Prior to running my own basketball camps, I had worked with many other basketball camp organizations. The one common flaw I witnessed (over and over) was there was no real curriculum. In other words, once a kid completed one basketball camp, there were no progressive follow-on camps they may take. It was one and done.
In creating my own basketball camps, I did not want kids to take one camp, and then be done. This would be a horrible way to run a business, plus it would minimize our positive impact on kids. The structure, sequencing and continuity of the basketball camps offered would be critical in determining our long-term success. If that was screwed up, my insatiable desire to get out of debt, and provide for my family could be in peril!
I knew the importance of the structure, sequence and continuity, but I didn’t know exactly how to do it. My decision made here would make or break the success of the basketball camps.
Through 25+ years as a basketball coach, I knew there are 5 core skills every basketball player must develop: ball handling, shooting, offensive moves, defense and inside play. If this is true (and I know it is), why don’t I run 5 different basketball camps, with each one emphasizing a core skill?
Once a kid completes one basketball camp, there’s a natural progression for the kid to register into the next camp. In total, there would be 5 different camps available for each kid. By using this approach, it wouldn’t be one and done. It would be five and done (and many times a kid goes through the curriculum multiple times)! Bingo!!!
To move forward, I wanted to run each of the 5 basketball camps during the 10-month school year. To do this, each camp had to last 7 weeks, with a 1-week in-between break. By doing this, the camps could start on the first day of school, and end within the last 2 weeks of the school year. During summer months, the camp duration would be 5 days. These camps would be inclusive of all core basketball skills.
To roll out basketball camps, I needed to secure a gymnasium, schedule and market basketball camps and offer FREE demonstration classes.
On paper, the plan looked “sweet”. In reality, there were hiccups. For one, in order to book and secure gymnasium, I needed liability insurance. I acquired it.
Secondly, although we marketed the basketball camps like crazy, there weren’t lots of campers enrolling. Even when we offered FREE demonstration classes, attendance was spotty. Ultimately, through persistence, we were able to enroll 12 kids into our first camp.
11 years later (8 years part-time, 3 years full-time), we’ve enrolled 10,000+ kids, and have grossed in excess of 1.5 million dollars.
The money and notoriety is nice, but my true joy is seeing the impact we’re having on kids on and off the court. Our campers become better kids at home, better students in school and rising leaders on their teams. This, in essence, is why I walked away from a high paying 6-figure corporate job. My true calling is to inspire and motivate kids to be their best selves.