Having just recently passed 11,500 followers on Instagram, Lazaro Talavera can be forgiven for being a bit reflective.
The 20-year old Miami native and Florida International University student is building a brand as one of South Florida’s more promising basketball trainers and content creators, and he knows he’s not alone in his journey.
“The social media growth, the love, and support I’ve received since starting back in September 2021 have genuinely been a surprise and huge blessing,” he said. “One of the best experiences about being a content creator is having people come up to me and say that ‘they’re watching my videos and are practicing what I’m teaching,’ which is truly all I can ask for.”
Last fall, Talavera began sharing tips, drills, and workouts on his Instagram page, and it took off. His tactics resonated with audiences near and far and helped players to elevate their games, resulting in significant growth on the platform.
He remains loyal to pushing boundaries, not only as a content creator, but also as a coach and trainer at Miami’s Elite Basketball Academy. As a result, content continues to pour onto his pages. And almost as impressive as his follower base, is the volume of “likes” his posts garner, many of which are in the 1,000s.
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One of the driving forces behind his success has been his ability to gain credibility with viewers by showing his techniques, but put to use in what he calls “game-speed situations.” He displays an array of offensive strategies, for instance, that can help athletes of many sizes and skill-sets, and that diversity has resonated among social-media publics. Showing smaller guards, for example, how to finish over taller defenders, a shooting workout to improve muscle memory, or even exercises to help improve an athlete’s explosives, are all on the table when you visit his page.
Aside from using video of his techniques at game speeds, he also posts NBA examples of the teaching principles in action.
“Watching the game alone teaches you so much. Some basketball players underestimate the benefit of just watching a lot of basketball and learning on your own,” Talavera said. “We also live in a time where we have so much information at the tips of our fingers.”
While the online growth as a trainer continues to trend upward, Talavera stays loyal to his coaching duties at Elite, as well.
Talavera got his start with Elite as part of its training academy when he was in sixth grade. He spent significant time in the facility’s system until he made his high school varsity team. But his connections in the training world began at Elite, and he often calls back on his relationship with coach Andres Cardona, Elite’s founder.
It was Cardona, in fact, who ultimately ended up offering Talavera a position as an Elite coach.
“My experience with [Talavera] differed from other trainers because you can truly tell with him, that it isn’t about the money, he really does care about his craft and the people he trains,” said Andrew Clemesha, a competitive adult-league player in Miami who briefly trained with Talavera. “Laz is one of the hardest working people I’ve had the opportunity of training with.”
This lasting impact on his players is one that he hopes to instill with everyone as he looks to improve his students as people first, and basketball players second.
“The best part of interacting with the players I coach is honestly being a role model for them, especially for the younger kids who look up to you as an example. Being a coach has so much more to it than just teaching a sport,” Talavera said. “To show them that various aspects that go into training, learning, and improving in basketball also translate into other things in life. Examples of this can be hard work, having the mentality to be the best, and so much more.”
Through both his content and his coaching style, Talavera’s passion for what he does reflects in the players that he trains. He makes it a point to use basketball as a tool to build relationships and inspire others, as well as to elevate their game. And it’s working.
“He’s a coach now and works on various different moves, and gives great advice to up-and-coming players or people that just want to improve their basketball skills,” said Sebastian Marquez, a long-time teammate of Talavera’s at Elite. “I’d say he’s very passionate about the game and continues to improve himself and helps kids and adults improve as well.”
But where does he go from here?
“I’ve always told myself and my family that no matter what, basketball is going to be in my life always in some way, shape, or form,” Talavera said. “One thing that’s for sure is that this game will always be a huge part of my life.”
A busy life, at that. As an FIU student, an Elite coach, and a social-media basketball influencer, Talavera has no shortage of options as to where he can take himself in the future.
It’s not surprising when you look at his content. His work speaks for itself.