The Pick-Up Artists
Location-based social sports apps offer fitness alternatives
Play / 4 Oct 2011
The popularity of adult leagues proves that after-work sports have become just as vital as the after-school variety, while the success of Meetup shows that like-minded strangers enjoy networking in the flesh. These two trends converge with the arrival of new location-based apps that connect recreational athletes and ensure that they may never again have to mount an elliptical or treadmill, solo, to get in their cardio work.
This website and free iPhone app collects information about public recreation areas, providing real-time information about games being organized in users’ vicinity. With competitive activities ranging from baseball and basketball to boot camp and yoga, it’s easy to find social sports gatherings that range in location, schedule, skill level, and players’ preferred competitive intensity. As the name suggests, anyone can use the app to spontaneously initiate a game, for which the app will help find available players. It could prove to be a fitting training tool among those looking for companions with whom to prepare for a certain upcoming marathon.
Pickup Sports
Jamie Oliver may be best known for promoting healthy diets, but he’s also a crusader for physical fitness. Software engineer Peter Ma’s app was developed in response to Oliver’s 2010 TED Prize wish, a cheekily-named challenge called Move Your App! that tasked developers with creating an Android app to inspire physical activity. The grand prize-winning Pickup Sports helps users find people in their area with whom they can elevate their heart rates. Though Pickup Sports remains an independent app, it’s currently being folded into Spotvite, a larger beta app that takes a more inclusive approach to the concept of spontaneous events by going beyond sports.
The aptly nicknamed “Foursquare for Pickup Games” aims to create a sporting community by uniting people for a little friendly competition. A location-based social app that connects individuals and groups in order to organize pickup games, NextGame synchs with Facebook and Twitter so that users can find new play pals and connect with their existing social networks to check in for practice or to promote games. There’s also an option for making games public or private so that poker nights at your house can remain invite-only, while the search for a tennis partner can be open to your entire neighborhood.
©The Intelligence Group