That is the aphorism offered by Jim Olayos of Shelton, President of Future Stars Sports Academy.Jim
has been involved with sports as both a player and coach for over thirty years and knows that there is a valuable connection between sports and life lessons for young athletes.A recently-retired lawyer, Jim now devotes his time to the Future Stars Children's Foundation as the Executive Director and the Future Stars Sports Academy as its President.
For about 12 years, Jim
has been instilling athletes with the fundamental principles to succeed in both sports and in life.Just one reason he
was selected as America's "Most Caring Coach" in 2000 by USA Today Weekend Magazine
The sports/educational program known as Future Stars Academy
started with basketball, then expanded to football, lacrosse, baseball, cheerleading, softball, soccer and beyond.Along the way, Jim
added an 18-point life-lesson program, which includes educating young athletes about the dangers of substance abuse and about maintaining health.According to Jim
, the academy is all about fundamentals.
"I saw at a really young level that there were a few kids that were good and a few that watched," says Jim
, who says he
saw a chance to help each athlete enjoy the game - not just the handful of naturally gifted players."We developed a curriculum in a fun-based environment which took off."Jim
began Future Stars
as a series of clinics originally, providing equipment, uniforms and prizes to reward the athletes, "because the kids love getting stuff," he
says, "and the parents love it because [the athletes] are taught the fundamentals, with a short lesson at the end about respect and responsibility with a small homework assignment."
A father of four boys, Jim
has seen his
own sons move through what some might call the learning stages in sports.Yet he
knows better, knows that learning doesn't end no matter if it's basketball or baseball, lacrosse or life itself.
"Everything is in sports terms, which the kids love," says Jim
."For example, 'School: Your free-throw to life.'"
In 2007, Jim plans on tackling the next age group, a task which has led him to join with a popular Madison sports institution, the Slamma Jamma Basketball Camps.
"When kids are young, you need to maintain their interest, develop their skills," he
In order to continue teaching the fundamentals of both basketball and life, Jim
and friend Leary merged their endeavors into the Future Stars/Slamma Jamma basketball program for boys and girls ages 9 to 14.For someone who has coached at the high school level (at Masuk High in Monroe) and in college (as an assistant under the University of Bridgeport's legendary Coach Bruce Webster), Jim recognizes what lies ahead of the boys and girls in his clinics athletically.
..."I was impressed with how Jim approached teaching basketball with life lessons to make a complete recreational experience for young kids," says Linda LaSance, Assistant Director of the Madison Beach and Recreation Dept. In 1998, the department saw Jim's Future Stars Academy booth at the Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association Annual Conference and Trade Show.
, fundamentals are essential in both sports and in life, and his
goal for years has been to ensure that Connecticut youth understands that.With both the academy and the merger with Slamma Jamma, Jim
will continue to help young athletes become Future Stars
both on and off the court.