Randy Orisma is the Director of FORCE Basketball, a recently formed youth program based in Manhattan. Randy, a Boston-native played basketball at St. John’s University in Queens.
Tell us a little about your background.
I’m originally from Boston, Massachusetts. I grew up in Cambridge and moved to Malden during my teenage years. If you know anything about Cambridge, it is a very athletic town, producing players such as Patrick Ewing and a couple of other high-level athletes. I grew up playing basketball, football, and track & field. I was a three-year Varsity basketball player at Malden High School. We played in the Greater Boston League (GBL) where I was an All-Star player, and during my junior year we made the State playoffs for the first time in 10 years.
Basketball has always been my passion and I pursued it relentlessly, making the St. John’s University Basketball Team in 2009-2010 as a walk-on for Coach Norm Roberts. Unfortunately, the next year, I tore my ACL & meniscus, and decided to redshirt. While I was injured, Steve Lavin became the head coach, and I decided to focus on my education, studying Sports Management and Business.
Before starting FORCE Basketball, I created a large following in Manhattan and the Hamptons. It all started with one kid. After I starte training him word of mouth spread. Everyone loved the fact that I’m a former Division I athlete, and the quality training I was providing.
In March of 2016, I met my partner’s Dean Gavindane and Jarenn Stewart. They are both Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists. Playing at such a high level, I realized Strength and Conditioning was very important, so I wanted to incorporate this with youth basketball. Hence, Force Basketball was created under the SuperMe Performance umbrella. The program started in September 2016 and we have 65 children in the program and growing rapidly. We’re looking to be the household name when you think of an elite New York City Travel/AAU Basketball Program.
How are youth sports different today than when you were young?
I believe the work ethic isn’t as high as it was before due to social media and other distractions. With these platforms, kids have created a self-absorption that is different than when I was growing up. Social media can be a good thing, but I believe youth should not be fully indulged in that world.
You played Division I basketball in college. What did it take for you to achieve that, especially coming out of Boston?
Playing at that level requires sacrifice and dedication. I had to say “no,” to hanging out with friends on the weekends, and parties, etc. I can remember many nights running up-stairs until I would vomit, because my trainer pushed me to the level where my body had to operate like a machine. I’m 5’10” and at this height you have play 94 feet non-stop.
Tell us a little about FORCE Basketball.
FORCE Basketball is the first & only youth Travel/AAU basketball program in New York City with Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists. Maximizing performance through age appropriate & basketball-specific exercise, our coaches teach biomechanics with a focus on injury prevention. We offer two 2 Seasons: Fall/Winter & Spring, as well as, Summer Camps and After-School programs.
Why is it important to have a strength and conditioning component as part of the FORCE Basketball program?
It allows our players to become better overall athletes, prepares them for the next level, and limit the risk of injury.
What do you look for when you hire a coach to work with kids?
The ability to relate with kids is key. Kids can tell first hand who is real and who is not. You have to have a balance of having fun and being disciplined.
What do you tell parents who are convinced their kids are destined to play Division I basketball?
I tell parents not to get caught up in all the hype of rankings, and other early categories for their kids. Kids should focus on building up their skills as much as possible. Also, I tell parents be careful with overworking your child, because the kid should want to achieve greatness him or herself and have down-time as well.
What are the particular challenges of doing what you do in NYC?
We have the best gym space locations and equipment in New York City, in addition to, a great group of athletes and parents. Once they get a taste of what we’re doing here, they don’t want to be anywhere else.
What was the best advice you got from a coach?
“There is another kid working just as hard if not harder, on his game, you better get the most out of every day.”
What is your most treasured sports possession?
My Custom FIBA International Basketball. I never use it, it’s the official game ball.
Which pro sports teams do you root for?
I love New York City sports but I’m from Boston. I love the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Revolution.
What is your favorite sports venue in New York City and why?
MSG, the Mecca. The venue gives you a feel that something spectacular is going to happen. It’s where legends are made.
Which could you give up easier, playing sports or watching sports?
I could give up watching sports for sure, as overseeing and growing this program is time consuming.
Favorite sports movie? Remember the Titans
How soon until Chris Mullin transforms St. John’s into a powerhouse?
It will take some time creating a culture and legacy, this all has to do with recruiting. I hope he and his coaching staff can bring the Red Storm back to legendary status soon.See more New York Sports Connection articles
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