Prior to joining the team here at Sport-Travel I was an aspiring coach with a fancy degree that is now the most expensive dust collector I own. There were some very beneficial experiences along the way, including my time coaching youth and university sport. I learned first and foremost the value of breakfast at the hotel and why a pool isn’t the hotel staple you might think it is.
**Disclaimer: As a coach I made it very clear to my athletes they were not to be found in the pool while the team was still in competition. In the event the team was eliminated they were free to access the pool.
- The level I was coaching
The teams I have coached over the years have been elite teams hoping to advance their chances of securing post-secondary education or even a professional career.
- Pools are very unproductive
Children use pools for what? Swimming of course. Swimming is well documented as one of the best sources of exercise a human can take part in. It also uses a high level of energy taking away from the athletes performance on the field, ice, court, etc….
Keep in mind that not every team travels to tournaments with the goal of winning. Winning is always in the back of anyone’s mind but some teams have a better grasp on their potential than others. Make sure you understand where your team falls on that spectrum. If your team is unlikely to have a high level of success than adding a pool to your stay could be a great idea. Many teams will search high and low to find accommodations with a pool no matter the distance between the property and the venue. However, if you have to stay 25 minutes away from the venue to obtain that amenity be sure your team will be willing to drive across town to access it throughout your stay. Furthermore, be sure your team will have enough time to travel from the venues and still be able to take advantage of the amenity. As you can imagine the hotels with pool traditionally come at a cost. This cost varies by brand and city but it is important to recognize that there is a cost associated with maintaining and in some cases staffing a pool area. Pools can add a unique element to a hotel experience but when booking your rooms remember the team is traveling to compete.
When waking up Saturday morning to head out for the day it is important to ensure your team is fuelled properly for a long day of competition. Hotels began providing complimentary breakfast to satisfy business travellers and other transient guests with early starts. Today many brands have adopted it to please all of their guests with some going as far to make it a mandatory amenity for each property carrying their flag. The cost of feeding a family of 4 at a nice breakfast joint will likely cost your family North of $30 or you can take the easy way out by hitting a fast food joint for under $25. Although at first glance you may be thinking those prices are reasonable its time to think about the whole team.
The notorious continental breakfast generally offers some simple cereals and oatmeal in combination with a mix of muffins & snacks, coffee, juice/milk, and if you are lucky some fruit. This might not seem like a bad mix for those of you that go through a box of cereal every other morning but it doesn’t provide a nutrient rich meal option. Likewise the fast food option fails to provide your athletes with the fuel they need to succeed and more importantly avoid injury.
Instead take notice of properties offering a hot breakfast, or ask about a team buffet and what added cost their might be. The hot breakfast is included in your room rate (the term complimentary is used very loosely here) and generally serves up to 4 people. A hot breakfast usually includes a great selection of fruits, yogurt, toast, and muffins along side the drink options including the traditional staples milk, juice, and coffee. What separates the hot breakfast is the buffet it offers which includes any mix of eggs, meat (ham, bacon, sausage), grits, home fries/hasbrowns, fruit, yogurt, pancakes/french toast, and if you are lucky an omelette bar. The likelihood of finding a family restaurant where you can get your fill of what I just mentioned for less than the small addition to your room rate is unlikely and it controls what your team will be taking in before heading out into battle.
The funny part about this debate is how overwhelmingly important having a pool is to the teams we work with at Sport-Travel. Teams travelling for tournaments are usually traveling with additional family members and can be over concerned with the opportunities they will be afforded to use the pool. I may appear a bit bias here and that is because I am. I certainly won’t pretend that I don’t prefer a good breakfast over a pool but its hard to argue with the facts:
- Hotel rates can be affected by the cost of operating a pool
- Pools make kids (and most definitely adults) tired
- Buying breakfast only adds to the expense of traveling for sport
- It’s difficult to eat healthy when on the road
- Hot Breakfast is the way to go
- Food = Fuel
So remember the next time you ‘HAVE TO HAVE A POOL’……you really don’t and quite frankly you should avoid it. Unless your team is traveling to tournament with the sole purpose of having fun. If your team values this above all else than you should definitely have a pool but don’t forget about breakfast.
Pro Tip: Waterslides make pools better
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