Flex Academies President Joshua Chernikoff interviewed Matt Hale, Program Coordinator for Overtime Athletics (OTA). Hale told us how his two-year partnership with Flex has helped to free up his time to focus more on his programs and on the children who attend them.
Flex Academies: Talk to me about what the partnership with Flex has meant for Overtime Athletics.
Matt Hale: Our partnership with Flex started roughly two years ago. It’s brought great brand recognition for us. Flex has brought us into areas and communities that we were not able to get into. We are able to expand in Maryland, in Howard and Montgomery Counties and also now Fairfax County [in Virginia], to some schools that we were trying to run programs in and show what Overtime Athletics can do. Flex has brought us that option. It has brought us to new families both during the school year and outside the school year, to show the different programs and what OTA can bring to their school, their PTA, and their kids.
Flex: From the standpoint of a vendor/partner, talk about what Flex does for you, because you have a lot on your plate. What are we able to take off your plate, to make things easier?
MH: So much. It’s amazing what Flex does for us with the registrations, with setting up our programs, promoting our programs, telling parents what we do and how we work. It has taken, I’d say, a couple of hours off my plate where I’m not reaching out to parents or school or working with the registration site. We simply agree to the programs we are going to run at the schools we are going to run them, and I sit back with my feet up and hire my coaches and wait for Flex to send me exactly which programs we are going to run, the registration, the rosters, the time of the program, how the program is going to run, who we are meeting and where we are going to meet. All of that is already taken care of for OTA, which is not only a huge help for myself but my directors in the areas and also my coaches.
Flex: Well I think what you get an opportunity to do with your feet up is to focus on what you guys do best, which is really teaching sports. So talk more about Overtime Athletics. You guys have been a really strong partner of ours. We love the work you guys do. So talk about Overtime Athletics for a minute.
MH: Overtime Athletics provides, as you said, after school athletic programs. We do everything from soccer to cheerleading to basketball to roadrunners, our speed and agility program. It’s very much an introductory program to a sport that maybe a child has or has not played before. We are not counting wins or losses at our program. We try to get these kids out being active, playing a sport that they have or have not played. We are going to teach them the basic fundamentals of the sport whether it’s passing, kicking, catching, cheering, and provide a safe opportunity for them to participate in these programs.
Our coaches are trained in each sport. They’ve either played them growing up, played them in college or learned them growing up or learned from us how to run these programs.
Flex: Matt, let’s talk more about your coaches because I think there’s a lot of vendors out there who do sports but I think what really differentiates OTA is your coaches. So talk about how you find those coaches, how you know they are an OTA coach and also talk about the safety aspect. What kind of background checks do you do?
MH: The majority of our coaches are college students right now and are either starting to be PE teachers or in this type of field. A lot of them are also former high school or current college athletes as well, that have had experience working with kids. In order to work for Overtime Athletics we have our IHT system. We start by going through the interview process where we obviously speak with the coaches face to face and let them know what we do and kind of what we are looking for. After that we go through our background checks. We make sure that every coach is cleared both with fingerprints with necessary or whatever the county needs from us and then also our background checks that we do online before they are brought in to be hired. Once you are hired, you are provided our training manual, our training booklet, our training video that you go through with the director of that area.
After you’ve taken care of that we do our field training, where you will go to an actual program and before you are able to run a program you are going to do a shadowing session where you are going to watch a veteran coach or our director run a specific class to show you exactly what we want. You see how it’s set up, how it’s supposed to run, the transitions that we do, the skills and drills and the games that we run. It’s not an all-out scrimmage all the time.
It’s getting every kid involved and the coaches need to know that. Coming from a competitive background, some of them may think it’s just roll the ball out and get after it. We don’t do that in Overtime Athletics. We want everybody to be involved. We want everybody to have fun. We want everybody to enjoy their experience and our coaches need to know that.
Flex: Well, you are doing a phenomenal job. You are one of our favorite partners and so keep up the great work and thank you very much.
MH: I appreciate it. Thanks, Josh.
To watch this interview, please visit our Video On Demand site.