Staying Game Ready

Gerald, a former Holy Spirit High School running back, will sometimes follow his initial workout with an hourlong speed training class at noon.

The teenager has been training for the past eight years at Oceanside. Oceanside offers a program called the Parisi Speed School, which strives to improve an athlete’s speed and strength for their performances on their field of play.

Gerald’s dedication to improving both his body and his performance on the field at Holy Spirit landed him a spot on the football team this fall at Franklin & Marshall University in Lancaster, Pa.

“When I first started, they didn’t have outdoor turf. We ran indoors on a track, and then when new ownership came, we received outdoor turf, so they made it where the different athletes could train for their sports specifically. So mainly, a lot of football players started coming to the gym,” said Gerald, 18, of Egg Harbor Township.

For high school and college athletes, summer months do not mean lounging around a pool and eating hot dogs. Some of them train as hard in the months of June, July and August as they do during the school year.

Student athletes interested in training at the Parisi Speed School this summer still have time to do so. Summer classes, lasting 55 minutes, are offered at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. The students are broken into three groups according to age: jump-start for ages 7 to 12; total performance for ages 12 to 18; and P.E.A.K. (Parisi Elite Athletic Knowledge) for those age 18 and older.

Ninety young people signed up for the three programs this summer, said Stephon Kent, 26, of Mays Landing, the owner of Oceanside Wellness & Sport.

A young person will start seeing changes in their body immediately from the speed training, but improvements in their quickness and agility take between three and five weeks to take hold, Kent said. Since Kent took over the business in April, new members have been added.

“It helps kids. It helps their motivation. It builds their self esteem. It shows them how to do drills. It really allows them to excel at their sports at a high level,” Kent said.

Ian Walterson is one of the owners of a new sports performance, group training and personal training facility called Athletes Arbor in Linwood. Anyone ranging from 5 years old to professional athletes can make use of Athletes Arbor, Walterson said.

Participants are broken into three groups: 5-to 10- year-olds; middle school and early high school; and college and professional, Walterson said.

Three different movement classes are offered, vertical leap, linear speed and change of direction. The group training class is a general health and fitness class that hosts everyone from high schoolers to adults looking to stay in shape and includes both kettlebells and TRX training, Walterson said.

“We will do a written test with the kids, so they are actually learning what they are doing. It also helps decipher where a kid’s level and ability is. We might ask a kid where is the center of gravity on the body or how do you increase speed,” said Walterson, who added every child is evaluated and placed in a group that matches their age and ability. “We want to make sure the kids are learning on top of getting that healthy conditioning.”

Cassie Kirk, 21, is a member of the Richard Stockton College’s women’s field hockey. Kirk, a Middletown Township, Monmouth County resident, was back in Pomona last week to help middle-and high-school students at a weeklong field hockey camp.

Field hockey is in the fall, but Kirk stays in shape year around.

Once the academic year ended on May 3, Kirk would exercise four times per week, either running around her neighborhood or at the track at her former high school for 20 to 30 minutes at a time or heading off to the gym for an hour of strength training. By the middle of last month, Kirk is doing her recommended agility and strength workouts especially tailored for field hockey. That lasts until the field hockey preseason starts in the middle of next month.

“I don’t want to be completely out of shape before I start,” said Kick, who added she wanted to prepare her body for the field hockey preseason and regular season.

Dr. Stephen J. Zabinski, director of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point, said sports can be broken into three categories: running and jumping sports; throwing sports; and general body or endurance sports, and a person has to look at each of them differently as far as conditioning and rest.

For the running and jumping sports, the most common being basketball and soccer, there is no doubt that those athletes do need some period of time when their legs get some rest from the sport, Zabinski said. Those athletes should not do those sports year round nonstop, Zabinski said.

“Their body needs rest from the rigors of the sport at some point in the year,” Zabinski said.

But, Zabinski said this is a different issue than whether they should be resting completely in the summertime. Athletes that rely on their legs for their sports should be involved in an eight-to-12-week conditioning program that specifically works on strengthening the legs and coordinating the legs to prevent ACL injuries, Zabinski said.

“The throwing (motion) or overhead sports athletes, absolutely, positively, cannot throw 12 months a year,” said Zabinski about athletes, who do baseball, volleyball or swimming.

Football, crew, wrestlers and the running track-and-field events crossover into the third group of sports, which are the endurance or overall body strength sports, Zabinski said. Those athletes often will work out the whole year because they incorporate the use of their entire body, Zabinski said.

“A football athlete needs strength in their legs. They need core strength in their abdomen and back, and they need upper body strength,” Zabinski said.

Contact Vincent Jackson:


Preteen and teen fitness

View Article at:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s