Sport Illustrated Kids Winner: Meet Jaden

Last month, Sports Illustrated Kids reporter Sarah Lui wrote about her first CoachUp session with Coach Raminta Dvariskyte.

On the heels of her exciting experience, we asked CoachUp Nation to tell us about their first CoachUp experience for a chance to win 3 free CoachUp sessions and a 12-month subscription to Sports Illustrated Kids.

High school athlete, Jaden, submitted an exceptional write-up about his experience with Coach Tarnell, and the awesome positive outcome he’s had on and off the court with his confidence and attitude:

“I did not make my high school freshman basketball team. My spirits were at an all time low. My mom knew that playing high school basketball has always been my dream so she found CoachUp and Coach Tarnell. I was so nervous. “How could I be good enough for a trainer when I did not make a high school freshman team?” was going through my head. Coach Tarnell made me feel like a winner again. He taught me that it is ok to fail and you need to pick yourself back up and put the work in. 4 months later, I am still training with Coach Tarnell and I just made an elite AAU team. My confidence is back. My high school team will not know what hit them when I show up for tryout next year!”

We caught up with Jaden to hear more about his comeback journey.

CoachUp:  What’s your favorite thing about playing basketball?

Jaden:  Good question – I love the competition. I like the challenge to stop or beat an opponent.

CoachUp:  Do you want to play in college?

Jaden:  Absolutely! It’s always been a dream of mine while watching March Madness.

CoachUp:  What’s your favorite thing about Coach Tarnell?

Jaden:  I like that he is soft spoken and doesn’t yell. He is calm. He’s very relatable. I can talk to him about anything. He made me believe in myself.

He is calm. He’s very relatable. I can talk to him about anything. He made me believe in myself. 

CoachUp:  What’s a training session like with Coach Tarnell?

Jaden:  We start our session talking about what’s going on in basketball. Then we move to ball handling and shooting drill. Next we do bands. Not my favorite, but necessary. Many times we end with the Larry Bird drill. (You start close the basket and keep moving out as you make it without missing)

CoachUp:  What’s it like playing for your AAU team?

Jaden:  There is a lot of pride. They expect a lot of me. I am up for the challenge and work hard. It’s great meeting teammates from other areas.

CoachUp:  What would you say to someone who was in the same situation as you were – someone who’s trying to get better to make the team?

Jaden:  Don’t get down on yourself. Keep a positive attitude. Just because one door closes doesn’t mean another isn’t going to open. I became a more well-rounded player because I didn’t make the team. This might not have happened if I made the team. I should write a book.


We followed up with Jaden’s mother, Amy, to learn her thoughts on her son’s hard work.

CoachUp:  How has basketball and personalized coaching helped Jaden on and off of the court?

Amy:  Coach Tarnell has made Jaden a better person. He has more confidence on and off the court. Jaden was not in a good place when he didn’t make the team. Having someone tell and show him that he is a good player and person has made a huge difference in his life. I have thanked God many days for sending us Coach Tarnell.

CoachUp:  Can you describe some of the changes you’ve seen in Jaden since he started working with Coach Tarnell?

Amy:  In basketball, he is a much more well-rounded player. Previously, he would stand around the 3-point line and wait for the pass. Now he is a threat to drive or take a 3. His friends that have not seen him play in a while have come up to him and have told him how good his game looks. Coach Tarnell has given him this confidence. Coach has also fostered Jaden’s love of basketball. Since we started training, very few days go by that he is not shooting or dribbling. Jaden even brought a basketball with him to Cancun for spring break.

CoachUp:  How did you find CoachUp?

Amy:  I found CoachUp through a Google search. I was impressed when I saw they were endorsed by Steph Curry.


Athletes like Jaden are what CoachUp is all about. We at CoachUp are so happy that Jaden found a coach who can help him excel on the court, as well as in his personal development. We’re rooting for you, Jaden!

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