Today we’d like to introduce you to Coleman Ayers.
Coleman, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Before packing up and coming to Miami when I was 18, I lived in Washington, DC for my entire life. I’ve always been enamored with the game of basketball, so I roughly knew that it’d be something I wanted to tie my life to in some form or fashion. I attended and played at St. John’s College High School in DC, which is one of the top schools not only in the area, but the country for basketball, so I grew up playing with and against elite basketball players. And being surrounded with such great players pushed me to do two things: 1. work harder than anyone else to even be able to compete (early mornings at 5 am, late nights, sneaking into gyms to work out, staying in on the weekends to research and spend my nights doing what I love) and 2. to learn about what makes the best athletes elite!
So, naturally, this set me on the path of training basketball players. It was a perfect recipe: I was around a ton of athletes who I could work with frequently, I was able to learn from great players and coaches, and I had the fire lit inside of me to make it happen. So, I started up By Any Means Basketball in 2016 to accomplish this. I had the option to play basketball at a number of Division 3 schools, but I chose to sacrifice continuing my basketball career to come to the University of Miami. I figured that if TEACHING the game of basketball and using it as a vehicle to change lives is what I want to do for the rest of my life, there’s no better place to be than South Florida. It’s diverse, has a budding basketball scene, is a business hotspot of the country (and world for that matter)–plus, it’s Miami. Can’t go wrong.
So, coming into my first year living in Miami in 2017, I had zero basketball connections in the Dade and Broward areas. I was back to square one. I was continuing to grow my online presence, which I had expanded to 200,000 followers/subscribers at the time, but I wanted to get in the trenches and really change lives and work. I figured the best route to take was to literally throw myself into the fire. To take a leap of faith. So, I organized a one-day clinic with my business partner Yosef Yishak in March 2019 and invited literally every basketball player in the city to come through. Posted flyers, ran ads on social media, all of that. And it turned out to be a solid turnout–about 20 players. Not bad for the first time, but I knew with my gift of teaching and work effort, I could expand to reach a much broader group. The following six months after that was just grinding. Working with literally any player and team possible, and the connections and relationships began to multiply exponentially.
Fast forward to this past fall, we began our weekly “Elevate Sessions”, where we bring in the elite basketball players in the area to compete, learn, and get a break from the grind of their schedule. To have fun but also help them improve as men. And honestly, despite the hundreds of thousands of subscribers/followers, any other events I have run, and acknowledgement I’ve received, these Sessions are likely my biggest accomplishment in my eyes. Going from zero respect in the area to now hosting over 100 players in the area in a unique setting (even bringing them to beach workouts, etc.), has really been a testament to what putting your head down and doing what you love can do.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t see success as a linear process. For every up, there is a down, but learning to weather those storms, as well as stay grounded during the successes, is what will really bring you to success in the long run. I’ve had people count me out for being “too young” or “too inexperienced.” I’ve had people turn their backs on me after giving my all to them. I’ve had opportunities stripped away on the dot. Plus, coming to the Miami area at 18 years old with no connections in the basketball scene, I had to maneuver it myself and find a way for myself, which isn’t easy for a teenager. Learning how to effectively interact with people and build relationships, even when they’re thinking “he’s too young, I can easily take advantage of him” was tough. I made poor judgments about situations, but it’s ultimately trial and error, and has really helped me get to where I am today!
By Any Means Basketball – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
By Any Means is primarily a basketball training company, specializing in uniquely holistic and detail- and science-based methods. Being able to meet players where they are at, and consider every aspect of their training from nutrition, to psychology, to on-court basketball training, to strength training is really what By Any Means prides itself on. As of now, the biggest presence I’d say is online. Between YouTube (26+ million views in total) and Instagram (48k followers), I’m able to reach an extremely wide net of athletes around the world, which is unbelievably rewarding–to be able to remotely train tens of thousands of players online is absolutely insane. After launching our Virtual Academy online less than a year ago, we currently have over 6,000 players enrolled in a training program. This actually maybe what I’m most proud of, now that I think about it! I really pride myself on being able to bring top-tier training to as many basketball players as possible globally, and it’s encouraging to see the progress towards that mission.
I also train a number of college and high school players personally in the Miami (and somewhat in DC) area. For this in-person training, I pride myself on making sure every box is checked in terms of how we can optimize each player’s progress. Is their nutrition on-point? How are they doing mentally? Are they working too hard? Not enough. Anything and everything that can accelerate their improvement. Plus, really just making sure that the interpersonal relationships between myself and the player are going deeper than a strictly basketball level. Teaching them how to be better humans and giving themselves a role model to look up to and be friends with.
Finally, speaking of deeper than basketball, I ensure that the By Any Means brand resonates with people on a level that surpasses sports. Our merchandise, online presence, and overall operations really promote the By Any Means mantra, urging people to put their fears to the side and pursue their ambitions regardless of the circumstances, by Any Means.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
It’s not a single moment, but there came the point at which I really was able to appreciate the relationships and connections that I build with the players I work with. When working with a player, it’s not just training them. It’s constantly checking upon them to make sure they’re doing well not only on the basketball court but as people. The fact that I’m able to enjoy the game of basketball with young men as well as giving them someone to trust, relate with, and look up to is what brings the most fulfillment to me.
- Website: www.byanymeansbball.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/byanymeansbasketball
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6K-_cvzQldsxdHUvVnX9ug
Brian Del Toro