In my mission to grow the sport of log rolling, I’ve learned the challenges facing recreation and aquatics directors when adding something new.
The most common concerns from aquatics professionals are: 1) I need ideas to get more people into the pool, and 2) I’d like to add a new program, but how will it fit into the existing schedule? If you reside in the first camp, a new program is a great way to attract a new audience. If you’re in the second camp, you’ll be surprised to learn that log rolling can be done in a small area and people are willing to take less desirable hours to try something new.
How does it roll? Evaluating a new program.
There are objective considerations of cost, space, storage and scheduling, but with log rolling, it’s important to think subjectively about what you want to achieve from the program. Can this be a stand-alone activity, yet also add to existing programs? Will this bring a new audience into the facility? What will this program contribute to other departments? Does this program provide leadership opportunities for students and staff?
Easy as falling off a log: Staff training.
You may be thinking, “How can we start a new program without experienced staff?” You don’t need experienced log rollers, all you need are enthusiastic leaders. Incentivize involvement in the new program by framing it as a leadership opportunity and a privilege that students/staff must apply for. Here’s a sample of how to recruit and select staff:
Introduce log rolling by incorporating it into an existing campus rec event, for example lifeguard olympics, staff party, team building activity, etc.
Potential instructors should attend a “try-out” where they simply play around on the logs. Review the basic instructions and safety guidelines, then observe the group as they engage with fellow students.
Look for the following qualities:
∙ Inclusive: Finds ways to engage everyone in the activity.
∙ Enthusiastic and encouraging: Seems to enjoy helping others succeed.
∙ Proficiency: You don’t need to choose the best log rollers, but they should be eager to learn and improve.
∙ Attentive to safety and managing risk.
The selected staff should then receive more concentrated training using instructional manuals/videos.
Roll it Out: How to market a new program.
Log rolling is new, so students won’t necessarily be looking for it. Expose your campus to new programs by incorporating the activity into special events such as Welcome Week or Rec Fest. Offer log rolling as a team building activity at the end of RA training week, or as part of a pool party for a sports team at the end of a season. Pair multiple activities together as part of a “rec sampler.” Students may come specifically for one activity, but will learn about other offerings. Promote with flyers outside of the aquatics facility, and even outside of the rec center. Non-lap swimmers don’t consider going to the pool for fitness, so an activity like log rolling will bring new people into the pool.
Abby Hoeschler is a world champion log roller and founder/CEO of Key Log Rolling. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 763.544.0047.