The Ugly Truth

I had a conversation with a colleague of mine last week about the concept of “Guaranteed” results. This has always been very hard for me to understand. How can you “Guarantee” results in sports? Although foreign to me, it’s something that is promised all over the country.

Parents are willing to spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to get their children to that next level. They’ll hire the best of the best, in hopes that their services will ensure greatness. Many professionals who offer services such as these, “Guarantee” results. “I guarantee I can make your son or daughter play at the next level.” Bold statement when you ask me, considering there are so many factors that go in to who makes it and who doesn’t.

1.) You Cannot Teach Athleticism – Athleticism is a gift you are born with or you aren’t. You can build strength, you can improve quickness, you can even increase your vertical leap, however the ability to jump 40″+ in the air is something that you cannot teach. A scout once told me there are three ways to make it to the NBA. You are a phenomenally well rounded player, you do one or two things extremely well, or you are just a freak athlete. You can’t teach the freak.

2.) The Biggest Influence in the Game is Between Your Ears – Mental toughness is a very hard concept to teach, and something very few ever truly learn. Although Kobe and Lebron are incredibly gifted and hard working athletes, in my opinion (which is just my opinion) their advantage over their competition lies in their head. They are mentally solid in every aspect of the game, which is why they can do what they do night after night.

3.) Geography – I was a factor of this one. You can be a great player, but if no one ever sees you, it is very hard to achieve greatness. Though this is becoming easier with advances in technology and the increasing availability of the internet, growing up in Idaho or Montana for example is no advantage. Most scouts don’t even know where those places are.

Under most circumstances, in order to be great, you need to surround yourself with those that are great or greater than you. You need to challenge yourself by playing with the best players and the toughest competition. This can be very hard to do when you factor in where you live. Sun Valley, Idaho where I grew up was not a hot bed for future basketball stars. I had to travel to compete, which isn’t always easy to do.

4.) Dedication and Determination – I have been running HSBCAMPS for five years now and this is perhaps the issue that our kids struggle with the most. Do you WANT to play at the next level or do you HAVE to play at the next level? Most people want something but they either don’t understand what it takes to get it or they refuse to work hard enough for it. There are hundreds of thousands of athletes as we speak, training, competing, and doing everything possible to achieve their dreams. Greatness is not easy. If it was it would be easily achieved. Even the best are working every day to be better. When you think that you have done enough, you need to do twice as much. Think of all of those that are competing for your spot right now.

Formerly a sales manager at 24 Hour Fitness, I used to talk to people about their goals and why they were interested in joining the gym. We had a “Guaranteed” training program with “Guaranteed” results. We could guarantee whatever we wanted, as much as we wanted, but I knew as well as anyone that it didn’t mean it was going to happen. You can promise, you can preach, and you can motivate all you want, but if the person you are pushing doesn’t want to be pushed, it is all for nothing. The guarantee lies with each individual. I am a true believer that if we set ourselves up to accomplish, anything is possible. The key lies in we. We need coaches, we need trainers, we need mentors in our lives, but only we can force ourselves to do that extra workout, to shoot those extra jump shots, and to study when we are exhausted. There’s that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” The water is there, are you going to drink? Only you can make that decision and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are no substitutes for hard work and dedication and no amount of “Guaranteeing” will ever change that.

Blogging Live From 40,000 Feet

I have to say this is a first for me, but what better time to blog then while your stuck on a plane cruising at 40,000 feet. I am closing out this last day of January, with a trip to the “Lone Star State”, Texas, the newest territory in our quickly expanding youth basketball program. Although it will be a quick trip, it is my first visit to Texas and also a first aboard Southwest Airlines.

Being 6’8 and flying without assigned seating was something that I was a little reluctant to do. However, price is price and when you’re trying to crunch every dollar in an effort to give back as much as possible you have to make sacrifices. I think I lucked out this time, snagging an amazing bulkhead seat with tons of legroom right in the first row. I thought I might have a whole bunch of room between the gentleman on the aisle and myself, until another fellow tall person decided to take the middle seat between us.

My trip this week will take me to both of our 2011 locations in Texas, with a first stop at the Forney Sports Center in Dallas before heading with Coach Burton up to Legends in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. I am very excited to see the state and meet new people. Mike Harris, (Houston Rockets) my former teammate and current HSBCAMPS Coaching Staff member, shot me an email this morning wishing me well on the trip. Mike is one of our NBA advocates, hard at work on and off the court getting more NBA players involved and recruiting more coaches to an already impressive staff. It is crazy to think that it is only January 31st, and things are already getting hectic.

Well I will leave you with a thought from an earlier blog post and something that I live by daily now. Don’t waste any of the precious seconds that you have each day, because there are no rollover minutes in the game of life. Hope all of your seasons are going well and shoot me a note if you are free to say hello.

Blogging live from the skies, enjoy this last day of January 2011.

Come Play With the Pros in 2011

HSBCAMPS, America’s leader in bringing kids of all ages face-to-face with the pros, has been busy this off-season. The nationally expanding program has opened various new camp locations, just re-launched the new and improved HSBCAMPS.com, and today released several of the big coaching names that will be in attendance in 2011. NBA veteran Felipe Lopez, once rated the top high school player in the country, will return for his second year as will Utah Jazz swing-man Ronnie Price, and Houston Rockets forward and 2010 NBA Development League MVP Mike Harris. All three were key additions to the 2010 HSBCAMPS staff, and have reconfirmed their commitment to the program and to the hundreds of kids that it helps in 2011.

