The founding values of the United States of America are a set of ideals that include, rights, opportunity and equality. They promote and inspire the most important word in the history of our country: Freedom. This includes the opportunity for prosperity, success, and social mobility, all achieved through effort and resilience, in a society with few barriers or limiting circumstances. It is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Each of us has grown up believing the American Dream is attainable and that every one of us can achieve our goals through hard work and determination. This dream was passed down from former generations to the next in hopes the preceding group will do better, be more, and never give up on that notion.
Today, there is no better metaphor for the American Dream than that of high school sports. The teenage years of our life has become the land of opportunity, while school systems take on a resemblance to the new frontier. While the connection between high school sports and their school systems presents a wide array of issues, the most common being equal access to opportunity. Some systems are arguing scholarship money and recruiting styles, while others struggle with cafeteria food and care little about healthy options. The two sides of the spectrum are so far apart that they leave an ocean-sized pool of students, parents, staff, and athletes floating aimlessly in the middle.
Luckily, Charles Kaelin still believes in the American Dream. He is currently working in Nashville as the lead developer at a web agency where he builds websites for clients across the country. In college, he ran five triathlons, basically because his friends disputed he wouldn’t. “I don’t have bad days,” he says, “you either encourage me or motivate me.” But Kaelin’s motivation these days is focused on leveling the playing field for junior high and high school athletes. He is creating an app called Axcess Coaching that gives hope to every kid with a sports dream.
“I’m trying to solve the problem for kids that don’t have access to developmental training,” he explains. Furthermore, the goal is to completely change how recruiting and training is done around the world. Axcess Coaching gives kids without mentors the equal opportunity to excel in health and fitness. The open door app leads to programming, nutrition, and other resources that make becoming an all-around better athlete possible for anyone. Not only is the curriculum at an extremely high standard, but each movement can be modified to any preferred intensity level.
To build the training portion of the app, Kaelin went out and found coaches that have either won a National Championship, World Championship, trained at least one global athlete, or have set a world record themselves. He says, “They write the plans for preseason, in season, and offseason.Then they create beginner, intermediate, and advanced stages, and give us a total of nine plans to upload into the app.” The programming relies on the proven winners in each category and their willingness to share successful tips. Kaelin claims, “Once we found the best with these qualifications, we reached out. A lot of times they already aren’t getting compensated very much, so they appreciated the call and the idea and shared their knowledge.”
Kaelin’s father grew up in one of the poorest towns in Kentucky and he says, “His life story has always impacted me.” As a young boy, he blew out both of his knees playing sports. He didn’t have a doctor willing to take care of him and was simply told to get in the hot tub. To this day, Kaelin’s father has major trouble with both knees. He is now a doctor himself and cares a great deal for each patient he sees.
Those experiences and now those connections have led to the list of doctors under the American Sports Medicine Institute network connected to Axcess Coaching, where the user can find recommendations for any issue. They’ve also added video of correct technique and safety for education purposes and preventive measures. Kaelin has devised a partnership that allows access to over 400,000 nutrition plans based on the sport and season. Another generated partnership is with fitness wearables that track data through technology and transfer into the app, continuing to build the athlete’s profile. “Our goal is to take all the thinking out of the process,” Kaelin explains. But the total collection of data is also another way to connect the athletes to a number of college coaches.
“All data entered into the app from age 13 and on, will be visible to coaches,” he says. They are given access to see everything from one rep maxes to the consistent number of days the athlete has logged information. “This data allows the coaches to see a number of things that are usually intangible until you enter college camp,” he adds. Consistent data on the athletes profile will show the improvements and setbacks each year, as well as a level of responsibility. Kaelin conveys, “It will allow coaches to see different aspects of the athlete than the current, common process.”
Besides the given material, the hope is that each athlete will soak up the process and learn from it. During high school, it is common for the most notable influencers to be coaches. Unfortunately, because that role does not exist in every system, Axcess Coaching has provided the best informational steps to achieve any athletic goal. “The whole point of Axcess Coaching is to give kids access to things they don’t have access to,” according to Kaelin. Simple as that. They believe plenty of high schoolers aren’t given a fair chance at meeting their potential because they have to depend on something or someone that is out of their control.
In fact, three years ago, Kaelin got a call from a friend basically saying the same thing. He witnessed a local, large, high school that didn’t have a sport specific coach for the players. He was concerned the school couldn’t afford such a basic need. Kaelin admired his own father’s story and had administered relief in recent third-world countries, making him sympathize with the lack of options. He said, “I just felt like it wasn’t fair. I thought, ‘what if someone in a place like Haiti was able to receive a scholarship?’ The opportunities we provide here would allow that kid to change his entire village.” He wanted to connect the world, but first, he had to give everyone equal opportunity.
“As we began the initial process, we spent the first years researching. That is it. We just studied,” he claims. Acquiring knowledge was his number one goal before turning 30, which explains the reason behind his thorough starting course. “We went out and watched junior high and high school athletes and coaches,” he continues, “We studied athletic directors, college recruiters and recruiting agencies, strength and conditioning trainers, and more. All we did was shut-up and listen. We took notes and we didn’t start a platform until we had solutions.”
To sign up is about 30 dollars a month. The company has no sales team, as they believe the athlete is responsible for selling themselves. “There will be a judgement day for each kid,” Kaelin claims. The honor system alone will sort out any untrue statistics that may have been recorded. “They can’t fake it because once they show up, they will have to perform,” he says.
This holds true in every aspect of life, especially health and wellness. There is no shortcut in fitness, just hard work and dedication. People are involved in this industry because it is something they love and care about, however, we too easily forget how many avenues it can lead to. The power of sports and access to the best all-around programming gives them access to an education. That access to college, gives them the chance to change their own fate and even that of their community. “We have a powerful chance to change a person’s path in life,” Kaelin realizes.
Axcess Coaching is changing those lives by giving the same resources to every athlete, no matter race, religion, income, location or social stature. Without discrimination, we create a level playing field that isn’t just for recruiting purposes, but also for teenagers to develop the knowledge, work ethic, and skills required to attain their goals. Kaelin says, “This way, no one has a better shot than you at making your dreams come true.”