October 2016 Partner SportsDog Award: Team Esface
SportsDog Value: Student of the Game
Award Winners: Oladele Sobomehin, Olatunde Sobomehin, and Carlos Villicana
Founded by brothers Oladele and Olatunde Sobomehin, Esface has evolved from a clothing company, to an entertainment and marketing agency, to now one of the most premier youth basketball programs on the West Coast.
Before that all started, Olatunde was the first walk-on to the Stanford Basketball program. He played under Mike Montgomery during the 2002-03 season and was voted Most Inspirational by his teammates.
After his playing days, Olatunde and his brother Oladele teamed up to start Esface. It started as a clothing company, evolved into an entertainment agency, and is now Team Esface Athletics and Basketball. The youth basketball program consists of skills development training programs, AAU teams, camps, clinics, and tournaments. They are based out of Palo Alto, California.
In the upcoming year, Team Esface will service between 800-1,000 youth basketball players throughout their programs. The staff is always looking to develop partnerships and learn more about how they can improve not just the skills of youth basketball players, but their quality of life as well.
“Lucid is a renown sports psychology company that trains a lot of NFL and NBA athletes. One of the ways we’re excited about working with them is how they can really help make our coaches more well-rounded. In turn, this will ensure our athletes are seeing development in the mind, which in turn will lead to on-the-court development.”
He continued. “You want to follow steps in coaching. Control your controllables- attitude, effort, and focus. It’s not about how many points or rebounds you record, but how you feel at the end of the game. That’s what we’re teaching.”
This fall they launched the ReaLeague, a fall basketball program dedicated to the development of the youth athlete through skills, IQ, style, and coach interaction. Carlos is excited about this new Bay Area community initiative.
“The ReaLeague consists of 300-400 young athletes that is based around the idea of attacking your weaknesses. First, we have the kid identify what his or her weaknesses are. Then, we create smart goals surrounding those weaknesses.”
Everything that Team Esface does is methodical. From creating amazing YouTube videos, to running off-season training camps, to implementing sports psychology in developmental leagues, everything the staff decides to do all comes back to their mission.
“Our mission is to develop athletes through the mind, the body, and the skill. It’s impossible to have the third without completely realizing the potential of the first two. That’s what makes Esface different,” Carlos said.
Esface’s ReaLeague has seen amazing feedback from both parents and athletes. Carlos understands the capability of the power of the mind and how it relates on the court.
“Kids are so afraid of failing or not meeting their goals that sometimes this can led to frustration. We have a saying here. ‘Failure is necessary to succeed.’ And one of our plays that we have for our mental strategy coaching is to get that through early and often.”
Carlos admits that it’s fun to see when that idea finally gets through to players. “When you see that risk and that breakthrough on the court, it’s just the most amazing feedback you can get from a visual standpoint.”
This holistic approach to basketball is rather new. However, it has seen Team Esface Athletics and Basketball rise to new heights.
“LeagueApps has been amazing over the past year. We’re spreading out to San Jose, the North Bay area, and some other locations as well. LeagueApps has been a big part of that.”
Carlos, Oladele and Olatunde have made a point to continue to learn from anyone on how to grow the game of basketball. True Students of the Game.