The go-to guy

Mike Russell has made the CP3 Academy the place to be for basketball skill development in the area.

The go-to guy
July 28
11:00 2020

Over the last few years, Mike Russell has carved out quite a niche for himself in coaching and training. As lead developer at the CP3 Academy, Russell has become one of the most sought-after basketball minds in the city of Winston-Salem.

Russell is a native of Winston-Salem and a 2001 graduate of RJ Reynolds High School. He was the starting point guard on back-to-back state championship teams in 2000 and 2001. It was a dream of his to use basketball to provide for his family and to help develop the tremendous talent the area has to offer.

“The roots are deep and everything that I do is for Winston, because at the end of the day that’s what has shaped me and molded me to who I am today,” said Russell of his Winston-Salem roots. “I embrace my city and Winston is home and I love it.”

Russell works with young kids, high school, college and professional basketball players. He and his staff have made the CP3 Academy the place to be for advancing the skillset of any level basketball player.

Growing up, basketball was a family affair for Russell. Everyone from his father and brothers played the game at a high level as well. He credits his family for giving him the necessary skills to excel in the game of basketball.

“The neighborhood I grew up in was all about basketball and football, but basketball was something that came a lot more natural to me,” he said. “To be honest, the team concept is what made me fall in love with basketball. The feeling I got as a young kid passing the basketball and seeing a teammate hit a shot always made me feel good.”

Russell began his coaching career in 2007 and prefers to be called a coach rather than being called a trainer, because he says he never set out to be a trainer.  

“It just kind of developed from parents inquiring about their kids getting some individual work after practice or off days and it was something I kind of noticed I was good at,” he said about his beginnings in the coaching field. “I was just kind of a motivator and a positive presence around kids and it kind of just grew from there.

“Once I got my first couple of clients under my belt, it kind of just spread through word of mouth and the inquiries picked up and it is something that I have embraced and fell in love with. I always explain it as I am a coach that trains, I am not a trainer.”

For Russell, he prefers to go in depth with his coaching and training to make the skills he is teaching game relevant. He feels that is one of the main reasons why his techniques have resonated so well with his clients and players.

“A lot of these trainers will send you out there to do things, but they don’t take the time to really draw the relationship between what we are doing and making it transfer to game-like situations,” he said about his style of training.

Russell said he has been able to build the CP3 Academy brand by being able to build trust with the kids quickly, while also getting them to work out and have fun at the same time.

“I have the great balance of being able to push a kid to give maximum effort, but at the same time keeping it loose so that they are still having fun playing the game of basketball,” he said.

Russell said he does not do this for the credit, but instead wanted to give back to the game he loves so much. He says there were individuals who helped advance his game when he was younger, and he wants to do the same for the next generation as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what keeps kids coming back, is the fact that they understand I am genuinely for the kid and not out for a separate individual agenda,” he continued. “I think that goes a long way with kids, because kids are not stupid, I don’t care how young they are.

“It comes through in my effort, because I am going to get right in there and grind with my kids and get a sweat going. I am really going to show that I am in the trenches with them.”

One of the biggest thrills for Russell is when he is showing a kid a drill or skill and they finally get how that drill relates to how they are going to get better.  

“If a kid is working really hard to accomplish something and then they accomplish it, that is a great feeling for the moment,” he went on to say. “Let’s leave that moment and then see what else we can accomplish and get back to the grind. It’s a great feeling, but I like to bring them back to the grind, because you never want to get too high or get too low.

“I just try and keep the kids levelheaded and keeping them in that humble state, so they understand it’s so much work to be done. But this is what keeps me young on the job, because training is a grind. It’s no better feeling in the world just knowing not only a kid accomplished something, but that you had a big hand in helping that kid accomplish that.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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