Brendan Winters

Website – https://proskillsbasketball.com/

Email – brendan@proskillsbasketball.com

Twitter – @brendanwinters

@ProSkillsBball

Brendan Winters is the co-founder of Pro Skills Basketball headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Brendan was a 4 time All-conference player at Davidson College where as a senior Brendan was named an All-American along with winning Davidson’s “Tommy Peters Award” (given annually to a male Davidson athlete who exemplifies excellence on the playing field and dedicated campus leadership) and also being named one of five national finalists for the “Chip Hilton Award” (given annually to a graduating senior NCAA basketball players who demonstrates personal character in all affairs).

After graduating in 2006 with a degree in English, Brendan decided to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.

He was invited to attend the Portsmouth Invitational as well as pre-draft workouts with the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and Charlotte Bobcats. Despite going undrafted, Brendan continued his NBA quest by playing for the Golden State Warriors in the 2006 Las Vegas Summer League.

Although being asked to play in the NBA Developmental League, Winters decided to continue his career overseas where he played five seasons before returning home to focus on Pro Skills Basketball with his former Davidson College teammate Logan Kosmalski year-round beginning in 2011.

Don’t miss our Hoop Heads Pod Webinar Series with some of the top minds in the game across all levels, from grassroots to the NBA.  If you’re focused on improving your coaching and your team, we’ve got you covered! Visit hoopheadspod.com/webinars to get registered.  Make sure you check out our new Hoop Heads Pod Network of shows including Thrive with Trevor Huffman , Beyond the Ball, The CoachMays.com Podcast and Cavaliers Central with Justin Matcham. This week we’ll be launching two more new pods, The Player’s Court with Joseph Harris, a show dedicated to empowering middle school & high school players that want to play college basketball, and Grizz N Grind hosted by Elijah Campbell. Elijah will dive deep into the Memphis Grizzlies. This our second podcast dedicated to covering the ins and outs of an NBA team. We’re looking for an NBA podcaster in every league market interested in hosting their own show centered on a particular team.  Reach out to me at mike@hoopheadspod.com if you’re interested in learning more and bringing your talent to our network.

Be prepared to take some notes as you listen to this episode with Brendan Winters, Co-Founder of Pro Skills Basketball.

What We Discuss with Brendan Winters

  • Making the decision to shut down Pro Skills back in March due to Covid and having to come up with a new game plan with AAU season coming
  • The initial idea to pivot into virtual
  • Instagram Live & Zoom Workouts
  • The challenge of putting together virtual workouts
  • How Cristian Barber became their lead virtual trainer
  • Trying to create a “Peloton” type of virtual basketball experience
  • Enabling players to compete in virtual tournaments
  • The process for building the PSB Plus App
  • The four skills PSB Plus is built on
  • How virtual camps have enabled them to reach players all over the world
  • The dramatic improvement PSB saw in players doing their virtual workouts
  • Being efficient with your time in a workout
  • Coaches using the app to assign homework
  • The Pro Skills AAU Model and how it’s different
  • Embracing the tech side of basketball and why kids love it
  • Virtual showcases for prospective college players

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THANKS, BRENDAN WINTERS

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TRANSCRIPT FOR BRENDAN WINTERS – CO-FOUNDER OF PRO SKILLS BASKETBALL – EPISODE 346

[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle. And tonight we are pleased to welcome back to the podcast. Brendan Winters from Pro Skills Basketball,

Brendan Winters: [00:00:09] Brendan. Welcome. Hey guys, how’s it going?

Mike Klinzing: [00:00:12] Going great. We are excited to have you back on the show.

Wanted to talk to you a little bit about clearly what is an unusual situation for all of us who were involved in the grassroots basketball world and wanted to just get your perspective on some of the things that you guys have been able to do while we are all in various stages of quarantining through COVID-19.

So take us back to the beginning, back in March, when it started to appear, like things were not going to be normal heading into this spring, what were you guys internally as a company talking about? Do you remember some of those first discussions when it seemed like, Oh, things aren’t going to be what we expected.

Brendan Winters: [00:00:53] Yeah, not only do I, remember or them I’ll probably never forget them. Cause it was a wild time. I [00:01:00] remember being in the office and it was right around the time when, the NCAA and the NBA and all of them were deciding to shut down and on that day, I forget who shut down first, but we knew it was super serious.

Once those kind of big guys, decided to shut down, so we went ahead and did it right away. honestly, without really a plan of like, okay, well, what do we do next? Because, yeah, like you said, it was March, I guess. I believe, and, I can’t remember the exact timeframe. Cause it was around St. Patrick’s day. That’s all I remember because it’s a long time ago.  

Jason Sunkle: [00:01:38] It was March 13th because I am a math teacher and I was going to celebrate PI day the next day. And I had eaten three big pies all by myself. So there we go.

Brendan Winters: So, yeah, we didn’t really know what we were, what kind of the plan was, but we just knew we had to basically shut it down.

And, you know, we typically have tryouts [00:02:00] for our team, most of our cities have tryouts in February, and early March. So like, almost every single one of our cities had finished up tryouts by that point. I mean, it was brutal. I mean, we had put together, I think 160, 170 teams, across 10 cities and then bang, like some of them had practiced for a couple of weeks, you know, like March 1st they were practicing and then bang, we had to shut it all down. So, It was interesting to say the least, so we shut it down. And then from there we had to kind of game plan really quickly about, all right, what are we going to do for the next, you know, at the time we were kind of like next few weeks, next month, you know, And, kinda like everyone, man, we switched real quick to virtual.

We started offering Instagram live workouts. I believe we were doing Instagram live workouts three times a week. We also offered Zoom workouts, hour long, twice a [00:03:00] week and, and that’s where we started. So we just kind of started where everyone else started, Instagram live, Zoom workouts, and just kind of went from there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:03:09] So, how did you go about putting those workouts together? Was that something that you did where you put that in the hands of your directors? Was that something that you and Logan were able to kind of have your hands in to just explain the process for how you went about getting those together?

