“Have fun. I just have fun with the kids. Just talk to them. Most people don’t let these kids talk, they talk for them. So I just talk to them and try to find out what they like.” ~ Coach Jordan on how he approaches getting the best out of his athletes.
Be Humble… the words Jordan Matulevich, coach and owner of Be Humble Gym, first heard when trying to come up with a name for the new training facility he was dreaming up in his head. Quite a fitting name considering the humble beginnings Jordan came up from.
After battling addiction and living through some of the hardest times that addiction can bring, Jordan managed to come out on the other side a winner, but now that he had made it there, he wanted to find a way to give back. Jordan found himself coaching as a volunteer for special needs athletes but when the event was over it wasn’t for Jordan.
For a lot of disabled athletes competing in the games means training begins and ends when the events do. Jordan wanted to provide something more than just a few months of activity for the kids who were competing and thus, Be Humble Gym was born.
Starting out with just a handful of athletes Be Humble Gym has grown to host nearly 30 disabled athletes and continues to grow in size. It’s not just the training that Jordan offers that makes Be Humble Gym a great place for these athletes to train, it’s what Jordan brings to the table in terms of coaching that really sets the Be Humble Gym apart.
When I asked Jordan what he feels is the right strategy and approach to coaching each of his kids, whose disabilities can range from amputees to severe autism, he said, “Have fun. I just have fun with the kids. Just talk to them. Most people don’t let these kids talk, they talk for them. So I just talk to them and try to find out what they like.”
Jordan stresses how important it is that when the kids come to his gym they feel comfortable right away. From the topics they talk about to the music they play in the gym, each athlete steps into the gym and owns the place. If the Spongebob Squarepants theme song is what one of the athletes loves to listen to, it’s what’s blasting on the gym speakers as they train.
And not all of Jordan’s athletes can compete in every event. This means that each of his coaching methods must be adapted to suit the athlete and their specific needs but Jordan has no problem doing just that for each and everyone of them. Jordan says it’s more about building confidence than it ever is about trying to lift more weights.
In the example he gives me, one of his athletes can only perform the bench press. So they head down to the gym, they hit the bench press, and then they spend the rest of their training session hanging out and talking about anime. For a lot of these kids, coming to see Jordan isn’t just about training, it’s about coming to see and hang out with one of their best friends.
So where is Be Humble Gym going and what’s next for Jordan and his athletes? Staying humble and keeping at it. Jordan envisions a bigger gym and more equipment so that he can continue to provide exercises for the athletes and their specific needs. Not every kid can bench, not every kid can squat, not every kid can do every exercise. This makes it incredibly important that Jordan provide a wide variety of equipment for each his athletes.
It also means that the Be Humble Gym needs as much support as we can provide and the great news is there are a ton of ways to provide it. For starters, grabbing a Be Humble Gym t-shirt and helping raise awareness goes a long way. The gym also has an open GoFundMe page and donations go right back into the gym and the athletes to continue to provide them a place to grow their strength, speed, and confidence.