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How to Make the Most of Private Lessons with Insights from Coach Dele

By Melissa Wickes
May 10, 2024
3 min

In a world where social media blasts everyone’s successes and achievements out to the masses—kids included—families are taking youth sports more seriously and parents are investing a lot of time, money, and effort into them. 

In other words, youth sports are in their “pro” era. Families are treating kids like professional athletes—going to extreme lengths to get them the resources they need to play at the highest level possible. 

In fact, according to a survey by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 54.7 percent of parents encouraged their children to specialize in a single sport. Why? Well, the same survey finds more than half of parents hope their children will play collegiately or professionally, and spending more time and money on one sport increases their chances of that happening. 

One of the areas of investment is private lessons. 

Unfortunately, youth sports specialization also increases the risk of injury when it happens too early and too intensely, according to the National Library of Medicine. 

So where is the balance between supporting your child to reach their maximum potential and pushing them to injury or psychological trauma? 

Coach Dele Sobo is the CEO of Team Esface Basketball Academy, which offers a variety of club/ AAU teams, leagues, clinics, and has been offering private training for over 10 years. He thinks that the most important thing to note is that any choices relating to extracurriculars are driven by the kid.

“As soon as a young athlete finds that they love a sport, you should feed what they love,” he says. “If a kid enjoys it, they’re going to be happier doing what they love. I certainly am praying that my kid loves basketball, but ultimately it’s going to be his choice.” 

When it comes to the risks of specializing in a sport at too young an age, there is specific criteria that defines early specialization (year-round training, choosing a single main sport, quitting all other sports to focus on one, etc.) and so long as you’re not meeting that criteria, you should not worry that pushing your kid to focus on the sport they love will automatically cause an injury. 

Why Private Lessons

Coach Dele has always felt their private training offerings have played a critical role in their programming. 

“No coach in America knows how to address every kid’s individual skill deficiencies and needs in a team practice that might be an hour and a half,” he says. “The reality is, in order to accelerate growth and give young athletes the opportunity to grow and address specific areas, private training plays a critical role.” 

Private training allows coaches like Dele to have a deeper impact and to teach kids that what they put in is what they will get out. At Team Esface, they’re more focused on depth of experience for each player than the number of athletes in a program. 

How to Optimize Private Lessons

Due to the increasingly professionalized youth sports landscape, more and more families are investing in private lessons—and, truthfully, they’re not cheap. So how do organizations like Team Esface make sure these lessons are worth every dollar and every minute? 

Before any player begins private training at Team Esface, they go through a player evaluation where Dele and his staff identify what the player wants to work on and how they fall in terms of a beginning to advanced level. The goal is to equip the coach with as much information as possible because it will increase the impact, help them tailor workouts to each kid, and maximize success. 

Throughout the lessons, Team Esface coaches utilize platforms to track player progress and then share player assessments with the parents. This helps parents identify how the player has grown and where they may need some more support.   

In terms of the player development, Dele turns to the philosophies of the late, great Kobe Bryant. 

“The last thing you wanna do is tell a very ambitious athlete to train less. When we’re inspired by the greats like Kobe Bryant, we all know that the greats worked and they worked hard. Don’t tell a kid to train less, tell them to recover more,” he says.

Coach Dele’s biggest goal is to help every kid fall in love with the process of growth.

“Being able to increase your capacity so you can get more reps is how you become more confident and increase your skill,” says Dele. “It’s not rocket science—I put in more work, I get more reps and that’s what you gotta do to be great. More reps alongside training your body and training your mind.”

He believes strongly that falling in love with the process of growth leads to success in all areas of life.

“That’s why sports are so cool—it’s merit based and regardless of money, connections, or relationships, when you play ball, you will be exposed. No one gets an advantage in this game,” he says. “Unless your uncle is the referee or something. Your game is going to speak for itself. Game recognizes game.” 

We’re proud to power the registration behind an elite basketball organization like Team Esface. For more information about Team Esface and their offerings, including private lessons, visit

To learn more about how you can get on the level of Team Esface with the sports technology they rely on, speak with someone on our team. 

Main Image courtesy of Team Esface