Or was it just the individual coaches saying  Hey, I could put on today’s workout and. We’re going to do shooting or we’re going to do ball handling or whatever it was.

Brendan Winters: [00:03:32] No, that’s an interesting question because virtual is not easy. Like it is, it’s hard because it’s so much different than an in person workout when you’re in the gym.

I mean, you have hoops and you’re right there. You’re right next to the player and you can show them different things. You can stop them. And it’s just, it’s so different when there’s some screens in between you. So, we kind of, honestly, we got lucky. I [00:04:00] think about a year ago we had hired a young coach named Cristian Barber, who I hadn’t met, over the past couple of years, playing basketball in Charlotte and he’s a trainer. He’s worked with Luke May and some of those kind of like some of the big time North Carolina players so he had that training background, but he also had that like, real bubbly like personality, like just he’s charismatic and he’s loud and he’s energetic. And so we kind of had like a perfect virtual trainer already. We just lucked out. He was running our social media and everything.

but he is now our lead virtual trainer. Cause he he’s just like, I mean, it’s almost like he was born for this position. So. we got really lucky in that. And we just had from day one, we had Christian, lead the Instagram live [00:05:00] workouts and the zoom workouts, and his, like his personality man just comes through the screen.

His energy comes through. He’s very positive and motivational and yeah, and he’s a really good basketball trainer too, but yeah. The hard part about virtual is, I mean, you are really restricted and, and we had to keep in mind, and this is all stuff we had to work through. We had to keep in mind that some kids don’t have baskets.

Some kids, it might be raining where they are, versus a sunny day, somewhere else. It might be cold. It might be hot, you know, There’s a lot of different things. So we had to make all these workouts, kind of evergreen, where anyone could come in no matter where they were, no matter what kind of facility they had access to, they could do these in the house, outside the house, at a park wherever.

and so we kind of just worked through that for the first month or so, and, you know, thankfully we had Christian on board with us.

Mike Klinzing: [00:05:51] Did you get any pushback initially from parents and I guess players, but probably I’m sure more from parents where they’re [00:06:00] saying, Hey, we paid all of our money and we’re supposed to be getting two practices a week and we’re supposed to have all these other things.

We’ll just be playing tournaments. And now instead we’re getting some zoom and Instagram live workouts. How did you guys go about navigating that particular issue?

Brendan Winters: [00:06:15] Yeah, no, I mean, that was really the talk of all the other kind of youth basketball and youth sports operators that I spoke with over the first couple of months is kind of the refund thing.

And some parents were basically like, Hey, if we’re not on the court, we’re just going to be out. But honestly we have some amazing parents in our program and they believe in what we do. And once they. Took part in some of these Instagram live workouts and these zoom workouts. I mean, the kids loved it. And so, once the parents saw that the majority of them kept their kids in the program and, we were able to continue doing that. But then we [00:07:00] also, it took us a few weeks, but because this is what was kind of like an evolution, I guess. And, you know, like I said, we started with the Instagram live. That’s easy. It’s, you know, we’re already having Instagram. It’s, you know, it’s free for everyone. And then we went to zoom and kind of work through that, but we actually ended up doing, Virtual tournaments as well.

We tried a bunch of different ones, but we use zoom for those as well. And we set it up like bracket style and, each bracket had like, you know, their own specific zoom. Meeting, I guess. And then the winners moved on and they had their own kind of zoom meetings, zoom link. And it worked out really, actually amazingly well.

And when I talk about like virtual tournaments, no one understands what, what we’re talking about. And then you guys are probably the same, like how the heck do those work, but like, It was really crazy. Like those worked well too. And we started offering those, we ran a zoom or our virtual tournament with 200 players in it, with like 10 different clubs across the country.

It was really, really [00:08:00] awesome. So we started doing more stuff like that as well, where the kids could compete. And then of course the winners would get prizes and things like that. so, so those are really cool. but so we, we, we started getting a little bit more, more, more or more efficient.

We were figuring out what was working and what do people like, what do they not like? and then we kind of ended up with this thing. We were like, you know what, like Instagram live is great.  Zooms’ great. All that’s great, but like really. to take it to the next level. We, we need like some sort of app and we need like, the workouts it’d be completely led by a trainer and they just follow along with the trainers, not just a trainer saying like, all right, next drill we got is one minute crossovers.

Okay. Go. And then the trainer just kind of doesn’t do anything. And the kid is expects the kids to do what we were thinking. Like more like Peloton, like how you hop on that bike and the trainer. Or the coach does the workout with you, or you open up that app and [00:09:00] you do an outdoor run and that trainer is doing the run with you and that sort of stuff, like a fully guided workout. So that was kind of the next step, but it was definitely an evolution for sure.

Mike Klinzing: [00:09:11] All right. So two questions, one, explain to us what the tournament model is, and then too, after you answered that, we can jump back into, I got some questions about the development of the technology.

Brendan Winters: [00:09:21] Yeah. So with the tournaments, that was interesting. He even went, went when we first started talking about it. I was like, I don’t really understand how they’re going to work, but if you can imagine, so we did a horse tournament. What else did we do? We did our around the world tournament or no, sorry, a hot shot tournament, but we ended up settling on basically just a general shooting tournament was the thing that worked the best and the one limitation on those was that you did need a basket, but all of these kids have had a lot of the kids had a basket at their house, or some of them actually, you know, we’re able to go to a park or [00:10:00] whatever.

And with the young kids, we just free throws. But the older kids, we did 3.3 pointers, and the kids just love it. So imagine like a tournament, a normal team tournament. Who are a bracket setup, team X versus team Y we would do the same and they’re on this court and then a team, A versus team B’s on this court.

