North Shore Sports Academy
Today’s Program Spotlight brings us to the north shore to visit a program that was initially meant to be a football program, but with the help of the local YMCA, has become one of the larger programs in the northern region.
North Shore Sports Academy based out of Danvers/Marblehead/Arlington, MA as well as southern New Hampshire had a rather unique start back in 2016. Program director Andre Langley and his wife, Jessica Langley, intended on starting a local youth football program for kids in the area. However, once they had connected with the LvO YMCA in Marblehead, MA, the basketball division surfaced and took off.
“We started the program to give every child a place to play and develop while giving them a family atmosphere. When we began in 2016, we had 2 teams. This past spring we were up to 26.”
In developing their program, they have clearly seen incredible success. Players and parents see the difference in coaching as well as the environment/atmosphere. This is a very big attribution to the explosion from 2 to 26 in 3 years.
“We pride ourselves on being extremely involved with our players and parents. We call ourselves NSSA Family and we mean it. I truly believe that’s what sets us apart from other programs. Aside from the work we put in, our coaches have been our biggest factor in our success. There is no doubt in my mind we would not be where we are today without them.”
It is very clear each weekend how hard these players and coaches work. But what isn’t seen on the court is how much work Andre and Jess put in off the court. There is a key to their success that happens behind the scenes that empowers their players to do well in all aspects, not just their sport.
“We pride ourselves on being a ‘student athlete’ program. What happens off the court is just as important as on the court. Instead of giving our players a person or player to look up to, we educate them on what ‘role model’ qualities should be. Just because someone made it to the NBA does not necessarily mean they are a great role model. We want them to understand that.”
They also make this very clear in their mission statement for the program:
“North Shore Sports Academy exists to provide athletes with concrete skills to facilitate success across their athletic and educational span. Working with experienced licensed professionals, our student athletes will be prepared and able to meet any challenges they may face. Student athletes will receive personal support to develop critical thinking skills, gain appropriate academic habits, and experience positive peer support with academic and athletic integration.”
However, with all success does come the difficulties. Every program, big or small, has their ups and downs. But for NSSA, the hardest part isn’t the usual struggle of staying organized or managing gym time. It goes a little deeper than that.
“The hardest part about having your own program is understanding that sometimes no matter what you do or how much you give, your program just isn’t for everyone.”
But with the hardships, comes plenty of reward.
“There are so many memorable moments but I would say our favorite memory is seeing the smiles on our players faces. That never gets old. Our proudest moments as directors is just seeing your dream come to life. We truly are so blessed to be able to do something we love everyday.”
That being said, in seeing the success of the program and how content both Andre and Jess are with their program’s satisfaction and happiness, we were curious as to where they saw the program within the next 2 years.
“In 2 years, I would love to see our program all across New England while still keeping our core values as strong as ever.”
Looking to the spring 2020 circuit, we can’t wait to see North Shore Sports Academy all over New England! But what are they looking forward to the most?
“I think our favorite ZG tournament is the ‘Battle for the Belt’. There is something about winning that belt that sets a fire in our players. NERR and Finals are up there as well! [But] what we are looking forward to the most in spring 2020 is our travel trip. That information hasn’t been published yet but it will be an exciting time for sure!”
In talking to Andre and Jess, we learned a lot about not only the North Shore Sports Academy program, but about how to be successful on and off the court as a whole. Coach and player relationships are key in a successful team, nevermind entire program. Not only that, but having the family dynamic where everyone is there for each other and supporting one another on and off the court plays an integral part in player development in multiple facets. Some programs are not for everyone, but I cannot imagine someone not wanting to be a part of the NSSA Family.
We are truly looking forward to having North Shore Sports Academy back on the circuit this spring along the #RoadToZGFinals!