Let’s Talk “Gurus”

I’m sitting in the car in the parking lot of a warehouse district in Tempe, watching my 15 year old son going through offensive line training. The “gurus” rolled up the garage door and are going at it.  My son has on a mask and is working with six other high schoolers. They are being trained by two men who care deeply about the development of kids and the game of football. One of them played several seasons  in the NFL and the other has a great reputation among high school coaches and players. 

Personal training and “gurus” are part of the high school sports landscape.

What does the personal training space mean for the kid versus the parent is up for debate. When I talk with most players years after their high school days are over, they remember their high school friends, playing video games, getting food, hitting the pool. They don’t include in the conversation going to  “guru”  workouts, the outcome of a 7 on 7 tourney in June, or where they rank on some silly list. All of that stuff is left for parents to grab a hold of. 

Here’s what I have found with some, not all, of the  “gurus”.  A few THINK that without them in your life, the kid would have no chance to play beyond high school. Of course that’s not true. There are some high school coaches who will never say anything publicly on this topic because they have a good working relationship with the “guru” to have kids “encouraged” to look at their high school program. Many high school coaches bristle on this topic because they are teaching the kid one thing, while the guy getting a check from dad or mom is saying another (Guess who’s going to win that battle). I had a couple of high school coaches bring up that players will miss their high school workout to go to train with the guru. How messed up is that in building a team? 

A few years back I was invited by a head coach of a state title high school program to be a guest at the high school football golf fundraiser. While we were in his cart waiting to get started, three different guys came up to the coach and introduced themselves with “HI coach, I’m so and so, and I’m so and so’s (speed, QB, strength) coach”. I was highly amused by all of this, but the head coach wasn’t. “Guys making money off my kids”. None of the three salesmen, er coaches, played in the tournament, they just wanted some face-time with the head coach.

There’s nothing wrong with extra training and technique in any sport, but I would suggest that once you decide to go into this space, understand that your debit card, Venmo  and checkbook better have lots  of extra dollars and your son or daughter should really want to do it. I’ve had those in the “guru” business tell me  that at times they are simply babysitting. There’s also the 5”5 DB with a dad who thinks his kids isn’t getting enough “Love” from the high school head coach, but the “guru” will gladly take the money rather than say, “Um, he’s not going to be a D1 college football player”. (How about talking to the player about NAIA and other options)

Don’t miss the point here, there are a few good “gurus” in the high school space . However, If they have to plaster themselves all over social media as a game changer for your kid,  or they rip others in their line of work, think twice and then think twice again.