It’s the same thing, except we would just take it two kids. Or we would take a group of kids, maybe like three or four, what we call pods and we say, okay, here’s this, this is the first round. Here’s the link to the round. All the kids would get in the zoom. We would have a referee for the court.

And then the kids would just shoot against each other and then the ref would be there to make sure that all the rules were followed and count and I’d actually coach them and encourage them and all that sort of stuff. And simultaneously there would be a few other, meetings, zoom meetings going on at the same time, like 8 courts with refs in there.

And the winners would just advance the next round, [00:11:00] same thing next round, same thing until you end up with w with one winner. so it was a very interesting thing and the kids just loved it. The parents loved the feedback. We got was really, really crazy, just in terms of how much they loved it, but it was just, I think it was just the competition piece, but they also just liked having a coach in there and interacting. And it was cool though. Like maybe the coolest piece was like, we had kids. At one point, we had Canadian kids in there. We had kids in like Washington, New York, Louisiana, Texas. So like they were kids were competing against each other from across the country which was very cool. But yeah. The only issue was, it was pretty, people intensive, like we needed a referee per court and you had to set it up and it was like a normal tournament. It took half a day, it takes a long time or a whole day. So, that was kind of the only downside, but I mean, the kids, like, if you go [00:12:00] far, you end up getting like 300 shots up,  which was another great thing.

So yeah. it was, it was really cool, especially that last turning we in a series, we had 200 kids, 10 clubs participated. I think there was a winner in New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, and like California, I think were like the four winners, which was cool.

Mike Klinzing: [00:12:19] That’s awesome. I mean, again, I think when you have the intersection of sports and technology, when you think about what kids today are excited about, whether it’s.

The sport that they’re playing or it’s the technology. And when you can combine those two in a way that works, which obviously you guys found something here with the tournament model, then you can totally see why kids got hyped up about it and why they weren’t be participating in it and why, why it worked so well again, if you can execute it, which leads to the next question is a tech standpoint.

How did you guys go about putting together all of the we’ll start out just with the tech of the zoom, Instagram. Obviously you had that you’re familiar with it, but just. Me getting all that to [00:13:00] work. And then now you start talking about building an app that obviously raises it a whole nother level in terms of what’s required from a technology standpoint.

So just walk us through. What from a company standpoint you had to do in order to get the technology to match maybe what your vision was?

Brendan Winters: [00:13:14] Yeah, it was just baby steps, but it was also like a group effort. We have a big team, so, you know, we’re lucky enough to have, a bunch of different viewpoints people with, varying levels of experience, depending on, you know, what we’re talking about.

We have some people  that are into like the workout apps or like for instance, my wife uses a workout app, and, and, you know, a couple of our other people, their significant other uses used workout apps. So we were just kinda like, man, like I know that some apps out there that are like, Hey, here’s a workout for you.

Go do it. But there was none that like, you know, frankly, a lot of females use where it’s [00:14:00] like it’s instructor led and then they lead them through the whole thing. And then, with the rise of Peloton, obviously, you know, a lot of males and females both use that and I’ve used it. there was nothing like that where it was like, Hey, do the workout with the actual trainer, like why the screen and interact with them and listen to the music and do it.

So we were trying that, that was kind of the last step. I mean, like I said, we started where everyone started Instagram live. Then we went to zoom where everyone else went and then we’re like, okay, what’s the next step? And that took a little bit more time, to be honest. I mean, we had to do a lot of research.

I kind of got a little small team together and we’re like, all right, this is our project for the next month. So once we found the platform we wanted to use, that would basically, yeah, we’re where we could. Make these training videos, these online training videos, fully guided videos and then upload them and then, put them behind kind of a pay wall.

So just not everyone can get them. And then also have an [00:15:00] app that, where kids could just access them at a touch of a button, basically. Like literally we were like, all right, what does Peloton do? That’s what we want to do for basketball. Once we figured that out. you know, it took about a month, two months of like some really pretty intense work, but we got it done.

And yeah, I have an app called PSP plus that has, it’s probably, he has a hundred workouts on it. It has a bunch of free drills. and we have this kind of team of, five trainers. just kinda like Peloton does as well. And it’s all about just upbeat and positive and all that sort of stuff. But the, the, the interesting thing was kind of like us experimenting in the first month of the Instagram live and the zoom workouts and stuff about like, all right, what works and what doesn’t like, what can you do on these workouts?

Cause some kids are in their living room somewhere outside, like some have more space than others. and basically what it boiled down to us, you could do. A lot of ball handling, which is amazing. you can do [00:16:00] strength and athleticism and stuff. You know, a lot of body weight, upper body, lower body, you know, jumping that sort of stuff.

You could do foot work and you could do form shooting. You couldn’t really do normal shooting. Not everyone has a basket. You can’t do that in your house. so those are kind of the four. I guess skills you could, you could call them, that, that we figured out you could use. And then we just built our workouts around those four things.

Mike Klinzing: [00:16:26] So did you build each one of those separately? So in other words, is there a footwork workout? Is there a strength and athleticism workout or does each workout incorporate a little bit of each one or is it a variance over the course of the a hundred workouts or so that you have both?

Brendan Winters: [00:16:43] So we have, we have workouts that are only ball handling, and then we have workouts, a lot of workouts that are combo workouts, like, Hey, ball handling and upper body.

Or a footwork and lower body or footwork and shooting. and you know, we have stretching workouts [00:17:00] on there. So you can definitely find individual workouts, like just on one skill, but there’s a lot of combo stuff. And the cool thing that we were able to do, like one of the key things, again, like Peloton is like, All right.

