Coaching began as a hobby for me, something to put on college resumes and job applications. I never played basketball in high school and knew nothing about the sport as I began coaching.
I soon grew a passion for it. Building the young athletes’ skills and development brought great enjoyment and satisfaction into my life. I started studying concepts, drills, and plays to absorb everything I could about the game of basketball.
In the spring of 2015, I decided to take a chance and build a competitive travel team to showcase across our area. I had enough players for a 10 and under team as well as a 14 and under team. At the time I was finishing my undergraduate degree as well as holding two jobs. I would drive an hour back and forth 3 to 4 times a week from where I went to school to where practice was held each week. I never missed a practice.
Our relentless pursuit to be the best team as possible resulted in an undefeated record for both age groups for the spring season. For the summer, I decided to take our team one step higher and travel farther from home. Our program grew enough recognition from the community that I was able to expand to a total of 5 teams and around 60 kids. We were able to travel throughout our region to play several games over the summer months, resulting in numerous accolades.
However, the great success the team had during this time brought a financial burden along with it. As you know, poverty and welfare plague most of our community. A large portion is on food stamps and every child is eligible for free breakfast, lunch, and dinner at school no questions asked. These circumstances are applied to most of my players.
I try to be everything I can for my players. Most come from a single parent household who have grown up most of their life without some sort of father figure. At just 24, I am a coach, father figure, and positive role model to close to 70 players. Some of my players have never introduced me to their parents. Most have no transportation to practice or games and rely on me and other supporting parents to get them there. After the games, we provide them all with a meal because we do not know when they might eat again or who will be waiting for them at home. When we are not practicing or at games our organization tries to keep them occupied with game nights, football games, and other events to keep them out of trouble and show them the right path.
As an organization we try to make a positive impact in every player’s life. We never turn away a child who would like to come and play competitive basketball in our organization. However, they must understand that grades and behavior come above all. We are trying to create leaders in our community and have found basketball as a means to do so. We establish respect, discipline, and hard work as the pillars of our program.
This team and all of my players associated with it mean the world to me. I have grown a connection with them all and want nothing more than to watch them succeed. I want to build a platform to ensure the exposure and recognition they deserve.
Jacob Schultz, Founder/Head Coach