By Louise Ramsay
We all bemoan the long, dark days of winter, but perhaps no one more so than the sports coach. When the clocks go back on the last Sunday of October and it gets dark at 4pm, unless a school or club has invested in lighting or has astro turf facilities, doing any kind of sport outdoors is pretty much a no go - and setting up permanent lighting is costly.
“You’re looking at up to £100,000 for a permanent set up,” Lee Crocker, general manager at Phoenix Sporting Goods, says. “Portable floodlights can, however, provide effective lighting for a fraction of the cost.”
PSG is the latest addition to the BDZ group of companies, a collection of diverse businesses that includes website design, property trading and inflatable packaging. Currently, PSG’s main focus is its newly developed floodlights for grass roots sports and the educational market. It also distributes training aids and the Ping Pong range of table tennis products in Europe and the UK.
“The portable floodlight market has been up and running for a while, but we believe that the quality of our products and our price points mean we can be effective within it,” Crocker says.
Currently, PSG offers the iLite Original and iLite Metal. Efficient and cost effective portable floodlights for any sport, the simple designs allow users to easily transport and quickly set up in any desired location (four-six iLites will comfortably illuminate a 60x40 yard training area).
When fully inflated, the iLite Original reaches 11.5 feet, however for more flexibility the iLite Metal has several settings from three feet to 11.5 feet. The LED light is designed for greater durability, reliability and provides more light coverage than a 300W halogen floodlight. The 12v rechargeable battery provides over three hours of continuous light when fully charged.
New product launches
PSG is planning to launch 12 to 15 new products in the autumn aimed at the development of grass roots sports such as football, rugby, cricket, netball and basketball and at those who deliver the training. The products include three new portable lights, which are:
• The iLite Link and iLite Link Pro. These lights are designed so that schools and clubs that have areas enclosed by cages or fencing can illuminate them so they can be used in the darker months. The iLite Link has over four hours of continuous light and the iLite Pro between six-eight hours.
• The iLite Metal Pro has been designed to provide more light. 8-10 iLite Metal Pros would be able to illuminate a whole football or rugby pitch.
“Our vision is that these will revolutionise the industry, allowing clubs six to eight hours of continuous light, so training and matches can be played throughout the year,” Crocker says.
Football training aids
PSG will also be producing a range of football training aids for the autumn. Among them is a line of portable pop-up goals, which can be set up in within seconds.
“They help to reduce the amount of products a coach needs to take to training sessions,” Crocker says. “Our new goal also taps into training methodology that says that football is better learned on smaller pitches with smaller goals.”
The new goal comes in three sizes - three feet by two feet, one metre by 1.2 metres (approximately five feet by four feet) and six feet by four feet.
Another piece of equipment to be unveiled later this year is a football training aid designed to allow children to repeatedly practice shots and passes.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s not a rebounder,” Crocker explains. “It can be used by one player in a house or garden or as part of a training camp or normal coaching session.”
PSG’s aim is to aid aspiring athletes and their coaches, from grass roots to sporting professionals, to achieve their goals through products that will increase the accuracy of the athlete via repetition or enable the user to train through the winter months on their own or within a team environment.
“We hope to keep production within the UK or Europe,” Crocker adds. “However, some of the necessary expertise is only found further afield, in which case that is where goods will be produced.”