Sparking Relationships, Igniting Dreams 8

In asking Ignite owner Lars Hanson about where he is today and the events that have brought him there, a warm smile emerges, and he candidly says, “I don’t know if I can take credit for the growth of our training program. I feel like God had this whole plan orchestrated long before I took the first step.”

Within a few minutes of speaking with him, it is apparent that he is not only doing something he loves but something that has been divinely appointed to him. However, this path has been speckled with adversity worthy of building character and strengthening resilience. For Lars, this trip has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Lars has always had an athletic spirit. He enjoys the competitiveness, the challenges and the camaraderie that comes with participating in sports. So, when he was cut from a youth basketball team for lacking speed, strength and stamina, his morale was bruised. Instead of focusing on being bitter, he concentrated on becoming better. He carefully researched effective strength training techniques and attended training camps.

He started running track in middle school and went undefeated in several events. He credits his coaches, Gunn and Waters, who he notes breathed life into him and imparted him with their wisdom. This training was clearly paying off, and Lars began coaching his younger brother who soon reaped great benefits. This led Lars to start a conditioning program during the summer of his seventh-grade year where he worked closely with 12 kids in his backyard. His initiative has grown consistently every year for the last 11 years. He never thought he would be able to pursue coaching full time before attending college, but he is now passionately coaching every day.

Following his graduation from Kansas State University, the humble beginnings of Ignite continued to grow. Lars coached out of his 400-square-foot garage for 18 months. It became clear that his business was going to continue to grow, and Lars and his wife, Bekah, knew that they needed to procure an accommodating space. Again, God put the answer in his lap and provided twice the square footage he originally sought. Ignite had a new home.

Lars and his wife prayed for every piece of equipment, and, through creative financing, were able to obtain all the equipment needed for a successful business. God had his hand fully in this business, down to the penny, and because they trusted God with the little things, he has delivered in the most miraculous ways. Ignite now employs seven coaches in the summer and trains more than 300 athletes daily. Lars is quick to credit not only God but also his wife in supporting and having faith in his dream.

Lars’ mantra in understanding his clients is to know “what makes them tick, what tickles them and what ticks them off.”

He believes in preparing them on a heart level. At Ignite there are no monthly memberships and training is done by semester in line with the sport they are playing. He personally knows his clients on a deep level and supports them in and out of the gym.

“He is very kind and cares about the success of all his athletes,” three-year patron Reid McDowell says. “He comes to our games and watches us perform.”

In asking Lars about his life’s successes, he refers to a John Wooden quote from his heavily studied book, Inside Out Coaching by Joe Ehrmann. It states, “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

Lars’ motivation comes from knowing he can breathe life into those who may be struggling physically, emotionally or spiritually. He is a humble servant who acknowledges his accomplishments are in direct correlation with the wise counsel he has received. Now he is simply returning the favor.

“In my athletic career, I have had some rewarding moments but also some significant setbacks,” he says. “I’ve had some successes and failures, but ultimately I find my joy in knowing the Lord.”

For more information, visit IgniteYourGame.org.

"He is very kind and cares about the success of all his athletes. He comes to our games and watches us perform."