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With sports on hold, young athletes turn to virtual coaching programs


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — With team sports on hold indefinitely, one option for young athletes during the coronavirus pandemic is private, online coaching.

From high school to the pros, no one knows for sure when organized sports will return but aspiring amateur athletes are still trying to perfect their craft.

This is why private and online coaching programs, like Bay Area-based Elite Athletes TV, are booming.

“A lot of athletes that want to compete, and a lot of parents that want to keep their kids in competition are thriving, with getting a coach and finding a way to continue what they were doing beforehand,” said Mike Pawlawski, Founder and President of Elite Athletes TV.

Elite Athletes TV wasn’t built with a pandemic in mind, but has turned out to be perfect for just that.

The training programs are all designed to be completely virtual so athletes anywhere in the country have access to top level coaching.

The roster of coaches includes former NFL and MLB players and Olympic gold medalists. 

“We have fully developed workout programs, so full systems for young athletes, so that they’re not guessing, just saying, oh here’s a great drill from Youtube,” Pawlawski explains. “We have a full program in place that’s lined out day by day, week by week.”

Meanwhile, this summer could look different for programs that typically train in person.

Excel In Basketball Camp is the largest in the Bay Area, working with 3,000 kids each year.

The coaches are working on multiple plans to continue to provide access to young hoops hopefuls in compliance with restrictions.

“I think it may also be an opportunity to shift the way we teach the game, and get away from all the game playing, and really zero in on individual skills. This period has almost forced the kids and the parents to buy into that concept of skill development,” said Frank Allocco Sr., founder and director of Excel In Basketball Camps.

Excel In Basketball will be able to open a modified basketball camp for children of essential workers in a couple weeks but the program, which has produced countless Division 1 players, along with several NBA players and coaches, remains hopeful it can continue to reach a larger group of kids. 

“Our motto is change the world, one player at a time. And we’re going to change the world one player at a time whether it’s virtual or whether it’s in person, depending on the restrictions that are out there,” Allocco Sr. said.

When organized sports do return, these local programs are helping make sure the athletes will be ready.

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