Blair Woods is a former athlete and sports agent who has now found his true purpose, which is to give back to the community through mentorship by using basketball as his platform.
Just two years ago, Woods launched The Blair Woods Project, an Atlanta-based grassroots, basketball organization that teaches kids discipline and gives them the opportunity to learn the proper skill sets to help them compete on and off the court.
Woods also has designed The 25th Hour camp within the program to help players of all abilities develop athletically and fundamentally.
“I want to have a basketball summer school where athletes can come and train with me and then we can also study,” says Woods.”They would come between three to four weeks out of the summer. We’ll go over ACT prep courses to prepare them for college.”
When did your passion for basketball begin?
Basketball was kind of like a getaway. It really centered me and helped with just anything that I had to deal with. It’s been a part of my life for a very long time. I played college basketball at Columbia College. Things didn’t work out with trying to go pro. I really wanted to find a way to still be a part of the game, so I decided to become a sports agent. I did that job for about three years, but it really wasn’t my niche. I really have a love for children, so I started teaching the game because I knew how important it was for me to learn those key concepts like teamwork. I felt like God gave me a gift to really connect with people.
How did the program come about?
I got this idea to start this company called The Blair Woods Project. The name was catchy and kind of funny. I used the platform to combine education and basketball. I’m really big on not just developing entire athlete but more so developing people. You can put so much emphasis on basketball and drills but a lot of those key concepts and core beliefs can be translated into the classroom. Once you change one kid, they will teach the next kid what you’ve taught them. I want to change the whole basketball culture. I want them to know they have options of going to college and becom[ing] a businessman.
What would you say is your philosophy of coaching and its relationship to education?
As far as coaching, I believe if you teach a kid one time and give them the tools to do it themselves then they will continue that learning process for as long as they live. I can’t keep shooting the shot for them. I have to teach them how to do it themselves and repetition is key. This coaching style can translate into study habits. They will have a better mindset and better fortitude to be able to retain information and use it as they go on in life.
How has this role impacted your life?
I have learned humility. These kids think that I am the coolest thing ever, but I have a lot wrong with me. I am not a perfect person by any means. I used to struggle with staying focused and I didn’t like school. Whatever I say they listen to me, which has caused me to be more aware of my flaws and have patience. Not everyone learns the same way. They see me as their big brother. I have learned a new level of being selfless.
How did you raise funding to kick-start your program?
God! I haven’t had a single dollar put into this company that hasn’t been mine. Adidas gave me clothing for one of my basketball camps. I’ve had Zaxby’s to sponsor food for the kids, so that was awesome. I would go up to businesses and use my pitch deck that I learned how to create with my business and marketing degrees. They all love the idea. People always want to help. Everything has pretty much been done on my own dime with the exception of certain events.