You want to go into the app? Like when we go into Peloton, it’s like, all right, how long do you have, or I want to do a 15 minute workout. I want to do a running workout. And I really like this trainer right here. and then it’s like, boom, okay, here are your five options. So we wanted to create an app that was just like that.

We have five trainers. So we have workouts anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes on there. And then, you can go in there and say, okay, I want to work out with Christian. I got 20 minutes and I want ball handling. And then it’ll be like, okay, bang, here’s five workouts you can do with him, or I got 30 minutes I want to do a strength workout. And I really like Meredith. Alright. Here’s four options for you. So, we, we really, really try to model it after Peloton and just, just honestly just use their [00:18:00] playbook.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:00] It’s probably a pretty good model.

Brendan Winters: [00:18:02] Yeah. I mean, we knew we didn’t have to like reinvent the wheel.

We were just kinda like, man, look at what they’re doing. This app is amazing. The workouts are awesome. The trainers are awesome. The music is on. Like, this is what we need. We need this for basketball. The kids would love this, you know, and then we can put our own spin on it and do like a little bit of different stuff.

But, we don’t need to reinvent something, it’s out there.

Mike Klinzing: [00:18:32] Plus the kids didn’t have to buy it. $2,500 bike in order to participate. So that’s always a plus too.

Brendan Winters: [00:18:37] Right, that was a big thing with our stuff.

That’s the other cool thing I think about virtual is like, and I kind of mentioned it before on the tournament stuff is like we had kids from California competing against kids from New York against Canada. So we’re doing virtual summer camps as well, and we haven’t talked about those [00:19:00] yet, but those are just a little bit like an extended version of like the workouts.

It’s like four days a week and all that. But like, what I was gonna say is like the cool thing about virtual that, I think a lot of people get, but like, you don’t get it until it happens, I think is like, you can have kids from anywhere. I mean, the only. I guess hold back is the time zone, like, I mean, a, kid’s not going to work out at like 2:00 AM somewhere, but like, otherwise, like it doesn’t matter if there’s a pro skills  in a city.

We did some camps and we had a kid from Greece, Puerto Rico. Canada, like I said, and we have a kid from Guatemala that is consistently on our live workouts. And so it’s amazing because  when we have  a bunch of people in the Philippines signing up for PSP plus and for the app, and it’s like, it’s really crazy man to, to like, get all these kids together and do this [00:20:00] stuff and like, We’ve never been able to do that before.

So, so it’s really like a borderless way to teach basketball and ending and kind of create a community.

Mike Klinzing: [00:20:09] All right. So I got a couple of questions. One how long? Well, I guess the first question would be, so you’re doing a lot of the workouts live.

Brendan Winters: [00:20:18] Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:20:19] Okay. All right. And so then I assume as you’re doing them live, you’re also filming them so that you have them for later.

Brendan Winters: [00:20:26]

Yeah. And, and that’s how we, that’s how we built up a lot of our library initially. But we’ve slowly kind of like, you know, basically deleted them off there as we’ve built up better workouts is like, we would record the zoom workouts or the Instagram lives and then have them on demand for later in case you missed them.

But as you know, zoom, quality’s not the best, you know, Instagram  live is Okay. But it’s just formatted weird. So, we’ve been able to with this new app is,  we can do live workouts and like it’s really good video quality. And we actually [00:21:00] bought, rights for music and stuff. So we can have Drake on there and some of these other artists that the kids are into.

and so, so we can be like, we’ve really been able to create some really. I mean, it’s really a lot like Peloton in that, you can choose to come to the live workouts, but if you miss them, they’re going to be on demand later anyway. So it’s no big deal, but then we also film, just strictly on demand stuff.

That’s just going to be there for you when, whenever you’re ready to do it.

Mike Klinzing: [00:21:31] What is the production looked like for both a live or a video that you’re. Filming a workout that you’re filming, like, what does the crew look like? You have camera person, the trainer. Is there anybody else there or just, what is the setup?

What does it look like as you’re putting all this together.

Brendan Winters: [00:21:47] Yeah. Yeah. I know. I ideally you said that’s what it will look like, but you’re giving us too much credit right now. Like you were just like everyone else. Like when, when the virus first kinda [00:22:00] hit, I mean, we had to figure it out.

Like Cristian was filming them, just setting up his camera in his apartment and doing it in his living room and then he’d do it outside. And so it was him by himself setting up his camera. and thank God, like, you know, iPhone cameras are really good nowadays phone cameras and iPads are really high quality nowadays.

We havetripods and things, but it’s not like a crew of people showing up to his house and doing it. It’s a credit to Christian , he’s been really, really good at it. And there was some technical things we had to figure out, especially when we launched the app, but I’m like how to get the music playing with the video. And it’s not as simple as like, Hey, just set up a speaker. Like that’s how we first start. But now, now it’s kind of connected in and all that. But, once we’re able to get out a little bit more, you know, like quarantine  has restricted our ability [00:23:00] to, but like, that’s probably good because now we’re not spending crazy time, energy, money on something that doesn’t work. Instead, we had to figure it out like, Oh, this is actually working, you know, kind of minimum viable product sort of thing. And now we’re able to invest a little bit more money. One once would come out of court. The idea is like, Hey, let’s create a kind of a studio space.

Let’s get a better camera. Let’s get the sound right. You know, let’s spend a little money to make these a better, but they’re pretty good. So, most of them now are at our office and Christian goes in there and, and films them in the office. It’s a little bit harder now that there’s, we don’t have anyone in the office, but some other of the businesses do and so dribbling a basketball is not their favorite thing, but, we’ve, we’ve been able to work around that.

