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Meet Coach Rob Lihalakha of Life Above The Ball in Greater Houston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Coach Rob Lihalakha.

Coach Rob, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
During my time at McNeese State University, I walked away from the player side of basketball due to an ultimatum I was given. The ultimatum was to walk on and red-shirt and wait for my time to get on the court or stop playing basketball altogether because I had a job and playing basketball and working was prohibited. So, I decided to stop playing and immediately sought out information on being a women’s basketball manager and student assistant basketball coach. A week later, I took on the role and the rest was history. I had the opportunity to be in charge of film break down and exchange and spent countless hours dissecting the game of basketball. In the two years, I was in that coaching role our McNeese Cowgirls won the Southland Conference Championship two years in a row. After those two years, I moved back to Houston and was jobless.

So, as I applied to jobs I told myself, “ain’t no way I’m going to sit here in my mom’s house”. So I spent my last savings on gas to attend free seminars that I would find on Google and Eventbrite. Real quickly, I learned several different industries. From sales seminars to the most popular category, real estate. During these couple of months, I ended up landing a physical education coaching job in Houston ISD. While I was there, I had a bad taste in my mouth on what the student-athletes did not know. So, I started having conversations about the topics that were fresh in my head at that time and coincidentally it was sales, financial literacy, and real estate.

After two years of working in HISD and being compensated below what I felt I was worth (Considering my perceived value on what I was teaching) I decided, I might as well start a program where I was not limited on what I could teach. So I started Showcase Houston (Which is now Life Above The Ball). I started off with All-Star games to commemorate the city’s top talent. I figured to gain exposure; what better way than to honor the cities top players. After the first showcase, there was a huge buzz & 97.9 along with ABC13 picked up the event. During the planning for the next event, I decided to include branding, financial literacy, community leadership, and public speaking as key components to the upcoming events.

After year two of the showcases, Li-Ning, the Chinese sports apparel line became a sponsor and allowed me to become a brand ambassador here in America targeting grassroots basketball.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. I’ve heard so many “No’s”. I’ve also spent countless hours researching community resources only to get to different county buildings and hearing someone that doesn’t know their job say, “what’s that”. It’s crazy to see that happen because growing up when I met an authority or person with a title, I always assumed they knew their job but in my adult life, I realized a lot of folks did not. So I had to navigate entrepreneurship on my own and that was a bumpy road. Wasting time and money not knowing that certain things were not important yet. Cart before the horse. Overall I appreciate it though because I can’t be finessed or conned out of things.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Life Above The Ball – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Life Above The Ball mentors youth through sports. I am the athletic director of the organization and coordinate the events, seminars and mentorship sessions. I am known for my coaching abilities and mentorship style. I mentor through two-way conversations. I video all conversations because what I have noticed is the best way to mentor a mass amount of adolescents is by effectively mentoring the influential adolescent that all other youth look up to. So I hand pick who I feel can positively influence young minds and plant the appropriate seeds within the “Leader”. I am most proud when I see some of the alumni go off to college and reach back out and say how I’ve changed their life because they were able to foresee something or how they love the idea of investing in real estate. Those texts and/or awakenings are valuable to me because I know that they can plant the seed within someone else. What sets me apart from other organizations or coaches is my professionalism, level of creativity within marketing, and message. I don’t push out nonsense, am honest to the parents and student-athletes and transparent to the Houston community about my agenda.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
The best part about Houston is the opportunities. We are fortunate to have many industries that thrive here as well as the opportunity for diverse demographics to capitalize on them. The thing I like least is that not everyone from Houston supports Houstonians. They support talent and organizations from other cities before they support their own.

Pricing:

  • Consultation (College Recruiting) $60/hr
  • Basketball Skills Training Services $60/Hr
  • 1 0n 1 Mentorship $30/Hr
  • Branding Packages for Elite Level Athletes $300

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Gold & Eyes, Patrick Green Pictures, ABC13

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