Frankie Jones – who coaches basketball for Denver Kings Athletic Club and Training, which he co-founded with his late brother – won the 2017 Double-Goal Coach® Award presented by TeamSnap for his positive impact on youth athletes.
Jones founded his organization in his Northeast Denver neighborhood, and it now serves roughly 60 boys and girls from sixth grade into high school, hailing from the city and suburbs as far as a 90-minute drive. Teams comprising players of a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds play travel ball together in AAU tournaments and several sneaker-company-sponsored circuits.
“The main life skills we teach,” Jones said, “are respect for authority, working with others, facing adversity and being coachable…being able to give and receive feedback. When my brother and I sat down to figure out how to move forward with this, we decided to build basketball skills off of those ground-level traits.
“Once you know how to respect authority you can become coachable. Once you know how to work with others you can be a good teammate. Once we have that foundation, we can establish an atmosphere. That’s how we build the chemistry in how we operate. Now, we get parents coming back to us, saying their kids are doing better in school or that they don’t have to tell them three or four times to clean their room.
Jones said the club infuses life skills into all of the players’ activities. “It’s a normal flow for us. If we’re running a play in practice, and I see three or four kids not where they’re supposed to be, it means they weren’t paying attention, so we stop and talk. We translate that to what happens when they’re not paying attention to their parents and how that affects things in their house, or what happens when they don’t pay attention in school.