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It’s estimated that over 28.7 million children between the ages of eight and 17 play organized sports. This is more than the population of Texas, plus most of Oklahoma! Even if it seems like children can’t possibly be torn away from video games or cell phones, kids are actually finding themselves involved in teams, leagues, and after-school sports now more than ever, leaving a tremendous necessity for quality sporting goods.

Joel Scully volunteered as a coach for youth teams before he launched his own business. Recognizing a real need for a more personalized approach to youth and adult sports equipment, he decided to create something new, something different. Six years later, SteelLocker Sports has become a fierce competitor in the field of online youth sports apparel and equipment.

In the Q&A below, Joel, CEO of SteelLocker Sports, discusses the inspiration behind his businesses, gives some entrepreneur advice for moms and dads, and his personal advice for parents prepping for back-to-school games!

Q: What inspired you to pursue sport apparel and equipment outfitting?

A: SteelLocker Sports was founded on my desire to introduce youth sports into my children’s lives. Having volunteered as a head coach for many of my children’s teams throughout the years, I coached children on the importance of hard work while having fun. This philosophy is ever present in the way that we do business today.

Q: What sets you apart from your competition?

A: Superior customer service, on-time and accurate delivery and competitive prices. Although there are other sporting goods and apparel companies, our focus is supporting youth sports, so we really know our customers. Our team takes pride in their work and really goes the extra mile to make the customer happy. Not only do we have the best customer service team, we also have an outstanding fulfillment team that prides themselves with quick and accurate delivery of products. We offer quality products at competitive prices.

mouthguard Q: What are some words of wisdom you’d give to parents wanting to start their own online business?

A: Starting an online business has been fun, and I’ve learned a lot from this adventure. If you have a product idea and want to explore the option of selling online, then dive in! Companies like Volusion make it really easy to launch a website and will help get traffic to your store. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. You can start slow and learn as you go. There are a lot of free resources to help you get started as well, so use wisely. Lastly and very important, I would not have been able to start my own business without the support of my family. Be sure you have everyone on board and it’ll make your journey much better.

Q: What are some back-to-school must haves for kids playing sports?
A: One must haves for football this year is the Flavor Fusion Mouth Guard by Shock Doctor. They come in many colors and flavors and the kids really love them. For coaches, one of our top sellers is the X100 Wrist Coaches. Coaches really like these because they are perfect size for youth players and they are affordable. Coaches outfit their entire team with these to expedite the learning curve.

wristcoach Q: Do you have any youth sport tips parents should keep in mind?

A: Always try to keep things in perspective. The game needs to be fun, and kids will learn and enjoy the game much more, if we let them enjoy it. Building confidence as young men and ladies is much more important and it will carry them on and off the field. As a coach, we focused on building up the young players through effort. Every kids gives it differently and just as long your giving more then you did, you are making progress.

So here is the tip: When you’re watching your player in their game or practice and your taking notes on good things and not-so-good things you saw. When you’re getting into the car for the ride home and are ready to review the list, tear off the not-so-good things you saw and throw it away. Let your son or daughter hear all only the good things you saw. They will enjoy the ride home much better and will be motivated to get back to practice again!

Q: Lastly, as a father and a coach, what advice do you give your kids right before a big game?

A: Playing team sports is a great way to teach kids life lessons. When you are part of team and you believe in each other, you are playing for something bigger than yourself. The team is expecting you to play with discipline, to be unselfish, and to give your best effort when you’re in the game. If everyone on the team does their part, then we’re winners regardless of the final score.