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Meet John Victor Cruz of JVC Training in Panorama City

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Victor Cruz.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
For me, my life has always been about basketball. I love basketball and don’t know where I would be today without it. I’ve started playing it at a really young age. I may not have been the best player but I have studied the game for pretty much my life. Sure I did not play at the highest level but I have worked we players who are trying to make playing basketball their job. I’ve always wanted to be a coach and help others improve their game. So when I did not make a team at my high school, I decided that I wanted to stay in touch with it and became team manager for the junior varsity team. Being a team manager help me learn from different coaches and players, which all have helped me get to this point in my life. I kept being team manager for the men’s basketball team at my college, Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. There I helped with some of my teammates skill development and it made me realize when I graduated that I wanted to help players, no matter what skill level they are at, get better at basketball. I studied many professional trainers to help me understand what it takes to help players improve. Being a trainer to me means that I get to help someone get one step closer to achieving their dream, whether it be playing professional basketball or just getting to the next level in their career. I’m in this because I want to help players succeed in their career. Some people think it is easy being a basketball trainer, but it takes a lot of time, hard work, effort, and sacrifice. Basketball training is getting a little main stream because of social media now and you see all these videos of players doing these crazy drills, but for me; I like to keep it simple and focus on game type situations with reading how the defense plays you. Today, I have trained many players from NCAA Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA, high school, elementary, and professional overseas. I would not be here today without those players taking a chance on me. I help players create their own opportunities or what I like to say, #makeyourownwave.

Has it been a smooth road?
I wish it has been a smooth road, but that’s the beauty in this. I feel like if it was easy, then I would not be learning as a much. I would rather take a harder road than a smooth road because you learn how difficult your journey is going to be and if you are willing to find a way to get to the top. I know it’s going to take long nights and hard work to succeed. Finding a gym or place to use is the biggest struggle right now and would always be. I know this might seem cliché but money is always a struggle. I’ve been doing basketball training for about 2-3 years now, and I still work two different jobs along with my basketball training brand to help support myself and my family. Its not two jobs where I’m at a desk and I’m sitting. These two other jobs along with my business, require me to be standing for about 10 hours and demonstrating exercises. Both jobs help with my training because they have to do with personal training and physical therapy. My main focus is my business but I’m willing to work hard to hopefully by next year to only have my business be the only job I have. I know for some trainers who do charge a lot to train players. They feel like their skill and experience is reasonable for their price, which I totally understand. It’s just that for me, I’m all about the players. I’ll only charge like $15 for a 2-hour session. I know eventually the money will come and I’m not worried about the money. I’m focused on how can I help these players maximize their potential. Personally a big struggle for me was that about a year ago, I tore my ACL and meniscus in my right knee for a second time playing in a game and had surgery on it to get it fix. Tearing my ACL again did take its toll on me and make me question if I wanted to continue with the training and if I should just give up on basketball in general. But with the support from my family and the players I trained, made me want to get back to making this my career, I was not able to train players for about 3-4 months and when I was able to first get back to training I could not do as much I wanted to. But I was still able to help player while not being actually able to play basketball myself for a period of time. I recently just got cleared to play again and am thankful to everyone that made me work hard throughout this recovery process.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I help young athletes that play basketball improve their game to help them get to the next chapter in their career. That next chapter could be playing college basketball, getting the professional contact, or just getting better at basketball in general. I have my drills specialize in learning how to play in game-type situations with keeping the movements simple. A 2-hour basketball training session with me is going to focus on a lot shooting the basketball in-game situations, reading the defense, and conditioning. I do a lot of drills where a player is moving the help condition him or her to different situations in a game. All my players like how most of the drills helps sets them up for different situations in the game and makes them think a little more. I like to challenge players’ basketball IQ in training session that way in a real game they are able to react quickly that situation comes up. I feel like my basketball training is one of the better ways to help players improve. Don’t get me wrong there are many methods in basketball training but mine I feel is the most game-like. When I first training a player, I do a little interview process to pick their brain a bit. I want to see what type of player he or she thinks they are, what his or her strengths and weaknesses are, how the team they are on plays, and what his or her role is on that team. When I know all that information, it helps me tailor my training session to maximize what the player needs. I’m not going to do the same drills for every player because every player is different and their role on a team could be different. For example, a player could say that he a wing player that scores with the ball in his hands or by slashing. So I’ll have him go through drills like attacking with the ball or off a cut, but I’ll also do a lot of shooting to help him get comfortable shooting the ball and adding to his style of play.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel like LA is a great place for businesses like mine. In the basketball training business, there’s a lot of good trainers out here in LA. Many basketball trainers help one another because we all want to help players improve and every one specializes in different things. If I feel like a player would benefit on training with me and another trainer, I’m all for it because the other trainer might see something that don’t see. I don’t want a player to only train with me because I can only to so much. I’m not going to say you can only train with me. I feel like LA has a great community of basketball trainers to help someone get started out here. In LA, the basketball community is very tight and everyone is willing to help one another.

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