Volume 74, Number 29 | November 24 - 30, 2004

Young athletes rev up at Velocity Sports Performance

Trainer has the technology to make them faster, better

By Judith Stiles

Talk to any youth sports coach and chances are he or she will tell you some children have speed in a game and some don’t, and all the coaching in the world cannot change that. However if you ask Duane Carlisle of Velocity Sports Performance, an innovative fitness and speed training program, he will tell you that “very few people, maybe 1 percent are born fast, and the rest are waiting to be taught the dynamics of improving speed. That is our premise.”

Velocity Sports Performance is a brand new state-of-the-art training facility on 133 E. 58th St. that will bring its program to the

Downtown United Soccer Club teams starting in 2005.

“Velocity Sports has a core program for adults as well as young athletes ages 8-18 years old,” says Bob Russo, president of Downtown United. “It is not just for runners, it has an exciting program for serious soccer players and it can be tailored to teams,” he enthusiastically notes.

Carlisle, coach and general manager of Velocity Sports Performance, firmly believes that the serious athlete “is not going to improve by accident.” Jumping up to demonstrate how a runner should pivot and spring off his feet, he adds, “It takes hard work to maximize athletic potential, and a large part of what we focus on is systematically improving acceleration, multi-directional movement and increasing top end speed.”

During the first part of a 24-week program, the athlete is timed and evaluated in a 20-yard dash for speed, a 10-yard dash for acceleration, two agility tests and a vertical jump test. In an encouraging and supportive atmosphere a six-part program is tackled under the close supervision of a coach, addressing strength and power, mobility and flexibility, regeneration (recovery between sessions), injury prevention and P.N.F., or proprioceptive neuromuscular strengthening. Follow the program with no more than two absences and Velocity Sports guarantees improvement in all areas. That’s right, a guarantee, and curiously, such a promise can be found in the “Parents” section on the toolbar of their Web site, www.velocitysp.com, where it states, “Just like every parent, you want what is best for your child. Whether he or she is a star athlete ready to compete at the college level or is just getting started in sports, V.S.P. is the place to help your child reach his or her athletic goals.”

When he wears the hat of a coach instead of general manager, Duane Carlisle is especially sensitive to helping build the young athlete’s self-confidence within the framework of the rigorous training program. Father of a budding preteen football star named Amir, Carlisle beams with joy in describing how he coaches his own son. “I’m not a dream destroyer,” says Coach Carlisle. “I enjoy helping athletes reach their personal goals. With my son, I first tell him I’m on his side, and then I tell him about the areas he is great in, and then we talk about the areas that need improvement and how to get there.”

Carlisle is quick to point out that at V.S.P. they not only work on physical development of the athlete, but also psychological elements as well. He asks, “Is the athlete resilient? Does he or she get the proper support at home? Have they learned how to fight through adversity? What have they learned from losing?”

This may sound too rigorous for an 8-year-old but the program is definitely ratcheted down to suit the young with a heavy dose of fun sprinkled into the routine. For those 15-years-old and up, the program is rigorous and tailored to the serious athlete. Right here in New York City there are thousands of young athletes who yearn to play sports at a higher level in high school and college. With S.A.T. prep courses being commonplace in this day and age, it can only help to pick up some hot tips on improving athletic performance from an expert like Coach Carlisle, who has over 10 years’ experience that includes being the sprint and jumping coach at Penn State. He certainly has a lot of good advice on navigating the maze of applying to college sports programs.

And in this day and age for teenagers applying to college can feel like jumping through hoops of fire. If a program like V.S.P. can improve physical and mental performance then why not try it, to make this unfortunate obstacle course a little easier, and maybe a little fun.

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