Introducing Nate, The Newest #CoachUpWay Winner

Introducing Nate, The Newest #CoachUpWay Winner

Here at CoachUp, we've loved hearing your experiences and stories that represent the #CoachUpWay. After another tight month of voting, we've successfully found the next winner. It's time to meet Nate, a young basketball player that has worked hard to achieve his goals.

This is Nate's story as told by his father, Jordan! After you get caught up on Nate's full story, be sure to check out our short interview below with Jordan as he recaps his son's adventures through AAU, wearing Robert Griffin III's heroic socks, and the progress he's made as an athlete. Nate's detailed story can be found in full on the #CoachUpWay site -- but we've highlighted a few of our favorite parts down below.

Thanks again to both Nate and Jordan for sharing this story -- your hard work inspires us all! If you'd like to be considered for March, come tell us your story!

From Toddler to Teenager

"[. . .] When Nate was five years-old, instead of catching a few minutes of Barney in the morning, he would always turn on SportsCenter hoping to see the Top 10 Plays of the Day before heading to kindergarten. In 2011, Robert Griffin III sent the sock world into a craze by wearing caped Superman socks to the Heisman Award Ceremony. Nate begged us for those socks and, with some hesitation, I got them for him. I can still remember sitting down with him and explaining that those socks were attention-getters and that his play was going to have to back them up.

CoachUpWay Winner Nate

Turns out, backing up those socks on the basketball court wasn't a problem. Nate was definitely one of the top kids in the local recreation league and was pretty well known in the community by 6th grade. He was excited about starting middle school and trying out for the basketball team. As a 6th grader, he made final cuts, but did not make the team [. . .]

[From there,] we decided to move on from the recreation league and try out AAU basketball -- and we were excited when Nate made the team! At the beginning of the season, Nate was consistently a starter. I remember the practice when the coach wanted Nate to change his shooting form and stop “shooting from under his chin." Nate struggled to understand why he needed to change something that had served him so well his entire life. I explained that the coach was actually teaching him the proper technique and just wanted him to get better by correcting his form. As Nate's missed shots number went up, his playing time went down. Reminders of practice and tournaments were met with slouched shoulders and exasperated sighs.

The love my son has always had for basketball was fading [. . .]

When the AAU season rolled back around, I suggested that we use that money for personalized training instead. It is an understatement to say that Nate was not too fond of the idea. I took to Google and stumbled upon CoachUp. I entered my criteria and discovered a Coach with a 5-star rating that held his sessions 5 minutes away from my house. However, Nate was still very reluctant. I finally just signed Nate up for one session and promised him that if he didn't like it, then we would move on. The 5 minute drive to the first session felt like an eternity. After I introduced myself to Coach Norm, I stuck around for 10 minutes to make sure there were no issues and then quietly slipped away for the remaining 80 minutes. Once the session was over, we all walked back to our cars together and talked briefly. I informed the coach that we would be in touch. When Nate and I settled into the car, I was shocked to hear the words coming out of my son's mouth. He was saying things like: Dad, that guy is awesome! Dad, that guy is going to make me a beast! Dad, that guy really knows what he is doing! [. . .]

Find out how the story ends on the #CoachUpWay and then submit your own! After Nate was selected as our February winner, we asked the pair a few more questions in order to get to know them better -- that interview is below:

CoachUp: Why was Nate hesitant about training with a private coach?

Jordan Schmitt: The main reason was he just felt self conscious. He was very nervous about having his every move analyzed in a one-on-one situation.

CU: What were some of the things that happened in that first session that helped Nate change his feelings towards training with Coach Norm? How was it different from AAU?

JS: The main thing he liked about Coach Norm was that he didn’t yell once. Instead, Norm was able to walk that fine line by challenging Nate without belittling or yelling at him. Nate isn’t one of those kids that needs to be yelled at in order to be motivated, so Norm was a great fit.

CU: How often did Nate meet with Coach Norm? Does he plan to continue training during the regular season?

JS: Actually, today is our one-year anniversary with Coach Norm! Our first session with him was on March 4, 2015. Since then, we have completed a total of 19 sessions with him. Coach Norm is in the United States Navy, so he's often gone for 1 or 2 months and we work around that. Our next session with Norm is scheduled for the weekend of March 11th! We plan on Nate training with Coach Norm for a very long time!

CU: Did Nate play any other sports growing up? If so, what were some of the lessons he learned in youth sports that were transferable to other sports/aspects of his life?

JS: Nate has primarily played football and basketball for much of his life. He also spent a few years training in Muay-Thai kickboxing along the way. Sports have taught Nate to work in a team setting and they've given him some important self-confidence and leadership skills. In addition, Nate has learned the definition of hard work and dedication. He presently takes all advanced classes and was recently accepted into our high school’s Magnet Math and Science Academy that begins in September.

CU: Where are the socks now? Does he still have those socks? Is he sporting any new styles?

JS: We still have the socks, although they are tucked away in his memory box. The sock infatuation is still strong with Nate, however. His Superhero sock collection has been replaced by Stance, Under Armour, and Nike Elites. His favorite two pairs of socks today are his Under Armour Maryland Terrapins socks (I graduated from Maryland in 1996) and his custom Nike Elite socks (AAU Academy Prep Hawks)!

Thanks again to Nate and Jordan -- your story is incredibly inspiring and a testament to the fantastic coaches we have working alongside us. We're so happy to know that Coach Norm has helped make Nate's goals come true. Keep working hard -- we're so excited to see what comes next! If you have a story worth sharing, head over to the #CoachUpWay and submit your own! You could win a gift bundle from CoachUp worth over $250! 

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