Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buyer Beware


"But why do they put a guarantee on the box?
Tommy: Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will."  - from the motion picture Tommy Boy.

  I feel the exact same way about certain certifications and coaches who lie on their credentials and resumes.  A  recent situation is leading me to respond to the actions of a certain individual whose name is John Marion. The owner of a local athletic club that has an indoor basketball court told me that they caught John sneaking himself as well as the young athletes that he coaches through the back door of the building. John who isn't even a member, never was a member and wasn't even paying a guest pass to enter even had the nerve to take cones to block off the court to the general members. There is a general fee to rent the floor and reserve the space for situations like this.  This man is ripping people off and due to the nature of the position is misrepresenting who he is to the parents of his young athletes.  He is pawning himself off to be a basketball coach for young kids who claims to have coached Kevin Durant of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder and was an NBA scout for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Which is not the case.  He worked at a basketball camp once that Durant participated in as young teenager and he watched a Grizzlies practice once.  That's a huge difference.  The parents need to be pro-active when these situations come up. They need to ask questions, they need people like me to write this entry so they have the truth. No legit adult will sneak into local community facilities and sneak kids in the back door and charge their parents $60 an hour to have them dribble around with no structure for an hour.  We need to look past the paper and never let anyone be a self proclaimed expert and rip you off.
(If you see this man call the police, he's stealing from children and their family.)

  That was not an over exaggeration by any means and neither is this.  Many certifications people base their existence on may not be what they seem.  Education is extremely important and there are very useful and fulfilling certifications out there, but very few of them are.  Look deep into the personal experience of the person you're trusting with your child or athlete to be trained by.  Anyone he names to take credit of working under or with, please don't hesitate to ask if they can confirm that and ask for contact information.  The sad thing is way too many trainers, strength coaches and sport coaches are squeaking by unchecked and it has to stop.  Put them through an interview, not the other way around.  High price tags better come with insured facilities that are accessible with your schedule.  There better be planning that extends from just the time spent together.  There must be education going on along with the workouts, practices, etc.  There must be a lot more to the individual than what degree they have or what certification they have.  If they are legit, they will be able to not only hold a meaningful conversation and assessment of the athlete but also be able to provide personal accomplishments with references.  Never take anyone's word for anything, make them prove it.  That's not just with training, that's life.  Don't trust anyone.  Especially when someone has the responsibility of preparing your son and/or daughter for their respective sport(s). Think of this as a peer reviewed medical journal and Mr. Marion has just received an F-. Give yourself this checklist to ensure you and your children are safe.

1. Always have a thorough conversation with anyone who is representing them self as a coach of any kind.  Use your gut, if something doesn't sound right it probably isn't.
2. Do your research.  If the person is providing a very impressive list of names and associates on paper, do some homework and make sure these people and places exist.
3. You are the boss.  Treat it as if you are the manager for a large company and you are hiring someone.  Follow up with the story, verify names and past relationships.  Get the people that are listed as associates and colleagues to verify the information cited.
4. If you are having an impossible time finding out any information on the person, can't get anyone to validate work experience, and have flat out been told no I that information that person listed is not true; break ties immediately.  If someone is claiming to have worked with NBA players and NBA organizations, trust me, you'll be able to find his name attached to some credible literature somewhere.
5. If the people are asking you to meet at random facilities at odd times, please take it upon yourself to go over to the staff and make sure you are welcome to use the facilities.  Being illegally escorted into a place even by another adult still leaves you responsible for any action taken against you by the facility which may include local, state and even federal laws.

Protect yourself at all times.  This is an investment of your time and money, treat it as such and I wish you great success.  



  1. This is pretty awesome. What a scumbag, there needs to be more outlets just like this so people like that can come up on a search and they can't hide. Keep up the great work!

  2. Thanks, that's the whole purpose of this blog. You won't be disappointed.