Mike Klinzing: [00:23:49] That’s cool. I can see where now, as you look forward that this could end up being a pretty big piece of what. [00:24:00] Pro skills ends up doing, being clearly, you’re going to want to get back on the court and that’s always going to be your bread and butter, but I’m guessing that based on the success you’ve had with this thing, that it’s maybe going to be a bigger piece of what you envision moving forward, then you probably thought when you,

Brendan Winters: [00:24:16] yeah,  and that’s, I think the main point is, when we first started this, like the virtual stuff, it was really just we need to find something to keep the kids active. If you know, doing this would be better than them doing nothing. They’re sitting at home, so let’s do it. So we started doing it and then we were like, and then once we started doing it, we were like, A Christian.Wow. He’s really good at this. And B the kids just love it. Like they’re in the chat and like, they are loving it and, but we’re like, okay, cool. So let’s, let’s keep going with it. Let’s build on it a little. And then, yeah, after I think it was two months or however long, it was two or three months.

It was time to like at [00:25:00] least kind of phase in a reopening. And we came up with a good return to play plan. We worked with some medical experts in the first part was like, okay, Optional outdoor small group training. And these kids started coming back and you could tell the ones that hadn’t done anything.

And then you could tell the ones that were like, Whoa, like this kid was not that good three months ago. And now he handles it. And like, his footwork is really good. And so our coaches and directors started asking them like, Hey, like what’s going on? Like, what were you doing in the last few months? And like, some of these kids were like, I was just doing your virtual stuff every single day.

Like every workout, like I was doing it on PSP plus. And so we were like, wow, like this is crazy. These kids have come back way better, especially on the ball handling and the foot work front, like they have gotten leaks sounds better. And so we were like, well, what’s going on there? Why is that?

We didn’t really understand it. You know, we were like, that’s okay. [00:26:00] Amazing. But like, why is that? And so what we ended up kind of like. Our theory is that, you know, think about when you have, when you’re coaching a team, especially young kids and you have a full court, like a lot of times having a three point line having a full court, it screws up kids.

Like they go too fast. They shoot from too far away, you know, they’re out of control the bad fundamentals, but like when you restrict what, when you really want to teach them, like, you know, you take a group of fourth graders and they can’t shoot off the correct foot with the correct hand on layups. You slow them down, you say, okay, start, you know, a couple feet away from the basket.

Just start with taking one step and up. Then you go, okay, take two steps up now. Okay. Dribble. And then two steps up. You slow it down. You restrict it the space. And that’s exactly like what virtual does, because like in, in your living room you have maybe, I don’t know, five foot radius around you that you could use.

Ideally, you have a ceiling above you. You’ve got [00:27:00] furniture. It’s like, so you can do ball handling, you can do footwork, you can do strength, athleticism, and you can do form shooting, but all within this confined space and you have to do it a lot of times slower than maybe you normally would, and you can’t get out of control all that much because you can’t move.

Even if you’re in your driveway, you’re in your garage or your driveway, you still got to watch the camera. So it’s not like you can just like. That’s why we don’t really do many shooting workouts because it’s really hard to like have kids, okay. Now go do whatever shooting, drill.

And then, then they’re gone for like two or three minutes. The ball is going all over the place and then they come back to the camera. And so it’s like, it’s all these things. That’s like when you boil it down, it just restricts them to the most basic, basic fundamentals of basketball, which is like essentially stationary ball handling and footwork where you can only take kind of one or two steps. We do a lot of like pump fake jabs stuff, jab and cross. We’re able to [00:28:00] do a little bit of like, alright, jab step, go step back. But you can’t shoot it. Right. So you just like, you’re just working on your balance really and then form shooting, of course, and then the strength stuff has been great too, because a lot of times, like young kids they’re so weak. They don’t know how to squat properly, or they don’t know how to lunch properly and those are like the most basic movements in basketball. You need to be able to squat, you need to be able to lunge. And then, you know, Hey, we’re going to do a lot of pushups.

And so that’s going to get your upper body a little bit stronger. We’re going to do burpees. Burpees are great for staying in shape, or we’re going to do like squat jumps, which will help your vertical. So it’s like, by restricting these kids. They actually got way, way, way more fundamentally sound than they would have if they had spent those, those like two or three months, like with a full court, with a basket or two, with a three point line, all that sort of stuff.

And so that’s kind of the conclusion we came [00:29:00] to. And once we realized that we were like, Oh man. Like we got to build this thing out and we got to push it and we got to get kids doing it because we had these kids come back that couldn’t handle the ball before. And now they’re point guards, it’s crazy.

Mike Klinzing: [00:29:14] I think it’s really cool that you guys were able to do it in such a way that you’re inspiring the kids to get out and do something. And I think when I was listening to you talk, what struck me was the fact that. I guess I look at it and say what that virtual training did is it forced the kids to not only restrict their space, but also just be focused on the workout for the time that they were in front of the iPad or in front of the phone.

So whether that’s 15 minutes or that’s 60 minutes, those minutes are spent. Focused in on what they’re supposed to do. Whereas if a kid just says, absolutely go out to shoot around or an hour will the value of not that there’s no value in shooting around for an [00:30:00] hour, but there’s a lot more value in 20 minutes of focused energy on a particular skill or multiple particular skills.

And I think that’s where you really are going to see. That growth compared to just the kid who was, again, just kind of out on the driveway, Lezley thrown up some jump shots for an hour. The kid who’s focused, even if it’s for a lot less time, it’s just like everything. The more efficient you are with your time, the better results you’re going to get.

And I think that the app based on what you just said and just me envisioning what it would look like with kids, I just think the ability to get them to focus on something for that short period of time and have the intensity behind. To me, that’s where the results translate. As opposed to, again, the kid who’s just kinda lazy going through the motions of shooting around.

Brendan Winters: [00:30:44] Yeah, man. I mean, that’s a great point. Like 15 minutes of good, hard focused work is better than an hour of kind of like what you said, like, Hey, just go shoot around just Jack it up. No, like no focus, no, none of that. And so like, [00:31:00] that’s, that was an interesting discovery. When I was growing up, I was like, I got to put in an hour, I got to do two hours, you know?

