IMG Academy gives athletes online training with Dick's

cschelle@bradenton.comJune 29, 2013 

MANATEE -- Student athletes who can't make it to IMG Academy can now receive free pre-season training advice from IMG coaches and talent thanks to a new online training portal.

Dick's Sporting Goods is touting an innovative, digital training platform with the elite IMG Academy, to help athletes train for the first day of the new season.

It's called Day One, and is now live at

Athletes can log on and find advice on mechanics, nutrition, mental preparation and strength and speed workouts for football, soccer, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, golf and tennis.

IMG sees it as a great way to reach new athletes.

"One of the things we're trying to do as IMG Performance is to look for ways to extend the training and coaching expertise we offer at IMG Academy and look to extend that off campus," said Gary Pluchino, vice president of business development for IMG Performance. "One of the great ways to do that is via digital media and apps."

Several IMG coaches and athletes appear in the training videos, including 50-year-old free agent Major League pitcher Jamie Moyer, tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and Chris Weinke, director of IMG Madden Football Academy. They dispense the training advice from the familiar IMG Academy facilities.

Dick's, based in Pittsburgh, is the largest U.S. full-line sporting goods retailer, and is integrating the website with promotional videos for IMG Academy and a place for athletes to shop for equipment at Dick's.

"Day One gives us the opportunity to go beyond our products and expertise in-store and provides resources online to assist young athletes to excel," said Ryan Eckel, vice president of brand marketing at Dick's.

Young athletes will turn to YouTube to search for training videos and advice, trying to learn how to throw a sinker or how to gain flexibility for their sport, sifting through sources that may not be authoritative.

That's what IMG sets out to change with some of its patented training programs and renowned coaches dispensing advice in a one-stop shop, Pluchino said.

"What it does is it kind of mirrors our approach to training and athletic performance," he said. That means taking a total athlete approach, looking at the physical, mental, nutritional and technical sides of sports performance, which is why athletes should check out each video for a well-rounded training program, he said.

"All of these things go into building, if you will, the total athlete," he said.

Athletes can log on and start with a timeline starting at five weeks out, aligning when teens would start their fall sport, and continue a cycle for the winter and spring sports.

After reviewing the partnership during the next three and six months, the two sides will discuss whether to add fresh content, Pluchino said

In one video, Bollettieri dispenses his wisdom about athletes making good choices in life, whether it's not cheating on a test or hanging out with the right crowd.

"The more famous you become, the more you attract people," he said. "If you ain't nobody, ain't nobody going to come to you. But when you're special, those that do not make it, want to take you away from where you are."

The two companies came together through an IMG consulting company, Catalyst, which includes Dick's as one of its clients, Pluchino said.

When shoppers enter Dick's stores, they will see IMG's name on flyers promoting the service, according to the company.

"We are promoting thisdigital tool nationally through earned and social media,as well as through localgrassroots efforts and print materials in-store," Eckel said.

For more information, visit

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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