Interview with Justin Kittredge, President of Shooting Touch

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Updated: May 3, 2013

In early April, I was lucky enough to attend a sports career conference put on by TPG Sports Group in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The two day conference was unbelievably run and very informative, and a portion of the event consisted of panelists from diverse spectrums of the sports world providing the audience with details concerning their various backgrounds.

 

One individual who participated in the “Sales & Marketing Panel” at the conference was Justin Kittredge, and afterwards I had the opportunity to chat with him briefly about his company.  Justin is the President and Founder of Shooting Touch, Inc., an outfit dedicated to using the game of basketball to better the lives of children on and the court.  As a lifelong basketball fan myself, it was enlightening to learn about this organization and discover how Justin and his team’s passion for the sport is working to positively impact numerous youngsters in the Boston area and beyond.

 

Last week, Justin and I talked in greater detail about Shooting Touch, discussing its formation, current direction, and future plans, along with some of the people and programs that are working in concert to promote its message.

 

PAC:  What was the genesis behind the formation of Shooting Touch, Inc.?

 

Justin Kittredge:   I worked for Reebok for about twelve years, but about seven years ago or so I just really wanted to find a way to give back to the city of Boston.  I didn’t think there was a lot of really good coaching and mentoring going on in the city.  I think you had people that would specialize in one or the other, but not really both.  We really just started with coaching a handful of kids in the city of Boston, and it slowly grew over the last seven years to now its camps & clinics, tournaments, sports conferences, and obviously the Sabbatical Program.

 

PAC:  How are the roughly ten events a year your group puts on constructed or run? How do you get participants?

 

Justin Kittredge:  We work with a number of organizations that have kids in there who want to put in some extra work, kids who want to learn more and train harder.  AAU is at the point where there is not a lot of skill development going in, it’s very much just kind of go out there and play ball.  A focus of ours is trying to add a much more in-depth service during the spring, summer, and fall time that isn’t really provided by the AAU programs out there right now. 

 

Clinics start at 3rd grade, and we go all the way up to elite college players.  So it’s all different age groups (both boys and girls), really focusing on the fundamentals and skill development, as well as strength and conditioning. 

 

PAC:  Who runs the clinics?

 

Justin Kittredge:  I’ll run some, and we have a coaching staff that will run others.  We bring up Coach Hurley from St. Anthony’s and do a youth camp together every summer – it’s a 3rd-8th grade camp.  We have kids from all over New England that come to it, and we were actually able to give away forty scholarships for it as well so we are able to have kids from underprivileged backgrounds be able to experience learning from a coach like coach Hurley and what he is able to bring/offer.

 

PAC:  How many kids typically go through the clinics each year?

 

Justin Kittredge:  Well, if you include our overseas affiliates there are about 10,000 kids that go through our programs each year.  The Sabbatical Program is what we do overseas, and we give away a $25,000 scholarship to a college graduating senior.  For eleven months they have to basically use the game of basketball to create social change – so they will coach basketball, build basketball courts, educate youth in Rwanda (we are focusing on Rwanda for the next three to five years), and they’ll educate on HIV prevention, leadership, and on a number of other educational platforms.  And the goal is to kind of create a sustainable society using the game of basketball to help foster growth and social change. 

 

PAC:  Have you been getting a positive reaction from the basketball community at large?

 

Justin Kittredge:  Oh yeah.  We have an amazing group of Board of Directors, from NBA players like Danilo Gallinari to Hall of Famers like Jackie MacMullan, Bob Hurley, and Wayne Embry, to other basketball personalities like Fran Fraschilla from ESPN.  We also have Jay Triano, who’s the head coach of the Canadian National team and assistant coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, Sam Presti (GM of the Oklahoma City Thunder) and a handful of others.  We’ve created these connections throughout the years and they really believe in our mission – what we are trying to do and wanting to give back.

 

PAC:  What are your future plans for Shooting Touch?

 

Justin Kittredge:  We really plan on expanding the sports conference that we have.  It is a one day event with a number of panels – some really high level people speaking throughout the day.  We’re also looking to bring what we do over in Rwanda to Boston.  So we’re looking to have a stateside kind of Sabbatical Program for some individuals to be able to really focus every single day on coaching/educating/and mentoring in the city of Boston.  We are in the process of putting that plan together right now. 

 

PAC:  Is there a lot of interest in the Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program?

 

Justin Kittredge:  Yeah we started off with only about 17 applicants the first year, and now we are up to over 150 that came in just this past year.  It has grown every year.  It is really just about building awareness – once people understand that this opportunity is out there, that’s when the application pool just continues to grow and grow even more. 

 

 

We ended our conversation with Justin giving his take on the NBA playoffs, and though he is fan of the Boston Celtics, he doesn’t see how Miami can lose.  “I think they have too many weapons and they’ve finally figured it all out,” Justin said.  “They have all these role players that really make up a great team, plus they have the stars.  I’m not saying for years to come – but for this year I really don’t see anyone challenging them except for maybe OKC or San Antonio, but in my opinion that’s it.”

 

 

For more information on Shooting Touch and the variety of programs they offer, please check out their website.    

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