The Former College Basketball Player Helping Young Girls Succeed
“Getting them to see themselves beyond basketball is what we’re working on. We’re going to have them on the court, but we’re also going to have them off the court.”
Ashley Roberts is the founder of Competitive Edge, a youth basketball program that offers teams, leagues, camps, and training for young girls. The former University of Texas at Austin (UT) basketball player started her business in 2016 to share her passion for basketball and inspire the youth, both on and off the court.
Hello Alice talked with Roberts about where her love for basketball comes from, how she started the business, and why she incorporates mentorship and life skills into her programs. What follows are her own words, lightly edited for length and clarity.
Owner, Competitive Edge | Austin, Texas
I come from a basketball family. My dad played at San Angelo State, my brother played at Texas Tech, and my younger brother is currently playing at Prairie View A&M. We always have been around basketball, love basketball. I like to joke and say that my first words were “ball.” We’ve just been a basketball family, and I just loved it.
I was a UT basketball player. My passion has always been basketball. Right after college, I knew that I wanted to coach young girls. While I was a high school coach, I was doing trainings and things on the side. I started with just doing trainings for girls only. Then, I went from training to doing camps, camps to having teams, teams to running leagues. Then, I went full-time with my business. And that was how I started Competitive Edge.
I’m one of those that’s a risk-taker. I wouldn’t say it was scary starting the business; I think anything new is different. But I’m very wise about my decision, and I made sure that I had enough money saved. I made sure that I had clientele to make sure that my business was going before I made the jump.
We try to do a lot of things different than other programs. A lot of programs just focus on basketball, while we focus on the student-athlete as a whole. Our big thing is student first, athlete second. So, we have different community service events. We do live coaching with the girls. Getting them to see themselves beyond basketball is what we’re working on. We’re going to have them on the court, but we’re also going to have them off the court.
I’m most proud of being able to start the business from the ground up, being able to see the impact that I’m making on the community, especially with young females. We’re really big on giving our girls the opportunities to go to college for free via scholarships, giving opportunities for college coaches to look at them.
In the basketball and sports industry, I find a lot of females are kind of pushed to the side. So being able to make that impact of being an all-female program and allowing these girls to see themselves that’s bigger than the sport and feel a part of something — I think that’s what keeps me going.