We had the good fortune of connecting with Christian Chapman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christian, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
My grandmother was the first person to put a basketball in my hands, and ever since the age of 6, I knew that was what I wanted to do. Being fortunate enough to earn college scholarships and have a successful college career, I was ready to start the next part of my journey. I’ve always had my sights set on playing professional basketball. I was blessed with the opportunity to try out for the Sacramento Kings G League team and met Coach Ty Ellis along the way. I made it to the top 12 finalists of camp but I wasn’t selected; however, that didn’t discourage me because the head coach told me I had great promise as a professional basketball player. Soon after that, I was selected to play professional basketball overseas in Santiago, Dominican Republic. I came home from D. Republic and various people contacted me about working out and training – I wanted to share the knowledge I gained. Starting with a few athletes, I was able to utilize my skills and start training outside at parks, which quickly gained momentum. With their support, I started “CC Skills Academy.” I’ve always had a social media/marketing background, so I had to use this to my advantage to really kick start from ground zero. Shortly after returning home, I coached and trained top athletes at various elite camps like Stanford University Prospect Camp, Elite Basketball Circuit Adidas Camp, and various others. I began to gain recognition as an elite skills development trainer, teaching the skills and techniques I learned playing against college and professional athletes. I recorded and edited videos, and started my Instagram page that was able to gain traction with potential clients. I am extremely thankful for those first few athletes that started with me, and still keep in contact with all of them today.
As I personally learned more about the market and became more involved, I noticed that nobody really focused on the women’s game specifically and I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. I started Women’s Only Open Runs, which consisted of top high school – pro level talent, providing gym access to play during the Pandemic. I believe this inspired others to put on women’s only events, which I saw as a positive for the basketball community. During the pandemic, I was able to focus a lot of time on my brand and craft, in order to build and gain notoriety with a lot of high level programs, teams, and players. CC Skills Academy was developed to teach and train elite youth all the way through college and professional basketball players around the world. Even in college, I always enjoyed working with and helping other players on my team, as well as the women’s team with individual workouts. The training and teaching aspect came natural to me through my upbringing as a coach’s kid with a point guard background. The brand has grown a lot since then and has started to reach multiple parts of the country. I was honored to be selected to coach and be a part of the staff under 10-year legendary USA Basketball Men’s U16 Head Coach, Sharman White, this past May 2021. Minicamp Tryouts were held at the USA Men’s Junior National Team in Houston, TX, which featured 27 of the nations top U16 hopefuls competing for a roster spot on the USA Team. I trained, helped lead drills, completed DOBO responsibilities, and taught skill work for 10 days to the elite hopefuls. At the conclusion of the Minicamp, the final roster spots were chosen and the team headed down to Mexico for the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Aug. 23, 2021. The USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team went on to win the gold medal at the 2021 FIBA Americas Championship in Xalapa, Mexico. I also had the opportunity to work under St. Edward (Ohio) Head Coach Eric Flannery and Gonzaga (Washington D.C.) Head Coach Steve Turner.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In the field of training, there are many different types of trainers. I feel like my greatest aspect is my attention to detail and immediate impact. I always tell players I can only teach what I know, and having played at the levels where my athletes aspire to compete, I only teach things that I can demonstrate. A lot of trainers have their own methods and tactics on what they want to teach, which is a great thing because you can learn a lot of different things from a lot of different people. Training wise, I personally feel that if you utilize the same tactics that I teach in your everyday game, you will be able to see beneficial improvement through the small details that are taught. In my book, less is more, so my philosophy is we perfect what we can use and be quick and efficient at it. Something that also sets me apart from a lot of trainers in this business is my enthusiasm and the way I advocate for women’s basketball. The reason why I enjoy working with women is because I see my teachings being utilized more immediately in the women’s game. There is less ego and it is easier to mold and add to their tool box. It is no secret that women’s basketball is far more fundamental than men’s basketball. In my experience, I have been able to see clients utilize and try different tactics and movements of the body that may seem more unorthodox in the women’s game, and they are still able to have great success. As a trainer, nothing is more rewarding than an athlete sending me a video of a move they did during a game that we worked on in training, or an athlete sending me a video of an NBA or WNBA player that they look up to doing a move that we worked on in the weeks prior. I like to play to the player’s strengths, so just because Steph Curry shoots 10 threes a game, you will not see us focus on that in a training session as a Grassroots player.
Something that sets me apart from other trainers is being able to connect with my athletes. They are able to see me around local gyms, play with me, and play against me. The fact that I am well-known on a first name basis in gyms all around my community separates me from other trainers. Being available to athletes not just for training, but recruiting questions, life advice, family issues, etc. is crucial in today’s society. I was able to help 100% of my high school seniors (6) receive interest or offers from various levels of college institutions, even after not having a season during the Covid pandemic. This was purely through connections, marketing their talents, and giving them a platform to perform when Northern California was shut down and they were being overlooked in the basketball world. With my background in sociology and working as a community outreach worker for the County of Alameda, the inner city is a part of me just as much as it is for the youth, which is a major reason why I take pride in Oakland, California and the greater Bay Area.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When we are not in the gym, some of the best places to hit up are hidden gems in Oakland and San Francisco, CA. I travel to SoCal a lot as well. In Oakland, there is the popular Lake Merritt District, which is known for its unique and diverse culture and vibes. Another place would be Everett & Jones BBQ, which is located in downtown Oakland. In San Francisco, one of the most famous teams in America is the SF Giants, and if you’re lucky enough to visit during the Battle of the Bay between the Oakland A’s and SF Giants, that is always a fun game to attend as well.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Growing up, my father was always an advocate for leveling the playing field for inner-city youth throughout the Bay Area. My dad focused his efforts in Oakland and Richmond, where so many talented athletes come from. This molded me into having the same mindset, especially seeing the benefits of how sports can change the narrative and level the playing field. This shaped my passion to help the youth achieve greatness no matter where they come from. My way of interacting with the youth has always been easy through sports. My brother, Giles Chapman, who is the owner and founder of Xclusive Speed, one of the biggest names in the sports training field. He inspired me to believe in myself and start my own brand. My brother and mom and dad, we had many talks about the business that he started, so gaining knowledge and helping him gave me insight on what to prepare for. Having a solid support system from my family was a major part of my success, and being taught at an early age to go out and believe in what you want helped me become the entrepreneur I am today.
There are a few people in the basketball professional development world that have helped me. One of the few top skills specialists that I look up to in the player development business is Phil Handy, Asst. Basketball Coach for the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers and World Champion Toronto Raptors. He is also an Oakland, CA native and we have shared multiple conversations and interactions via social media. He is the most heralded NBA trainer who influences millions of people through his training app, as well as world renowned players. Not only does he train the Lakers, he takes initiative to have a key voice in the WNBA and women’s game during the off-season. That in itself is inspiring to me personally. His training philosophy consists of being able to demonstrate the moves and not just talk to the players, which is something I pride myself heavily on. I want my athletes to feel connected to me and believe in my teachings, just as much as I believe in them. I pride myself on competition because that builds a strong bond. This is why I always incorporate live drills and gameplay situations because I feel like that is the best way to teach and directly execute the things we work on. I have some of my girls going up against my boys and trust me it’s not as uneven as you may think. Working with other top trainers like Alex “A Train” Austin with Adidas basketball and learning from DJ Sackman, I have taken small components from these top trainers and continued to learn and master my craft everyday.
Instagram: @ccskillsacademy // personal: @cc2saucie
Limitless Photos -Fernando Fernandez