Blackwatch Sports Performance Builds Better Athletes
“Our vision is very broad and very holistic, but it’s with the focused attention on the athlete and how we can make them not only better, faster and stronger, but a fully functioning member of society.”
Sports are undoubtedly a central fixture of Southern culture. The love of the game runs deep, and the cultivation of star athletes is Alabama’s specialty. Because of that, a company like Blackwatch Sports Performance fits perfectly into Birmingham’s athletic atmosphere.
Located just off of Highway 280, Blackwatch is an athletic training facility with one simple goal in mind: build better people by using the platform of athletics. CEO Randy Beckham, a Troy University alumnus, moved to Birmingham from Orlando, Florida, in 2011. What began as a temporary move for him and his family turned into a permanent stay in the Iron City once Beckham realized that Blackwatch’s vision and values “would be a great fit for the community, the schools and the athletes.”
The main focus is growth in strength, power and speed through specifically organized performance and skill training.
“An athlete’s going to come in here, and there’s always going to be a plan for them,” Mary Kate Smith, the facility’s director of membership, says. “They’re not just going to come in and work out on their own. They’re always led by coaches, and they’re directed through the workouts, and the workouts are also going to be based on their needs as an athlete.”
General manager Wes McCarter describes Blackwatch as a “one-stop shop for sports.” The facility’s distinctiveness lies in both its opportunity to do everything under one roof and its well-rounded approach to caring for an athlete.
“It’s everything that an athlete needs in the course of their career from the time that they’re in elementary school all the way up to if they’re fortunate enough to make a pro or an elite status,” Wes explains. “We want to cultivate and grow them along the way.”
So they do. There are a number of different performance training and health and wellness programs, and while it is a sports-centered approach, being an athlete is not a requirement. There is truly something for everyone!
For the youngest members, Streetlight Kids invites children ages 5-11 to a four-hour day camp, held Monday through Friday. Here, the kids are exposed to an expansive variety of sports, from football to dodgeball to pickleball. By being introduced to all different types of activities, the kids are encouraged to play and stay active, which promotes good habits and general wellness that can last a lifetime. According to Wes, starting in the fall, Blackwatch Sports plans to go on location with Streetlight Kids, visiting different elementary schools around the Birmingham area in order to encourage physical activity and build better relationships with the kids in the community.
The facility offers many different types of small groups composed of people of similar skill levels and ages, including Fit for Life, an adult class aimed at cardio and weight training. A holistic approach to building better individuals requires more than athletic conditioning, however. Blackwatch also offers yoga, Pilates, massage therapy, nutritional counseling and injury recovery. Their in-house dietitian is there to aid anyone with specific weight loss or wellness goals by developing a detailed plan for reaching them.
In addition to that, the training facility’s coaches realize how important good grades are for young athletes, so they also offer academic assistance for students. These services range from ACT prep courses to resume building to money management. They even have their hand in the college recruiting process, helping high school seniors network with some of their many connections to the gatekeepers of collegiate-level athletics. This, in turn, opens the door for coveted athletic scholarships. A team of coaches also helps recent college graduates transition from the world of sports to a more professional arena, offering helpful guidance to career paths such as law, medicine and business.
Blackwatch has managed to cover all of the bases, honing in on what makes not only an athlete, but a person excel and reach his or her goals. While the company is still in its infancy, Randy has high hopes for the future. He looks forward to expansion opportunities not only in the Birmingham area but around the state of Alabama, and eventually the country.
“It has been a fun ride so far,” he says, “and we see no end in sight.”