“We are truly blessed to have advocates of our program at every level, especially in the NBA,” explains Carson Sofro, HSBCAMPS Founder. “These guys are amongst an elite group of NBA players and other professionals that are committed to our cause and eager to give back.” HSBCAMPS has grown a national following over the last couple years, for its ability to bring kids of all ages face-to-face with the pros. As Sofro will tell you, “This is no “meet and greet” camp. Our pros are not there to sign some autographs and shake a couple hands. They come from all over the country to teach, develop, and encourage an up and coming generation of kids.”

In addition to the NBA, HSBCAMPS is staffed with coaches from various European and International Leagues, the NBADL, CBA, IBL, and a handful of colleges and universities around the country. For more information on the staff, locations, the program, or to register for one of HSBCAMPS youth basketball camps, visit www.hsbcamps.com.

There Are No Rollover Minutes in the Game of Life

A constant theme that we talk about every year at camp, is that of time.  We have many young players in our program in pursuit of their dream, wishing to play at the next level and beyond.  Time is of the essence as school work, practice, and a social life take up a considerable chunk of a young persons day.  However, it is how we use the limited time that we have, that separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

There are hundreds of thousands of young people around the world at this very moment, working hard and putting in the hours.  They are practicing before, during, and after school, taking advantage of every moment they have to get better.  Unfortunately for many of us, this is a concept we do not yet understand.

To achieve greatness, requires greatness.  Kobe, Lebron, D Wade, and all of the premier players of today still spend countless hours perfecting what already seems perfect.  They recognize that there are no rollover minutes in the game of life.  Time wasted, is time lost.

The concept of time is one I struggle with daily myself.  I have an obligation to my family, my friends, HSBCAMPS, and all the kids that we have yet to meet and impact.  I have a lot to manage on a daily basis, therefor it is imperative for me to take advantage of every second I have and never waste the precious moments that have been given to me.  Nobody has the ability to carry time from one day to the next.  If your dream is to play at the next level, to be a teacher, a doctor, or whatever your heart desires, make sure you are taking advantage of every waking moment you have.    Life is too short to live with regret.

Are you doing everything you can to take advantage of the time you’ve been given?

Doing Things Right

It is the end of a very long week, and as I sit down to reflect on the past few days I cannot help but smile.  The road has taken me from Idaho to Utah and then back to Idaho again.  I have hosted and attended meetings at high schools, restaurants, and hotels and the theme of all these meetings seem to be the same.  This year is about “Doing things right”.  I am not saying that in the past we haven’t, but as we continue to grow and expand this program we carry with us an obligation to do things differently and change the landscape of youth sports.  When did youth sports become all about glorifying our coaches and charging astronomical fees that only a select few parents can afford?  When did things stop being about just helping kids?

I have a good feeling about 2011 and more than ever I feel that we are not alone.  We have connected and partnered with coaches, clubs, and organizations that like HSB are trying to do things for the right reasons.  At lunch on Tuesday, Ronnie Price (Utah Jazz) told me something that has really stuck.  He said that when he was growing up in Texas, a few simple words from a coach changed his life.  He was encouraged, inspired, and motivated to overcome every obstacle that stood in his way and pursue his dream.  That coach didn’t want money, he didn’t want fame, but instead saw the potential in a young man with the ultimate dream.  Simple words can have a profound impact on a young persons life, and I am thrilled to know that we have advocates like Ronnie, even at the highest level, that understand how important it is to get to these kids and make sure that we are “Doing things right”.

Are you a coach or mentor trying to do things right?  We want to hear from you and help and support you in any way that we can.  Hopefully together we can make a difference.

Happy New Year from HSBCamps!

Is it really that time of year again? With two days left before the beginning of the New Year, I cannot help but take a deep breath and reflect on all that has happened these last twelve months. What started as a small dream just a few years ago has exploded into something bigger than we could have ever imagined. We have impacted the lives of more than a thousand young adults, operated our programs in dozens of cities across the Western United States, and raised thousands of dollars for various charities and educational organizations in financial need. We have instilled confidence, overcome adversity, and positioned ourselves as an up and coming power amongst the elite youth basketball programs in operation today. Although there is much to be proud of, we couldn’t have done any of this without you. To our parents, players, coaches, volunteers, sponsors, and all of those that have helped make HSBCAMPS what it is today, I want to thank you and wish you all the very best in 2011.

For your continued support of all that we have accomplished, I am proud to announce that we are rolling back the prices on all of our 2011 summer sessions, while providing more coaching, more instruction, and more giveaways than ever before. This gesture is not a result of current economic trends, but rather fulfilling our commitment and our mission to deliver a world-class basketball experience to kids of all ages, incomes, and abilities, for a fraction of the price of similar programs.

With a new website, new locations, and more pros than ever, 2011 is shaping up to be our biggest year yet. From our family to yours Happy New Year and hope to see you all very soon.

-Carson Sofro-
HSBCAMPS Founder / Director