IMG Academy is changing the way we consider education in America, training athletes in the classroom and the field at a highly concentrated level. This weeks guest explains how schools like IMG Academy are on the rise.
Hi, everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…
For centuries European soccer academies have scouted and hand selected youth players to come to their facility and begin training at an elevated level. This isn’t dad’s coaching their sons and daughters through weekend youth leagues, this is the big time, where unique skill sets are identified and honed at just 7- and 8 years old.
These programs aren’t a lottery ticket, where success and patient development is guaranteed, quite the opposite. Players come in every year and if they don’t make the proper advancements, show the right mental toughness, or provide a strong enough glimpse of their athletic ceiling, they are bounced from the program without fanfare.
The youth academy of the famed Dutch club Ajax is aptly called De Togkst which means – The Future.
The Ajax youth academy is not a boarding school, their players all live within a 35-mile radius of Amsterdam and the academy sends out buses to pick up the youth players halfway through their school day and then tutors them for half the day in academics before hitting the training pitch.
Other youth academies in Europe, like IFX Valencia International Soccer Academy in Spain, are boarding schools, a full-time commitment to the players athletic and academic development.
This concept of youth identification and then a deep focus on building the athlete within is common in Europe but relatively new in America.
IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida is the most successful brand of youth athletic and academic development in the United States. Operating camps and boarding school programs in Football, Tennis, Soccer, Baseball, Basketball, Golf, Lacrosse and Track and Field Cross County.
Elite athletes seeking the opportunity to develop under the watchful eye of professional coaches, flock to the gulf coast in hopes of reaching their true potential. Traditional high school settings no longer provide the necessary training and focus, while the IMG Academy model is full of success stories.
The baseball program at IMG Academy has been extremely productive, with
- 185 D1 commitments since 2006
- 12 National Tournaments won
- 34 Student-athletes earned All-American honors
- 29 Student-athletes selected in MLB First-Year Players Draft
- 30 Alumni have made MLB appearances
Now that is proof of concept.
Today’s guest is Colbe Herr Program and Business Manager for the baseball academy at IMG, doing everything to managing the budget and team travel, to event coordination and management – but let’s let him tell you more about it… here is Colbe Herr, Program and Business Manager for baseball at IMG Academy.
Questions for Colbe Herr, IMG Academy Baseball Business and Program Manager
1: Before we get into the background and development of young baseball players… let’s start with your background and development. You played baseball at York College in Pennsylvania – when did you figure out you wanted to make baseball your career?
2: You graduated 5 years ago, played a little pro ball, did a little coaching, a little scouting…then joined the staff at IMG Academy – how much has being a former student-athlete helped you in your transition to the sports business world?
3: IMG Academy is a one-of-a-kind experience in the United States – a full-time boarding school focused on academics and advanced year-round athletic training – personally, what drew you to this particular opportunity?
4: Your title is Business and Program Manager for Baseball – what does your day-to-day role consist of?
5: From content creation and operation budgets to team travel… you have a lot on your plate – it’s almost like you are an Athletic Director – what part of the role has proven to be the most challenging?
6: Let’s talk tournaments – the IMG National Classic is one of the premier prep baseball tournaments – what are the keys to running a successful event like this?
7: You mention in your LinkedIn profile that you’ve helped oversee a substantial growth in revenue and decrease in expenses for the Classic as well as reviewing and developing all financial reports.
How important is it to have a background or working knowledge in the financial aspects of sports, not just being a fan, or a former athlete?
8: You created a Player Development Plan for baseball students that included progress of Academics, Sports, Athletic & Personal Development programs and College Placement – as you went through this process of creating this plan… what did you discover about the key components of player development and what makes the student-athletes reach their top potential?
9: We’ll finish up with this – as I mentioned earlier the IMG Academy program is pretty unique in the US, but a relatively common model in European soccer… the academic/athletic academy’s start pretty young.
Do you think this trend of schools dedicated to athletics and academics will continue to grow in the US?
Listen in to the podcast episode for answers to these questions and more with Colbe Herr from IMG Academy
Thanks to Colbe Herr for teaching us more about the Academy experience at IMG – I hope all of you former student-athletes were listening intently, Colbe made it very clear, you as athletes have a leg up in the industry if you leverage it the right way!
Be ready to show off your leadership, your understanding of the game, your teamwork, coachability – these are the soft skills and signs of maturity that sports employers love.
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