The Inside Scoop on The 10 Academy’s Rapid Rise

The 10 Academy may be young, but Sam Haynes’ per­son­al touch has cre­at­ed an insa­tiable thirst among California players.

The Inside Scoop on The 10 Academy’s Rapid Rise

The 10 Academy may be young, but Sam Haynes’ per­son­al touch has cre­at­ed an insa­tiable thirst among California players.

The con­cept that play­ers have dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles isn’t exact­ly a nov­el one. Coaches and train­ers under­stand this real­i­ty, but most don’t make the effort to tru­ly address it.

Sam Haynes does, and that’s why he’s the 2018 Innovator of the Year.

As the man­ag­ing direc­tor of The 10 Academy, Haynes embraces each player’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty. Before train­ing starts, he sits down with every ath­lete and their fam­i­ly to under­stand their back­ground, moti­va­tions, per­son­al­i­ty and aspi­ra­tions. He then crafts a work­out rou­tine tai­lored specif­i­cal­ly to that player’s strengths.

Word of Haynes’ inno­va­tion has spread quick­ly. Started in ear­ly 2017, The 10 Academy is already work­ing with more than 100 play­ers, includ­ing some of California’s bright­est young stars.

The rela­tion­ships I’ve built with some of these play­ers goes beyond being a soc­cer coach,” Haynes said. I feel like I’m more of a men­tor, more like an old­er broth­er or some­body that can answer the, Hey, I need help with this.’ I go to din­ner with their fam­i­lies and hang out with them.”

Every sin­gle play­er learns dif­fer­ent­ly, and if I don’t ful­ly under­stand the play­er, I’m not going to be able to get my point across and give them what they need.”

As a play­er, Haynes encoun­tered a num­ber of lead­er­ship styles under coach­es from Columbia, England, Portugal and the United States. He had rough inter­ac­tions with some of them, which imprint­ed the impor­tance of the coach-play­er relationship.

That insight is what dri­ves The 10 Academy, which sole­ly con­ducts one-on-one ses­sions with play­ers. New trainees start in an intro­duc­to­ry meet­ing with a tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment train­er to plan out their spe­cif­ic pro­gram. Those pro­grams work on thought process­es in par­tic­u­lar areas of the field, break­ing down sit­u­a­tions to help each ath­lete under­stand how to make com­plex deci­sions. The pro­gram also stress­es off-field com­mu­ni­ca­tion to devel­op play­ers’ intel­lec­tu­al sides. The 10 Academy’s main focus is tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment, and Haynes believes the pro­gram can improve play­ers through demon­stra­tions and repetition.

Haynes acknowl­edges he’s like­ly leav­ing mon­ey on the table by not intro­duc­ing group prac­tices, a tac­tic he’s con­sid­er­ing for the future. But for now, the indi­vid­ual rela­tion­ship is the top pri­or­i­ty. That atti­tude has some of the West Coast’s best ath­letes clam­or­ing for his service.

I prob­a­bly will expand in the future because there’s such huge demand,” Haynes said. I’ve scaled my offer­ing because I’m try­ing to keep it as play­er-cen­tric as pos­si­ble for now. For the last 18 months, I’ve been doing indi­vid­ual train­ing only. That real­ly shows all I care about is devel­op­ment. I could earn a lot more mon­ey with mul­ti­ple play­ers at one time.”

Once play­ers start­ed catch­ing wind of The 10 Academy’s unique train­ing, word spread like wild­fire. Word of mouth and tes­ti­mo­ni­als were crit­i­cal, but Haynes’ social media activ­i­ty helped boost the busi­ness. Despite its youth, The 10 Academy has more than 60,000 fol­low­ers on Instagram.

Learn more about Haynes and his fel­low final­ists, then start think­ing about how you and your soc­cer club can evolve to com­pete for next year’s prize.