For many people who grew up playing basketball, it is hard to get away from the sport they love. Some actually grow up to be in the NBA or cover the sport like us here at Dime, but some find more creative ways to stay in the business. For Brandon Payne, the way he stayed connected to basketball was by founding his own training company, Accelerate Basketball, in Charlotte. I caught up with Brandon to talk about how he got started, his clients, and his goals for the future.
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Dime: How did you get into basketball training?
Brandon Payne: Growing up I always played basketball, and my father was a coach so I was always around the gym and I knew that when I got older all I wanted to do was coach. I got into college basketball coaching actually at a very young age while I was still in college. I was at Wingate University on the staff there and was having a great time with it. But I always had an idea of how to develop players more consistently because at the college level you don’t get the players year round. You get them for skill development in the fall and in the spring and of course all season, but you don’t really get a chance to fully develop players.
So I got away from college basketball and started working out players individually in the early 2000’s, and had a small company that did that as well as some general training with group clients. The whole time though I had this question of how do you combine strength, speed, agility, and skill work in to one efficient workout. So that’s how I came up with the concept of starting Accelerate, but it took me some time to put the money together and the company together. Two years ago it was time to pull the trigger and get this thing started and we’ve been growing and building ever since.
Dime: Talk about your location being in Charlotte.
BP: We are based in Charlotte and right now all of our training is in house, but we are working on online training models for not only players but coaches as well with drills, concepts, plays, and that type of stuff. We are trying to make our site a destination for players and coaches across the country.
Dime: Do you have relationships with programs in the Charlotte area like Davidson or other area programs?
BP: Not necessarily relationships. We have their players come in and workout with us but we don’t have any formal relationships with the universities themselves other than the fact that I know some of the area coaches and they know their players are down here working out. We don’t have any preferred arrangement or anything like that.
Dime: During the lockout, do you guys plan to aggressively target NBA players in the Charlotte area for training?
BP: We have been doing that already. We’ve been working with some Bobcats players and we’ve been contacted by more players who want to work out with us in the next few weeks. The funny thing about NBA players is a lot of them are coming off injury because when you play an 82-game schedule it takes quite a toll on the body. We actually have a relationship with one of the best sports physical therapists in the region and so we have worked together on some players like Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas. We’ve been working with them in conjunction with Architect Sports who works on their injuries and rehab and then they come here to Accelerate to work on their skills and training.
We are also talking to about five more players who plan on getting started here this month, so we think our NBA numbers will be much higher very soon.
Dime: Is a lot of your business based on word of mouth referrals where you have guys you train and then they refer other guys and it grows that way?
BP: That’s how we started the company because when you have a facility like this and spend a lot of money on the equipment we have that our players need to use, we didn’t have a lot of money left over for print advertising or anything like that. So you have to do a good enough job with your players where they go back and tell other players about us, and that is how we have built our business thus far.
It started out with Seth Curry now at Duke, and he referred us to some guys at South Carolina and Clemson and all of a sudden we are down there working out their players, and it just grew from there to where we are today which is a really good place.
Dime: Talk about your relationship with Jay Bilas.
BP: Jay has been great. His son has been training here for about a year and a half, almost two years, and at first Jay didn’t come around much. He wanted to let his son do his own thing. Eventually, he started coming in to watch, and we showed him the type of stuff we do here, and he became more and more interested in what we do. Over time he has become more and more involved with us because he likes what we are doing and thinks the players get a lot out of the work they do here.
He actually just turned over the skill development portion of his Skills Camp in Charlotte to us as well as speed and agility stuff. We actually have a video on our website with some of the things he had to say about us and showing some of the stuff we did at his camp, and hopefully that will lead to a lot more growth, but Jay has been a tremendous help to us.
For more info, visit AccelerateBasketball.com
What do you think? What training facility would you go to if you could?
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