk of skin damage from UV rays.

Shade offers nearby respite from the hot sun, so people can cool off without leaving in the pool area. As the shade structure keeps outdoor furniture and equipment surfaces cool, people can avoid surface burns while getting drinks from the wet bar and lounging on chairs. Consider covering the entire poolside area with a large shade structure, or choose smaller, individual structures to create more private spots for individuals.

Other Sports Facility Improvement Strategies

In addition to enhancing your outdoor facilities with quality shade structures, you can use other improvement strategies to create a better environment for members and guests.

1. Foster a Positive Community Culture

Training knowledgeable and friendly staff is the first step in getting new members involved around the facility. However, it takes a firm commitment from the whole community to create a positive atmosphere. Personal trainers and coaches should be prepared to help members enjoy their training, matches and overall time at the sports facility. Educate everyone about ways to cultivate positive team morale and team cohesion and how to build self-esteem, self-worth and confidence from individual accomplishments.

2. Adjust Programs to Attract More Guests

Eliminate classes that never reach full capacity and add programs that the community desires.

Identify which programs, equipment or offerings you can remove or adjust. Keep what is working, eliminate classes that never reach full capacity and add programs that the community desires.

Consider programs, classes and other offerings that will attract more guests to the facility, such as:

  • Family fun nights with activities like art projects and a bounce house
  • Before and after school programs to keep kids occupied while parents are at work
  • Summer programs to help further physical and mental growth in kids
  • Programs to promote safety, including first aid and CPR classes
  • Swimming lessons for both children and adults
  • Meeting spaces for the community to discuss important issues

3. Incorporate Advanced Technology

Facility apps keep visitors informed of any closures and updates across the entire facility. There may be daily fluctuations that impact some but not all of your facility’s offerings. A mobile app for members lets them know which programs are canceled or areas are closed, so your guests can adapt their plans accordingly.

Virtual equipment is another investment allowing you to train members in new and valuable ways. A golf or ski simulator offers guests the opportunity to try an activity that your facilities may not be able to support in reality. Meanwhile, video analysis capabilities can increase the value of training programs, helping members visualize areas of improvement and showing athlete progression over time.

Partner With USA SHADE to Improve Your Sports Facility

Shade enhances the value and utility of outdoor areas, allowing visitors to enjoy more experiences at your sports facility year-round. USA SHADE and Fabric Structures is the proven leader in fabric structure design and technology. We provide custom shade structure products for sports facilities designed to last.

Browse our past athletic projects for innovative ideas on how to improve your sports facility with shade structures today. Contact us at USA SHADE and request a quote to see how we can help turn your dreams into reality.

Request a quote today and improve your sports facility.