THE BASKETBALL MOVEMENT IS THE HOOPS HEARTBEAT OF THE MIDWEST. IT IS A STORY AUTHORED BY ROB YANDERS THAT IS JUST BEGINNING, BUT ALREADY GOING STRONG.
I have been helping Rob out with The Basketball Movement's blog for a little under a year. I have known him for much longer and am not surprised to see where he is now. Rob's infectious personality, passion for the game, and desire to develop others has propelled one of the biggest basketball movements ever seen in this part of the states.
To speak with Rob, I traveled to the "basketball Mecca of the Midwest" in Nixa, MO just outside of Springfield. I needed to ask him some questions about what the Movement is all about and what it means to him.
The scene when I entered the facility was basketball beauty. The scent of new hardwood flooded my senses while the sound of basketballs bouncing immediately let me know the movement was underway.
On one end of the gym, Rob's brother and TBM coach Sly works with three players of varying skill as they run some drills, visually improving with each passing moment. Coach Craig works patiently with a couple young players at the other end of the East gym. At half court, former player turned TBM coach Anthony Shavies sets up cones to guide a young baller through a dribbling drill as he displays skills well advanced for his age.
ENTER THE FOUNDER - ROB YANDERS
Robert came in behind me, entering the gym the same way he always does - grinning like he just won a championship. In many ways for Rob Yanders, he is winning every day with The Basketball Movement.
His passion for his movement and the players is instantly apparent. He shook my hand, shook the hand of a few parents, and barked some trademark motivation to the players going through their drills. Then, he led me off to answer some questions.
On our way upstairs to sit at the big conference table, Rob could not help but pause and admire the progress that had been made in the other gym. The re-done floor was nearly complete, the new color scheme popping brilliantly.
Robert told me his new colors had a lot of meaning to him. Once you have been accepted into the Lord's kingdom, you are as royalty, hence the gold wood. The red represents the blood of Christ, the blue is the washing away of sins, and the white is redemption. He even (partly) jokingly gave the floor a timeline of seven days for completion.
Note: the below video was shot prior to the killer new floors that have to be seen to be believed.
Robert put it beautifully when asked what prompted him to start The Basketball Movement:
“I care about developing people. I believe in serving others - maximizing potential. I love the game of basketball and I believe everyone should be a part of it. I care about families, I care about kids, I care about relationships. So many relationships are built through the game beyond the basketball court. Just, life lessons and the discipline that comes with it to prepare you for later. I do it truly because I love the game and I love being around people that want to get better.”
THE BASKETBALL MOVEMENT
When we were ready to talk, Rob could barely contain himself. He started pacing by a large window overlooking the West gym, already gushing about what his training facility provides to this part of the country.
The Basketball Movement offers intense skill development, team training, mentorship, film analysis, motivational speaking, marketing, media coverage, and national exposure.
It starts with the people. The Movement has former college athletes and pros as coaches, who are trained skill developers. Everyone loves what they do. The facility is not half bad itself, with 94 by 50 foot courts, weights, skiers, versaclimbers, concept bikes, sleds, rowers, and plenty of low impact, basketball-specific training equipment.
Everything the Movement does caters to the athletes. Robert said he wants the facility to provide "a home away from home" that inspires and gives a sense of "moving in the right direction". The facility is designed with a NBA atmosphere in mind. Rob hopes that the "urban feel" will fill a void for the area.
SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI - NEW BASKETBALL CAPITAL OF THE MIDWEST
This area has given a lot to Rob and he is excited to give back. He believes "Springfield, Missouri was missing that heartbeat ... a necessary urban feel." There is not another basketball facility like this around. Robert is thrilled to be able to be the risk-taker and leader that the sport needed in our part of the world. Rob is all in.
“We are the most cultured facility. We get all walks of life, all race, all different ethnic backgrounds, we get them all in here. We get rich, poor ... all walks of life. The basketball makes everybody equal.”
A desire to help others and grow young people with basketball and with life lessons are clear cornerstones for Rob and the Movement. As if his intrinsic motivation was not enough, Robert has other reasons that he keeps pushing forward with the Movement every day. One that I believe a lot of people in the community can identify with: fatherhood.
“I have a son. I selfishly also want my son to grow up around other leaders and be led in the right direction in this community. ”
Robert is clearly not going to slow down anytime soon. Continuation in growing skill training and the like is the clear priority, but there are always potential facility upgrades and big partnerships on the horizon.
Rob has been in talks with Gatorade about a partnership with Gatorade Performance testing and training. "Making sure players really know what they're putting into their bodies" is a priority moving forward. He would like to even add a healthy kitchen in the future to help athletes to gain a better understanding of what is best for their performance.
Robert's recent trip to Orlando focused a lot on player development, but also the amenities provided to athletes in their facility. Cold tubs, hot tubs, and small pools were a few intriguing concepts that the Movement may look into for the facility.
Update: The facility now has a barber shop upstairs, completely updated wood floors, and loads of new basketball specific training equipment. Rob's committment to his facility and the players it serves is instantly apparent and an impressive strength of The Movement.
The Basketball Movement is not going anywhere, especially with one of the nation's most able and driven coaches at the helm. My personal experience growing and learning from Robert continued long after my playing days. Players and parents of players would be doing themselves an enormous favor to meet Robert and find a way to get involved with one of the biggest basketball movements ever to happen in this part of the country.