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David Singleton and His Prolific Sports House Are a Force in Calgary’s Basketball and Sporting Scene

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DAVID SINGLETON, OWNER OF PROLIFIC SPORTS HOUSE. PHOTO SOURCE: EWAN PHOTO VIDEO
DAVID SINGLETON, OWNER OF PROLIFIC SPORTS HOUSE. PHOTO SOURCE: EWAN PHOTO VIDEO

Basketball might not be the first sport that comes to mind when you think of Calgary. Other athletics – hockey, skiing, football, to name a few – are typically associated with our city, given the climate, proximity to the Rocky Mountains and national culture.  

Yet basketball, which was in fact invented in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts in response to the need for an indoor winter recreational activity that could be easily learned and played in teams, is having a moment in Calgary. A very large moment.  

Kids, teens and adults alike are embracing the sport with enthusiasm. Community and spring leagues are flourishing, large-scale tournaments are attracting teams from all over and a new professional basketball team – the Calgary Surge – is delighting players and fans alike. 

As the city continues to grow at an exponential rate, so too do the ranks of Calgary’s basketballers.  

This is all music to David Singleton’s ears. The owner of Prolific Sports House, a youth sports training destination for basketball and other sports, Singleton has been a disciple of the game all his life. At Prolific today, he and his team are developing the next generation of Calgary’s basketball players.   

“We’re doing great,” Singleton reports, minutes after stepping off the court from leading a group training session at Prolific’s south location. “Our biggest thing is that we’re very inclusive. It doesn’t matter what club, skill level or age you are, we work with everyone to reach whatever goals they have. We like to call it being part of that one per cent.”  

Prolific’s south location, opened in 2020 at Barlow and Glenmore trails, is 17,000 square feet. It has top-tier hardwood custom finish floor with two full-size basketball courts, two full-size half courts, 15 hoops surrounding the facility, a cardio/fitness area, entertainment area and a lounge area to sit and watch training and games.  

A second location, in the north near CrossIron Mills mall, opened at the end of May. This 24-hour access, 28,000-square-foot facility has four full-size basketball courts, as well one multi-purpose indoor turf for football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, lawn bowling or exercise.  

Singleton describes Prolific’s unique model as akin to a YMCA/training facility. “We have memberships, where members can drop in whenever they feel like for their training, basically from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily at our south location or on a 24-hour basis at our north location,” he explains. “And then from 4:00 p.m. on we are a basketball training facility. Either we are training or other clubs and associations have rented out our courts to train their teams on.”  

Prolific’s major clients include Calgary Minor Basketball Association, Calgary Sport and Social Club, various youth basketball clubs and the Brody League.  

Pickleball is another draw at Prolific. Each weekday, four pickleball courts at the south location and 12 at the north are available for groups to rent or for drop-in play. 

Whereas most gym facilities (schools, churches, YMCAs) rent their space to individual trainers and their clients, Prolific’s own coaches run all the training programs. “We are the ultimate basketball training safe haven,” Singleton says. “We want every player to come in, get their reps, compete against other better players, and learn from experienced coaches.”  

Training programs include youth basketball leagues, basketball camps, evening group classes, semi-private training, skills clinics and tournaments.  

All of Prolific’s coaches have played at a high level, typically a higher university level in the U.S. “We all know how to play,” Singleton smiles. “If we were ever to go out onto the floor, we would win a game. All of our coaches are very dedicated and experienced.” 

“You can come in here and compete, be a part of our programs or our leagues, learn from our coaches or just make a friend,” he continues. “Most importantly, we’re a safe, family-friendly space. Not just basketball focused, but more so goal-focused. Driven and dedicated players that want to improve their game, be a part of the one per cent and stand out from the pack.”  

Singleton speaks from experience. Born and raised in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, he grew up playing basketball, dreaming of making it to the NBA like fellow Coatesville native and professional NBA player Richard Hamilton. He played varsity basketball at The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, then received a full scholarship to play at Division 1 High Point University in North Carolina. In 2010, he transferred to Division 1 Marquette University.  

“I was playing alongside [NBA stars] Jimmy Buttler, Jae Crowder and a couple other NBA guys,” he recalls. “I tried out for the Dallas Mavericks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards in the NBA. Obviously didn’t make it but went through a great experience and gained a lot of knowledge and traction.”  

Singleton landed an opportunity to play in Morocco in 2013, and just before he left, met Claudia, his future wife, who is from Calgary. “After a season in Morocco, I came to Calgary to visit Claudia, and ended up staying.”  

