Leadership

Growing Champions for Life Founder works with sports parents and coaches to improve the youth sports experience

David Benzel is an author, athlete, sport-family coach, and sought-after speaker for organizations nationwide. He brings an athlete's discipline, a coach's inspiration, and a parent's practical experience to teach parents and coaches skills for succeeding in the athletic arena.

David’s 15 years as a corporate leadership coach for companies like Nextel, Sprint, Allstate, Balfour Beatty and The Villages established him as an expert in the principles of influence and coaching. And his 10 years as a commentator for ESPN and the Outdoor Life Network provide his audiences with vivid insights about the challenges of sport.

The Growing Champions for Life philosophy was built from David’s corporate leadership experience, his own notable athletic career as a champion water skier, and his years coaching others to help them reach peak performance in their athletic endeavors, gain self-confidence and improve their overall life skills.

David has accomplished a great deal throughout his business, athletic and coaching career, but he describes raising children as the ultimate learning experience. Raising two elite-level athletes has given David boundless passion and hundreds of positive strategies for connecting with our athletic children. Daughter Tarah was a Jr. World Water Skiing Champion and is now a professional wake boarder. Son Tyler received a baseball scholarship to Florida Southern College and went on to play professionally for the Newark Bears.

David’s athletic and coaching career helped establish him as a leading expert in water skiing and cycling, for which he received numerous accolades, including:

  • Eight time national water skiing champion
  • Five time national record holder in water ski jumping
  • Coach of the US Water Ski Team, winning the World Championships
  • Coached Cyndi Benzel, (spouse) currently co-holder of a national water ski slalom record
  • Competitor in Master level cycling winning five races in Florida
  • Recipient of the Award of Distinction by the Water Skiing Hall of Fame of USA Water Ski

David has been an invited presenter at national conferences to help organizations deliver his important training to coaches and parents.

These include:

  • USA Gymnastics National Congress
  • Professional Tennis Registry Coaching Symposium
  • US Tennis Association Coaches Symposium
  • US Tennis Association Tennis Teachers Conference
  • USA Figure Skating National Championships Peak Performance Series
  • Professional Skaters Association National Coaches Conference
  • US Youth Soccer National Coaches Conference
  • USA Swimming National Age Group Coaches Conference

David is dedicated to helping sports parents and coaches incorporate positivity and persistence into their communication with the young athletes who count on their encouragement and guidance. For child athletes, sports performance and personal growth is a journey that must start on the individual level, and requires persistence and direction every step of the way from the adults who interact with them.

Bobby-HeadshotBobby Martin

As Director of Development for Growing Champions for Life, Bobby Martin works with companies, foundations and associations to foster new relationships and continue expanding the Growing Champions for Life community.

Bobby met David Benzel in 2009 at a U.S. Figure Skating conference and immediately became an avid follower of Growing Champions for Life. After spending over 15 years as an Olympic-level coach, Bobby gained extensive understanding of the importance of a healthy parent-athlete relationship, as well as the influence a coach has in shaping the character, confidence, and ethics that stay with athletes long after their sport journey Is over.

Bobby is a graduate of Boston College’s School of Education and holds a Master’s Degree in Digital and Media Arts from Emerson College. Previously, Bobby has worked with MCI Telecommunications, as well as ran The Tommy Martin Fund, which is named in honor of his son.

Bobby and his wife, Barbara, have two daughters, Bella and Bridgette.