these are our

Stories

See what our families have to say about their experiences with the Empower ME Academy.

‘STOP and Learn’ is not a program for the faint-hearted… of any age. Our son Alex’s first experience ended with him in tears. But they were genuine tears of recognition that here was a program that addressed and challenged his deep, and yet still, (at ten years of age), undefinable passion for basketball. Here finally was Coach Gumbs, who recognized Alex’s passion, and who challenged our son to embrace extremely difficult but productive work by summoning his natural ability and strength, rather than by shaming, sarcasm, shouting, and foul language… all experiences that had already been visited on him by previous coaches. And of course we, as parents, immediately, and gratefully, recognized the far-reaching benefits of this kind of discipline. Our challenge now, is in trying to explain to Alex why he can’t go to STOP and Learn every day.

Chris Kindler
Father of Alex Kindler
(HS Class of 2023)

I have known Coach Gumbs for over 15 years, in both a basketball and personal capacity. Knowing Coach Gumbs as a basketball player gave me confidence in his basketball knowledge. Knowing Coach Gumbs as a person allowed me to trust him with my children. But it’s the confluence of the basketball and the personal that allows him to connect with my kids. As a parent, I am rewarded seeing my boys return home from a day of camp and complain of soreness. Yet, come morning, they are up, dressed, and ready for another day of camp. In addition to resilience, he has taught them the value of hard work. The kids will return home from camp and practice the same drills in the backyard, working on the skills that Coach Gumbs is developing. My kids are learning to love basketball and much of it has to do with Coach Gumbs, his clinics and how he teaches. Coach Gumbs connects with the kids like no other coach.

Jason and Lauren Greenfield
Parents of Asher (9), Asa (7), Ari (5)

Having trained with Coach Gumbs for over six years now, the improvements in my skills as a basketball player have significantly improved by leaps and bounds.

My overall mindset and confidence as a player have allowed me to succeed as a professional in one of the highest levels of basketball. Coach Gumbs’ positive and empowering teaching is exceptional for improving the overall performance of athletes of all ages. The development of skills and fundamentals that are provided through Empower ME Academy is far superior to any program I have been a part of in my career.

Tim Derksen
Professional Basketball Player

Tatiana was 11 when we met Coach Gumbs. It’s incredible the young lady she has become. She used to dread his workouts: her attitude toward school, basketball, and handling failure could have used some improvement. Now, we cannot keep her away from training. She would train every day if she could. EMA’s message of being a student-athlete has resonated with her. She has made the honor roll. Her work ethic has tripled. She handles failure more gracefully. Aside from improving their basketball skills; EMA goes beyond the court by teaching your child life lessons that they need to be successful in life. As parents, we continue to look forward to Tatiana’s future as she continues to develop into a leader. We are grateful for all Coach Gumbs has done for her. He genuinely cares about his students. It’s a program like no other.

Jessica and Jonathan Newsome
Parents of Tatiana, Maya, and Jonathan, Jr.
(HS Class of 2021)

Roman has trained with Coach Gumbs for over two years. His impact on Roman has been life-changing and has extended beyond the court. Coach’s knowledge of the game and holistic approach has helped him develop into a complete player. He works on all aspects of basketball: skills, fitness, strategy, and mental preparation. Off the court, he instills the core values of hard work, respect, and self-confidence. It is these ‘non-basketball’ skills that have had the most dramatic impact. EMA is different from any other program, and Coach has a unique ability to connect with his players and provide guidance that lets his students know he still respects and values them. The Private experiences provided an opportunity for Coach Gumbs to get to know Roman and develop their relationship. Along with the firm, but inspiring help of Coach’s belief in him, Roman began to realize how much work is required to improve his game!

Michael Leraris
Father of Roman Leraris
(HS Class of 2023)

Exclusive Private training has been highly effective for my daughters (Emily and Kitt). Emily’s trained with Coach Gumbs for 2+ years, and had specific areas of her game she wanted to focus on. The 1:1 Exclusive Private training environment was the best format to meet her goals. Exclusive Private training is extremely concentrated and, thankfully, Emily was mentally and physically prepared. Each workout is organized, planned, and focused on the player so that when you arrive at the gym you start working right away by warming up and stretching in a specific way. No time is wasted; the entire workout session is organized from start to finish so that your time on the court is focused on you and achieving your specific results. Most importantly, Coach Gumbs shares his commitment, passion, and experience of the game with Emily which goes beyond the court.

Courtney and Russell Jones
Parents of Emily and Kitt Jones
(HS Class of 2021 and HS Class of 2024)

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I am amazed at the discipline and challenge, and how both have improved George’s skills and deepened his love for and commitment to basketball.

Theo Gund
Grandmother to George Gund V

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