And, and, and nowadays, you know, the, the kids, their attention span, I think is a little bit less, just do it, social media and things outside their control. but it’s also kinda cool, like. Like the, you would be, I don’t know about surprise, but like that’s one thing kind of discover we figured out was like we said, we were doing 60 minute zoom workouts and like, these kids were dying by the end of it.

They were so tired, but they loved it. But like, so when, when we look at the analytics of the app, What they really like, they love the 15 minute workouts, the 20 minute workouts. And like, max is like 30 minutes is like that, but they don’t really go above that, but they really love those 15 minute, 20 minutes.

And then they’re like, sometimes they’ll stack them to, you know, do two 15 minute workouts in a row, which is a cool [00:32:00] thing. So, yeah, man, it’s much more about the quality than the quantity, I think.

Mike Klinzing: [00:32:06] All right. So as we think about moving forward. Obviously you’re going to continue to build this thing out and grow it.

And as you said earlier, it gives you an exponential reach. Whereas before you were limited to wherever your physical locations were, those are the kids that you can, can interact with an impact. And now with the, and the virtual training, it’s limitless where you can go. You mentioned Guatemala, the Philippines, a bunch of different States.

So clearly you’re touching players and families that. You weren’t able to reach before. So talk a little bit, maybe about from a marketing standpoint. What the plan is of how you’re going to get build awareness of the app. So you can get it to more kids and help our kids get better, which ultimately is what it’s all about.

Brendan Winters: [00:32:50] Yeah. I mean, I mean, first of all, we discovered from day one with would just Pro Skills. Like the best marketing is just word of mouth. So just put out a good product.  [00:33:00] the kids and, and people will talk about it. So that’s number one is like, that’s the one thing we’re trying to do. And I think we’ve done a good job with that.

So far, a lot of people are talking about it. but, but yeah, then, I mean, of course we’re doing the social media stuff. We’re doing some targeted ads and things and especially in the U S and Canada, but Australia, Philippines, and, we would like to do China and I have some Chinese connections over there.

I think it’d be great in China just because it restricts the space it’s for indoor workouts or it’s for outdoor workouts, but you know where you don’t need a whole court. which is, you know, in, in China was so many people and so little space, everyone has an apartment, but they love basketball.

Something like that could be a good thing. So, so I’ve hit up a lot of our overseas contacts and people we know from playing and things like that and just showed it to them, and a lot of them have really liked it. So, we’re beating the bushes a little bit right now.

We know it’s going to be a long process, [00:34:00] but, the cool thing I think is at the very least, like this is going to be part of the Pro Skills team membership. When it, when, when we get back to normal, Hopefully 2021. We’re back to normal. We make teams. You get two practices a week.

You get a couple of tournaments a month, you get summer camps, but you also get this app. You also get PSB plus. So when you’re at home, you can do this on your own, but also the coaches can assign homework before next practice. I want you to do this 15 minutes. Two ball dribbling workout, or I want you to do this 20 minute footwork and form shooting.

You know, whatever it is, a coach, they’re gonna be able to assign some homework. It’s going to be real quick, but if kids do that for a whole year, they’re going to get a whole lot better. So. regardless of what it does outside of kind of Pro Skills  it’s going to be a value add to our players where we are.

So it’s really, for us, it’s kind of a no lose thing, but I do think that a lot, well, we’re already seeing it. A lot of people outside of Pro Skills [00:35:00] really like it already.

Mike Klinzing: [00:35:01] Absolutely. I think that was going to be my next question was how did you see it? Being incorporated into what you do already from a physical standpoint, in terms of, with the people that you’re interacting with that are part of your teams that have been part of pro skills in the past.

And when you’re doing your in person stuff, clearly the virtual is going to add to it and just give you some options of more ways that you can interact with those kids. So then my next question, really, I don’t know if it’s necessarily even, I don’t know if, I don’t know if I’d phrase it as a question, but just explain for people your model at Pro Kkills is one of the things that you and I have talked about. And just in terms of AAU basketball, I think you guys are unique in what you do, because it’s not just sign up for a two or three months season. You have sort of a year round plan. So maybe people who aren’t as familiar with pro skills, just give them an idea of.

What you offer when somebody signs up for your program, just let them know, let people know what they get as a result of that.

[00:36:00] Brendan Winters: [00:35:59] Yeah. Well, one of the things, I mean, when we first got into quote, unquote, AAU is we’re like, you know what? We don’t want to be one of those clubs where, you know, kids come in for two or three months and then they’re gone, you know, and we don’t see them the rest of the year.

We wanted something where it was like, man, we want to impact these kids. We want to teach them, You know, on the court and also, you know, life lessons off and then really, truly impact them. So we just kind of felt like the only way we could do that was to have them longer than, than two or three months.

So basically when you sign up with, with pro skills, when a player comes to play for us, like they’re essentially signing up for the whole year and. It doesn’t mean where like a quote unquote year round program, like some of these soccer clubs, it’s like, that’s all you can do for the entire year is only soccer.

It’s not that it just means that we have something for you. anytime of the year, pretty much, like we have. You know, a few team stuff pretty heavy in the spring times. It’s, it’s more relaxed. We have summer camps [00:37:00] in the fall. We have group workouts, and you know, some fall leagues and things like that.

Winter, you know, it’s very much reduced workouts and, We have some other things here and there, but, you get a little bit of everything with us from kind of skill based training to clinics, to camps, to the actual team practices and the games and all that sort of stuff. So this fits right in with what we’re doing there, where it’s like.

Yeah, Hey, come to two team practices week, but then go home and do one or two PSB plus workouts from home. So it’s not, it’s not necessarily replacing, you know, anything. I mean, if anything, you can maybe look at it as potentially it can replace a private trainer, you know, you pay 80 bucks for a private trainer.

