Kids can learn a lot from the game of basketball, especially with the right instructors and role models guiding them. The husband-and-wife team of Craig and JoAnna Wiginton understands this, and the couple’s mission with Solid Rock Basketball is to challenge young athletes in the Oklahoma City area to excel, not only on the court but in their daily lives.
The Wigintons were raised on the game of basketball and each played at the college level. Craig was a Sooner at the University of Oklahoma and JoAnna was a standout at Southern Nazarene where she helped lead the team to an NAIA championship.
Both went on to have successful coaching careers and later blended sports and fitness with ministry but wanted to take their passions and convictions to the next level with Solid Rock Basketball.
Their dream was to build an elite, yet all-inclusive basketball training facility that would teach the fundamentals of the game to those as young as kindergarten and those as experienced as top high school athletes. The Wigintons teamed up with another couple, Brandon and Katie Troutman, who became co-owners. Brandon ran a youth basketball program called Game Changers and joined forces with Solid Rock, serving as the Director of Operations and Facilities.
“Our biggest setback is gym time,” Brandon says of the Game Changers program. “So, when I was approached with an opportunity to pair my organization up with Solid Rock Basketball in order to build a facility with four full-size courts the answer had to be ‘absolutely, yes.’”
A first-class facility needs a high-quality hardwood maple sports floor to go with it. To help them make the right choice, the Wigintons called on Jeff Boyd, owner of Beckett Bros. Wood Floor Systems and a long-time family friend.
Finding the Right Floor
Thanks to past experience with Beckett Bros., the Wigintons knew they wanted the dealership to work with them on the Solid Rock facility. Boyd says it started with identifying what was needed in a sports floor system for a new building that would serve student athletes year-round.
“We worked through the attributes of each option, including the grade of maple, what kind of substructures we wanted, and what the environment of the room would be,” Boyd explains. “It was almost like a process of elimination. We identified what didn’t fit.”
He adds that shock absorption was one of the most important criteria considered for Solid Rock’s basketball courts, which is one reason why the floating resilient system, Action Thrust I, with ¾”, dual stage, natural rubber pads was ultimately chosen.
“They really loved the feel of that ¾” pad from Action Floors, especially for a heavy-use environment,” Boyd says. “They’re running a lot of kids through there. So, we wanted something that would hold up well yet allow for a good amount of airflow underneath.”
Oklahoma can be very humid during the summer, and proper airflow helps protect the floor from moisture damage.
Athletes with a wide range of ages and skills will be training and competing on these courts over the years. Plus, elite players beyond high school ages will use the facility, too. Even members of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder have visited Solid Rock Basketball to work with kids.
Beckett Bros. regularly installs the Action Thrust system for high school gymnasiums and higher levels of competitive play. Boyd says experienced athletes always notice a difference.
“What we hear back from the high-level players is how much better it feels underfoot and how much more comfortable it is to play on,” he says.
While the young basketballers at Solid Rock may not notice or appreciate the quality of the floor, Boyd says what’s good for the pros is good for student athletes as well. He also believes there may be unique protective benefits to female athletes.
“A lot of times, we’ll talk to college coaches with old floors from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and they’ll comment on how a lot of the girls’ hips and knees hurt after working out,” Boyd says. “Anything that can help provide a little more cushion, yet still have good ball bounce and shock absorption, that’s a positive to female athletes who may have a greater propensity for those types of injuries on more rigid floors.”
Beckett Bros.’ Buzzer Beater
The Solid Rock Basketball project involved approximately 24,000 square feet of flooring with four full-sized basketball courts featuring 2nd grade maple and 16 total hoops. Younger athletes train using baskets on the sides of the main courts since they don’t need to play full court. Floor finishes included courts painted in four different colors, so players and families could easily identify where to go, and customized logos in center court areas.
Boyd says all of this had to be completed within a tighter-than-expected schedule. This is common for a sports floor installation as it’s one of the last jobs to be completed in a new building. Many other types of construction need to take place first, and delays in prior months put a time crunch on Beckett Bros.
“Solid Rock had a launch date they needed to hit because leagues started at a certain time,” Boyd says. “What you don’t know is how the weather will affect construction of a new building. When it’s the 11th hour and it’s time to install the courts, how much time is left?”
The court installation ended up taking place while other trades completed work such as dry walling. That created challenges because of extra foot traffic and debris blowing around during the floor finishing process.
If Solid Rock couldn’t open its doors on time, it could mean lost business and disappointed athletes. Thankfully, just as a good head coach knows how to manage the clock with time winding down, Boyd had a plan. Becket Bros. typically schedules extra time to provide some flexibility. In this case, they also doubled the size of the crew to ensure they hit the deadline.
“Because of the timeframe, we did end up being under the gun to get it done,” he says. “We pretty well took it down to the wire.”
In the end, the team from Beckett Bros. came through in the clutch, and the Wigintons loved the finished product.
A Firm Foundation
Coach Wig and Coach Jo, as they are known to the players, admit they feel a bit exhausted after going through the process of launching Solid Rock Basketball. Yet, after concluding their first full year, they also feel privileged for the opportunity to invest in the youth of Oklahoma City and beyond.
“I have literally had a dream of being involved in a basketball facility like Solid Rock for years,” JoAnna says on the facility’s website. “The way that Solid Rock Basketball has come together is nothing short of amazing.”
Their organization gets its name from the scripture Matthew 7:24 (New Living Translation), which is part of the “Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders.” It reads:
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on a solid rock.”
Just as buildings and sports floors need a good foundation, so do young hearts and minds. As coaches, the Wigintons and Troutmans as well as other Solid Rock coaches and mentors, provide the foundation of the fundamental skills it takes to play a sport.
However, Solid Rock Basketball wants kids to walk away with more than that.
“This is, in a nutshell, what might be the most important aspect of a team sport like basketball.” Craig explains. “The connection to a team and the life lessons learned through the daily pursuit of excellence.”
Those life lessons include being part of a team, developing discipline, and learning about personal responsibility.
Jeff Boyd also understands this facility has a mission that goes beyond basketball, which is why Beckett Bros. became a sponsor of Solid Rock Basketball’s programs.
“The beauty of what they have in that facility transcends the basketball floor,” he says. “It’s about life, building character, and instilling things in kids that they may not be getting at home. That’s why we love being part of it and why our name is on the floor. At the end of the day, it impacts lives.”
Action Floors is proud to play a small role in enriching the lives of these young people. We love knowing how the hard work that goes into manufacturing our products ends up supporting projects that matter.