A gifted player of the game, Singleton has a natural inclination to coach. “I’ve always been a student of the game,” he reflects. “My father instilled good principles, work ethic and knowledge of the game in me. The ability to see the game like a quarterback.”  

As a local basketball celebrity in his neighbourhood growing up, Singleton started training younger kids when he was 15 years old, and in college he ran camps and mini-personal training sessions for youth. “And then when I went to Morocco, I had my own training program for the local African kids,” he says.  

After retiring from playing, he spent some time at the Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas. “I got some great experience and worked with some pros and NBA experienced coaches,” he says. “But the funny thing was, when I got to Calgary, I wasn’t even going to start training. I was looking for work and training literally fell into my lap.”  

He started training one kid out of a local gym in the summer of 2015; by the end of that August, he was training 20 kids.  

As word of Singleton’s programs and demand for them spread among the basketball community, so too did his business. He worked for the W.I.N. Basketball Club of Calgary as a coach and was helped by an Okotoks family who provided their gym for his training. “Major shout to Mike Myers of W.I.N. – he took me under his wing and allowed me to take off and get my name out,” Singleton praises. 

His summer basketball camps were a hit, as was his training: “But what I noticed was a lack of gym space. And I thought ‘I could run a business.’ I had learned some ins and outs, knew how to treat people. And I obviously knew how to train. And within 12 months I was up and rolling in our south location.”  

Despite opening during a pandemic, business boomed from the start. “Opening during COVID was obviously a big hurdle, and we had to get creative,” he reminisces. “We had 15 hoops, so everybody could book their time and we were still able to operate. We were the only ones open. Once COVID ended and we were able to get back to play, we built on that and captured the playing market. Our Sunday leagues really took off. No one else in the city was able to do what we were doing. The word around town was about Prolific Sundays: get an action-packed environment and good games.”  

Indeed, Prolific is a very busy place: approximately 400 people per night, 4,000 people per weekend, 40,000 people per month and 400,000 people per year pass through its doors. Singleton is mindful of how each and every one of these people feel when at his facilities.  

“I preach customer service to our staff,” Singleton says of his 10 staff members. “It doesn’t matter who it is – an elder or young athlete – we want to make sure that when you walk through our doors it feels like home. We’re an inclusive and family-oriented space, and I feel that has been a key to our success. I have three kids myself, so I want it to feel like a safe and welcoming space for kids. It’s a really cool environment to be able to know that no matter who’s in there, it’s safe and you’ll be protected.”  

With a solid business and reputation established, Singleton founded the Prolific Sports Academy in 2022 – a preparatory boarding school for boys in grades 10 – 12 and postgraduates. It is a high-level option for players to maximize their potential, exposure and basketball experiences. “Our players play better competition night in and night out,” he explains. “We travel a bit more and are able to focus on skills more. The kids come from all over. We have kids from Toronto, Vancouver and here in Alberta. Next year we have a kid coming from Egypt.”  

The success of Prolific’s south location was the impetus for its second, north location. “There’s a lack of gym space in the north and we had feedback from clients in north Calgary and Airdrie who wanted something closer,” Singleton explains. “So we’re trying to capture the north end of Calgary. Plus, at our south location we were turning down anywhere from five to seven bookings per week, losing revenue.”  

“It’s really about the long game for Prolific,” he continues. “My goal is to have a minimum of 10 locations. We have some great partners that believe in the growth and the direction we want to go with Prolific. And it’s not just the basketball market, but with our soccer turf we are growing our soccer and football training, as well as volleyball. We’re the ultimate training facility and space for athletes who want to be a part of that one per cent.”  

Prolific is a family business at the core, with Claudia Singleton running things at her husband’s side. “She and our family is heavily involved,” Singleton smiles. “She handles all of the HR and payroll, and is the guidance and leader of our staff. She is like the mom for our Prep School. She does the cooking and communication with the boys, and makes sure everybody at the facility and on the team are taken care of.”  

Mindful of the larger community, Prolific partners with Jumpstart and KidSport Calgary, to provide financial support to families who otherwise couldn’t afford training.  

Calgary’s basketball community is larger and stronger than ever, thanks in large part to Singleton and Prolific. As this city grows, and as Prolific expands, generations of basketballers (and other athletes) will train, compete and grow their love of basketball – and other sports – at Prolific facilities. Game on.    

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