Well, I mean, you can get PSB plus for 20 bucks a month, right. And that’s unlimited workouts, so it could potentially replace a private trainer, but, at the very least it makes it a lot cheaper, but it, it’s, it’s more of like a supplement, as a way to get better at home. Hey, you got 15 minutes to spare right [00:38:00] now, I bust out a workout and then go on about your day real quick. And if you do enough of that, That will add up over the course of a year and you will get a lot better. And

Mike Klinzing: [00:38:10] I think the one thing that is to me makes the most sense about all this is there’s clearly, as we look into the future, there’s clearly going to be even more of a direct connection shouldn’t between sports and technology and the measurement of what kids are doing, what athletes are doing.

And because the kids that we’re coaching today are all kids who have grown up with. A phone in their hand with a computer screen in front of them. None of this even seems remotely strange to them where it might seem strange to somebody like you or I, who didn’t grow up with the same level of technology in our youth.

And so when I think about this and I think about where sports is headed, I think about the marriage, the integration of the [00:39:00] actual on-court sports with. The technology. And when you start talking about putting workouts together where the kid can have their screen and they can have their workout. To me, that’s a winning combination.

I think the people who figure that out are going to end up being really, really successful because to me, that trend is only going to accelerate. We’re not going backwards where. Technology’s not going to be involved. Technology is going to continue to be an important part of every single phase of our life, let alone sports.

And it’s just going to continue to go in that direction. So I think that by you guys kind of, again, this thing, probably not just for you, but for businesses all over the world, this COVID-19 situation has, jump-started a lot of people in a direction of, Hey, we got to get used to this new normal for who knows how long, and hopefully it’s not going to be.

Forever, but hopefully at some point were to come out of this and be able to be back on the basketball court and have some normal interactions. But for the time being, it forced everybody to adapt [00:40:00] and adjust and come up with ideas. And I think the idea of putting together a technology and training. With kids, to me, it’s a no brainer.

I think that’s a great idea. And it sounds like you guys have had a, have the ability to execute it well, and then B, you’re going to just continue to have it grow and do the things that you need it to do in order to help kids get better, which ultimately is what you guys are trying to accomplish.

Brendan Winters: [00:40:22] Yeah. You know, I’ve heard people refer to kind of this COVID. Past few months, but this COVID time period is the great accelerator that, that is just accelerated things already going to happen eventually. And it, you know, it might’ve been things that were going to happen in two months or two years or 10 years, but either way, the way it’s accelerated at whether it’s kind of like, or from home and, you know, using technology there or, like tech and sports, whatever.

We’ll see what else happening with like the schools and colleges and things like that, but it’s just accelerated so many things. And to your point, [00:41:00] I do think it is, it’s definitely accelerated, just the use of tech in general, but also like the use of tech and virtual in sports. I mean, like for instance, home court was around before COVID-19, you know, they, they got lucky might be a the wrong word here. Cause it’s not like you don’t want anyone to be lucky from COVID, but it was right place, right time where they had, they have a great app. and so their usage is like just went through the roof. so again, it’s not like we invented something brand new, but we’re different than home court in that like, you know, we’re providing a guided, Workout for a full workout with somewhat like a trainer to watch and imitate and, kind of interact with.

And, and again, we took it from Peloton and I agree, like we need to meet the kids where they’re at. I think for the first. Year or two, I started doing this, you know, some of the things would [00:42:00] frustrate me with the kids and, it took me a couple of years to realize like, you know what, like you just got to accept some of this stuff.

I was the same way back when I was a kid. And I frustrated my coaches and my dad because of that’s just the way we were. That’s just what my generation did or was used to. And it’s the same way now. And, you know, I think that the sooner adults, or, or older folks like me, you and. Others embrace that, that.

Kids want their phones and want to use technology and are comfortable using technology. I think the sooner we embrace that, the better it will be, and that’s a small frustration on our part right now is that the parents, some of the parents aren’t letting their kids do this virtual stuff because they are frustrated with virtual and they don’t want virtual.

And they’re not used to it where the kids sitting there like. He would he, or she would love virtual. Yeah. The basketball stuff, but it’s just that the parent doesn’t want to do it. So, they kind of are like a [00:43:00] roadblock to the kids. So, you know, that’s a small frustration, but I think as this thing kind of plays out, parents are really just going to have to.

Get used to it and get and become okay with it because it’s, it’s essentially going to be a choice. I mean, we’ve seen it already. Like some of these kids, I didn’t do anything and I’m talking about high school kids, even like, I didn’t do anything. Like they came back and they were throwing up and their first workout and it wasn’t even that hard.

They didn’t do anything. And then some kids came back and were really good. And, so, you know, it’s kind of either embraced the virtual and embrace some of this change or, or get left behind. So it’s going to, eventually, it’s going to be, it’s going to be a choice. And I think some parents are still kind of hoping it’s, Oh, it’s only going to be another couple of weeks or another month, but I mean, this thing might play out for another six months, another year, another two years.

I mean, we don’t know. Hopefully not, but regardless I do think virtual is here to stay and yeah. After we’ve seen the benefits of virtual, we are certainly [00:44:00] going to keep using it, once we get back onto the court and a full time capacity.

Mike Klinzing: [00:44:05] Well, and I also think that you guys have struck a balance too.

I know you mentioned earlier talking about, well, I want to do my workout with this particular trainer. So you also have that human interaction too. So it’s not just interacting with the app that’s in front of you. And just looking at the screen. There’s also a human being behind there that you. Could be attracted to that person’s personality or the way they train or just their particular enthusiasm.

