Predicting the Trends in Sports for 2016

Remember the Magic 8-Ball? For those who don’t, it was a toy that was supposed to help forecast the future. Most of the time, though, you shook it, asked a question and the got “Answer unclear. Concentrate and try again.”

So much for the Magic 8-Ball. If you really want some idea of what’s ahead, you rely on a mechanism you can’t buy at a toy store. In fact, what you want is the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2016, which industry members can use to gain some great ideas about what’s ahead for the sports facility construction industry.

Strength training is one of the biggies, as is Functional Fitness and circuit training. All three of these can be attributed to the growing popularity of programs like CrossFit and can be seen as a huge boon for the indoor market, which will be hosting these competitions. The take-aways for builders and others is the need to capitalize on flooring, mats and other surfaces that will be useful for these events.

Yoga is expected to grow in popularity. This is another boon for the indoor fitness market and consequently, for builders of indoor facilities.

Fitness programs for older adults are also expected to increase in popularity. It’s no shock that tennis courts with softer surfaces are going to come in handy here, as will pickleball, which has been growing explosively in popularity. (In fact, for several years, tennis court builders have been reporting an uptick in constructing pickleball courts, and lining existing courts for the sport.)

Outdoor Activities: The ACSM survey cited outdoor sports activities as some of the fastest-growing trends. Examples provided in the survey included hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and games or sports played outside. This could include (in addition to the aforementioned tennis and pickleball), running on local tracks, basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball, golf and more.) Builders of facilities for outdoor sports should be ready to make pitches to their clients about upgrading or expanding existing facilities to get ready for the growth that will be coming.

Sport-Specific Training: Training programs that are set up to help individuals get stronger in, and perform better in, specific sports, will be big for 2016. CardioTennis is one example but there are others.

Multiple other trends were listed this year, including fitness wearables, personal training and more. The full report is available through the American College of Sports Medicine.

This is the tenth year ACSM has compiled this survey. During the last 10 years, the editors of ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal® have disseminated this electronic survey to thousands of professionals worldwide to determine health and fitness trends. Because this was a survey of trends, respondents were asked to first make the very important distinction between a “fad” and a “trend:”

Trend: “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving” (

Fad: “a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period” (

Information on ACSM and its work is available here.

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