RALEIGH, N.C. — Marcus Hodges was about to embark on a world tour to train the next generation of basketball players when COVID-19 hit.

What You Need to Know

  • Amid the pandemic, demand for virtual sports workouts has exploded

  • Research firm, Allied Market Research predicts the virtual fitness industry will grow from $6 billion in 2019 to $59 billion by 2027

  • A Raleigh basketball trainer was surprised by the interest he got when coronavirus suddenly forced him to shift his training online

“I was going from Serbia to Israel, to Beijing, Hong Kong to Guangdong. That was going to definitely build my brand,” says the former Lenoir-Rhyne University player.

With camps canceled overseas and his local clients confined at home, Hodges had to pivot.

“How I adapted was bringing online training, personal training through your computer live on Zoom,” says Hodges, who won two state championships at Wakefield High School.

From his garage, upward of 200 players around the world join in for virtual ball handling classes, far surpassing his tempered expectations.

Through the drills he hopes to teach young players about the game and themselves.

(Credit: Separation Team Facebook)

“It’s learning those lessons through basketball so we become better human beings," says Hodges, who has helped run basketball camps alongside familiar names likes Dwyane Wade and C.J. McCollum.

(Credit: Separation Team Facebook)

With restrictions easing and gyms reopening, Hodges and his players are bouncing back to the hardwood. He’s not sure how long he’ll continue the Zoom lessons, but if this is the end, he walks away with a new tool in his training arsenal.

"Everyone out there, be the best version of yourself , have fun, enjoy life, we’ll get through this,” Hodges says.

His clients include about 75 local players and hundreds of players internationally.  Hodges hopes to one day open his own gym.