Sid Sharma has spent the past 10 years quietly becoming one of the top basketball trainers in the country.
He opened Explosive Athletes Institute in 2009, a performance training facility that focuses on the biomechanics of the human body in relation to sports, injury prevention and basketball development.
“I want my niche to be the players that want to get to the next level,” Sharma said. “I thought it was important to find a specific niche to specialize in. For me, that was focusing on an athlete’s movement and explosiveness when playing a sport.”
Sharma graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in biomedical engineering before obtaining his master’s in mechanical engineering. He spent five years as a research assistant at ASU’s Human Motor Control Laboratory. It was there that he researched how the central nervous system controls movement in the human body.
He also began building his network of athletes.
“I didn’t come into this business with any relationships with athletes or coaches,” Sharma said. “I didn’t play sports growing up, I was in to weight lifting and strength training.”
Sharma preferred to look at the performance aspect of weight training rather than body building. The son of Kulbhushan K. Sharma, the medical director and founder of Arizona Vein & Laser Institute in the Valley, Sharma gained interest in the mechanics of the how the body works at a young age.
He lifted weights throughout college, and eventually started to have athletes attending ASU approach him about his workout regimen. But instead of explaining how to lift more, he wanted to understand the type of movements each athlete had to do in their respective position.
“It doesn’t take science to get someone’s heart rate up,” Sharma said. “I didn’t want to be just another trainer. I wanted to focus on how each individual played the game and carve my own little niche into this industry.”
Sharma began approaching athletes he saw around the Valley. Some he approached in various gyms to explain how he could help them train. Eventually, he started to attend NBA Summer League games to further build his network.
He started with professionals that played overseas. As word spread about his training, his client list grew.
Today, Sharma has trained hundreds of college and professional athletes. From Phoenix Suns’ center DeAndre Ayton to former Arizona Cardinal and current Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive lineman Calais Campbell, Sharma has trained athletes at the highest level.
“It’s always been one small step at a time,” Sharma said. “It hasn’t gone straight to a veteran NBA player like LeBron James. I believe I’m still in my baby step phase.”
While he tends to train more professional athletes on a daily basis, Sharma has also tapped into some of the prep basketball talent around the Valley.
He recently trained former Pinnacle High School star and University of Arizona signee Nico Mannion, as well as several players from Arizona Compass Prep in Chandler, including 7-foot-2 University of Maryland signee Chol Marial.
Sharma has also trained former and current players from Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee, including seniors Osasere Ighodaro, James Gossett and Elijah Brinkley.
“He’s the only person I’ve sent players to for training, ever,” said Gino Crump, Desert Vista’s basketball coach. “I usually keep all of my training in house. I’m the one who does the individual plyometrics and strength training. I always tell people Sid is the best kept secret in Arizona in terms of basketball.”
As part of EAI’s new Community Give Back Initiative, Sharma and other members of his staff were guest speakers on Friday, June 7 at San Tan Charter School’s basketball camp in Gilbert.
Sharma wanted to help the kids understand the training it takes to get to the next level.
“We emphasize that they shouldn’t just train to train,” Sharma said. “There are different methods of training for whatever it is they want to accomplish. I see it as a way to give back to the community.”
Despite his growth in the basketball community here in the Valley and country, Sharma prefers to still maintain a low profile. He continues his day-to-day operations out of a small building near Arizona State University in Tempe.
There’s no signs on the outside of the complex indicating Sharma’s gym. In fact, the only identifier is his logo, “EAI,” on the lone window facing other businesses. Even then, however, there’s no additional details explaining the meaning of the acronym.
But that’s how he likes it.
“People can drive by here and think it’s just some machinery shop or something,” Sharma said. “I’m not big on promoting myself, whether it be on social media or anything like that.
“I only use stuff like that as my resume to show athletes what I do. That’s just what I prefer.”