And I think that is another piece of it that when you talk about what makes it attractive to a kid, they’re like, Hey, I like this guy’s personality. I like this girl’s personality. And therefore, that’s how I want to do my training with. And we all know whether it’s YouTube celebrities or people that they’re following on Instagram or whatever it might be that those personalities.

Draw kids in. And so if you have the right personalities to combine with the right technology, then you’ve got something. It sounds like you guys are headed in the right direction with this whole thing. For sure.

Brendan Winters: [00:44:59] Yeah, [00:45:00] absolutely. And we, you know, one thing that surprised us or how much the kids love to use the chat functionality.

And just kind of like interact with each other just through like text. you know, that’s been really, really interesting, but it’s just, they’re so used to it, right? Like they just, they text every day or they private message and Instagram or wherever it might, you know, whatever it might be, Snapchat, whatever.

They’re just so used to it, that’s how they communicate and so like having that capability and stuff and just different things like that. Again, just, you know, meeting the kids where they’re at, yeah, it’s been a great thing.

Mike Klinzing: [00:45:38] And once they get us old people out of the way they can go ahead and do their training, do what they do, do what they do, what they need to do.

Just keep providing them with tools.

Brendan Winters: [00:45:45] Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Klinzing: [00:45:47] Before we get out, I want to give you a chance to plug the things that you’re doing. Tell people where they can find out more about you guys at Pro Skills, basketball about you, about the app. Give us all that information. If [00:46:00] there’s anything else that we didn’t touch on that you want to share for other people, maybe, even just a tip for other trainers or basketball businesses that are out there. Maybe just something that you guys that helped you guys get through this time and is continuing to help you get through this time.

Brendan Winters: [00:46:15] Yeah, I just first want to say virtual really does work.

Like whether it’s with us or with someone else who hopefully is doing it well, like if they’re doing it well, it does work. I have a buddy who runs a large organization in California and he’s saying the same stuff. He’s like, my kids are getting so skilled and so fundamentally sound so virtual does work.

So, you know, high school coaches and, and our middle school coaches or parents out there who are listing, give it a shot. You really don’t have anything to lose. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. And like one thing we’ve been doing is virtual summer [00:47:00] camp every single week.

I think we’re in our fifth or sixth one. Now we have 50 kids this week, from all around the country. And from the start we’d been saying, Hey, if your kid doesn’t have fun, We will give you a hundred percent money back guarantee. No questions asked. And I was thinking like, okay, there’s going to be four or five for camp that don’t have fun for whatever reason.

And we’ll give them their money back. No big deal. We have had zero asked for their money back, which kind of blows my mind as well considering we’ve had a bunch of camps already and they’ve all had 50 plus kids. So, the kids love it. So we offer virtual summer camps. You can just go to our website, proskillsbasketball.com.

And then, like I said, PSB plus you can go to the iPhone app store or the Android app store. If you’re on a, if you have an Android phone, and just type in PSB plus, and it should come up. And you’ll be able to check out and we offer a 14 day free trial. So if you don’t like it, you can cancel. But, we really think everyone [00:48:00] will, we’ve been having great results with this.

So those are the two main things we’re doing right now is virtual summer camps and PSB Plus, one thing I didn’t touch on, actually my mistake, another virtual thing we’re doing. we did a virtual showcase for high school kids. We did a high academic virtual showcase or class. So 20-21 boys.

Yeah. And we had 30 plus the three college coaches on there. We even had Dartmouth on there. Dijuan and then we had 30 plus a class of 20, 21 kids with 3.3 GPA or above all the coaches got a packet with the kids information and Christian led them through a workout and intense workout and it was great.

Like we got really positive feedback from the coaches and the players. So we’re actually doing two more of those in the next two weeks. One of them’s going to be with Paul Biancardi, your buddy. Right boys. And then we’re going to do some, yeah, we’re doing a girls one too, which we’re excited about.

No one’s going to get a scholarship offer off this, but like we’ve had a bunch of kids get, start to get, [00:49:00] recruited from new schools from it. So the college coaches love it. The players loved it. So we’re going to do a couple more in two weeks or so that’ll be for the older kids, but, yeah, we’re doing a bunch and, it’s really fun and it’s working.

and, yeah, so just check us out proskillsbasketball.com or find us on social media.

Mike Klinzing: [00:49:19] That’s good stuff, Brian. And I appreciate you coming on and sharing all the unique and interesting things that you’ve been doing during this time, because I think what anybody who’s listening tonight got a chance to hear was just how innovative you guys have been.

And I know that that was the case before we got into this situation, just in the way that you had organized your organization and the things that we were doing within the basketball framework. And then now you get into this COVID situation where. Necessity is the mother invention and you got to figure out, Hey, what can we do to continue to add value, to continue to keep our business going and how can we innovate to make it even better?

And I think based on what we’ve heard tonight, [00:50:00] that’s what you’ve been able to do. And I think that’s exciting moving forward. When you think about the youth basketball space, obviously there’s a lot of people out there that are in that space from a business standpoint, and we know that there’s a lot of competition and I think what you guys are doing.

Sets you apart. And I think your mission of just being there to be able to help kids get better and improve and to try to provide the best possible experience that you can for the kid. I think when you’re player centered, And family centered, you’re going to end up with a better experience. And we all know that unfortunately, not everybody out there is.

And when you see people that are doing it right, that’s who we’re looking to support here at the hoop heads pod. And we appreciate you being willing to come on and share the great things that you guys are doing down there at pro skills.

Brendan Winters: [00:50:46] Absolutely. Well, Hey, likewise, we appreciate you guys. You guys have one of the best basketball pods out there, man. So keep up the good work. You’re helping a lot of people

Mike Klinzing: [00:50:59] We’re [00:51:00] trying that’s for sure. So, Brenda, we can’t thank you enough for spending about an hour with us this evening and to everyone out there. Thanks for listening.

And we will catch you on our next episode.

Thanks.

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