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What is Handshake America?

Kids can learn many life lessons from their athletic experiences - including the value of having a good coach.  With that premise, Handshake America identifies coachable student-athletes with grit and connects them with successful people that help translate lessons from the field to success in life.  We coach - not "mentor" - the students to learn the true meaning of success and how they will achieve it with Perseverance, Passion, Positivity, People and Presence - which includes giving a good handshake!

What's in it for the students?  Those selected get to take part in a one-year Program with students from other area high schools to see many examples of what 'very good' looks like while learning from their individual Coach and team sessions.  They also receive a significant college scholarship.

What's in it for the Handshake Coaches?  Without requiring a lot of time, they get to meaningfully and directly 'give back' to a student who wants to be coached.  They also build valuable relationships with other like-minded Handshake Coaches.  

What's in it for the community?  First, we are developing tomorrow's leaders.  Secondly, because each school is limited to just one male and one female student, the Program spans across schools from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

"If he doesn't give me a firm handshake and look me in the eye, I don't even have to go to the game"

Long-time Major League Baseball scout Joe Morlan Sr. looked for more than just talent in high school prospects. Before games, Mr. Morlan would take time to meet teachers to learn what kind of person the player was off the field.  He would then arrange to meet the prospect before the game because he said, "If he doesn't give me a firm handshake and look me in the eye, I don't even have to go to the game."  Mr. Morlan's story illustrates a fact that has been substantiated by research: People form impressions based on your handshake.  It's a skill that can be coached, practiced, and developed.

Our 5Ps of Success

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden spent 14 years developing a philosophy and definition of success in sports and in life. He also developed his Pyramid of Success to help communicate and to identify the essential building blocks.  His philosophy was the inspiration behind Handshake America's 5Ps that are used in our Program