January 08, 2016

Living The Sports Dream

Although many youngsters dream of making a career out of their chosen sport, the winner-takes-all philosophy that prevails in most professional sports means that the road to success is by no means a certain one. For many parents of sports-mad children, following the sports dream means pushing school and college aside and making a high-risk play for success. And although the sports-scholarship route allows some youngsters to follow their dream whilst gaining an academic qualification, only a minute number of scholarships are available in any particular sport. So how to dream big whilst keeping your feet firmly on the ground?

Making The Dreams Work

Our featured guest on Kickstart Your Business, Kildare-born Paul Cummins of Sport Dream Academy lived the dream of many aspiring sports stars when his teenage prowess won him a scholarship to play American high-school and college basketball, and go on to play professionally and represent his country. He set up Sport Dream Academy so that others like him might find a route in sports colleges across the USA in a range of elite sports, including tennis, volleyball, track and field, soccer, golf and rugby.

Leave It To The Professionals

With his own background in coaching in the US, George warmed immediately to Paul's story and new venture. Whilst Sport Dream Academy can't guarantee success for the aspiring professional, it can help the young player to make the most of their talent and showcase their skills and aptitude to a range of top coaches in colleges across the USA. And Paul can advise on how to avoid the pitfalls that might await the unwary in a college system that has wildly varying academic standards.

Gerard suggested that Paul is currently underplaying his own expertise and experience when he refers to his venture as a part-time labour of love. Not unlike many of the great entrepreneurs, Paul is involved in more than one venture: he is both CEO of Sport Dream Academy and CEO of a highly-successful health and safety consultancy, Sea Change. His success across a wide range of disciplines is a real strength, and a reassurance to the aspiring sports star that he has what it takes to help them take the best shot at success in their chosen sport.

Everyone Can Dream

How do you suggest that Paul can help more and more talented youngsters live the sports dream through his academy?

Listen back to Paul on Kickstart Your Business and let us know what you think; we'd love to hear from you.

Kickstart Your Business broadcasts at 6.20pm every Thursday on Newstalk's The Right Hook, and is available on playback immediately following the show.

A note from Gerard: When I'm not helping to Kickstart Your Business, I work with business-owners of all shapes and sizes to help them build a brand that stands up to the competition and stands out in the marketplace. You can find out more about my work at Islandbridge.

Once a year, I work closely with twelve ambitious business-owners through our six-week Raising A Brand Programme. Our next programme kicks off on February 9th for six Tuesday afternoon sessions; you can find out more at Raising A Brand

1 comment:

Paul Cummins said...

I really enjoyed the experience and a huge thanks to Ger and George for their very helpful feedback. One point I wished I had made is that SDA prides itself on accurately assessing the 'fit' between a scholarship opportunity and the athlete in question. And academics is huge here! Any sport career has a limited shelf-life, and young athletes need to make sure they match their academic potential with the right academic level of college or university. I used basketball as a vehicle for my own education which finished with a PhD back in Belfast, and it has really helped me in life outside of sport. And if SDA can help even one other athlete do the same, then it is worth doing in my opinion. Check out some of the SDA athlete who are currently in the USA on www.sda.ie. And check out all of the top Irish hoopers who have come to camp and developed their games since 2013 on the Sport Dream Academy YouTube Channel. Thanks again to Island Bridge!