The school specializes in helping young athletes, ages 7-22, improve their speed, strength and conditioning, using proper techniques, while also offering fitness classes for non-athletes who want to get in shape.

Greg Kucera has opened the first Parisi Speed School in the First State right here in Middletown. He and his staff held the grand opening Saturday at 719 N. Broad St., in the Middletown Square shopping center.

The school specializes in helping young athletes, ages 7-22, improve their speed, strength and conditioning, using proper techniques, while helping to instill a winning attitude.

“Our number one goal is to empower and build confidence in an athlete,” said Kucera. “You can teach anybody a skill but without confidence, that person’s not going to be a good athlete.”

Kucera said Parisi schools are the leader in youth sports performance training, with more than 300 locations throughout the United States. The company was founded in 1992 by Bill Parisi, a former consultant to the New York Giants who was commissioned by Nike to help develop the original high school football combines that were held across the nation. Parisi was a Division I All-American in track in field at Iona College in New York and competed at the 1988 U.S. Olympic Trials in the javelin throw. He served as a graduate assistant strength coach to the University of Florida’s football and track and field teams and earned his certified strength and conditioning specialist designation through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Using the methods Parisi developed, Kucera and his staff start each student with an evaluation including the active dynamic warm-up and a running analysis. After the evaluation, the student and parent meet with the evaluator to review the results and select the appropriate program for the student’s needs.

For athletes who want to improve their performance, sessions include a variety of exercises designed to move your body with resistance, burning more calories and developing more power than regular weight lifting or training with machines.

“Power equals speed,” said Kucera. “Everything we do is related to building explosive power.”

Kucera and his staff also teach the proper techniques for building speed, such as how to hold your head and what to look at when you run, the proper angle when you lift your legs to run, the proper way to swing your arms, and how to push off with your feet.

“Technique is everything,” said Kucera. “We teach the techniques slowly at first and only when you are able to do the drill perfectly do we start to speed up.”

The main focus for speed training is preparing athletes for the 40-yard dash.

“That’s in the combine for practically every sport. It’s the number one thing they test for,” said Kucera. “The 40-yard dash measures acceleration and top speed. If you don’t have the proper technique, you might be good at acceleration but then you may actually decelerate before the finish.”

CONDITIONING FOR NON-ATHLETES

The school also offers classes for boys and girls who don’t play sports but still want to improve their fitness and conditioning.

“We know there are students who love playing video games, playing on their computer or phone, watching videos and not really interested in sports,” said Kucera. “Our total conditioning class uses fun and exciting ways to help them get in shape. If it’s not fun, they’re not going to do it.”

Kucera said he and his staff, which includes former NFL player Kavell Conner, focus on creating a fun and positive environment.

“Bill Parisi emphasizes that probably 90 percent of the kids don’t want to come here. Usually it’s their parents who are encouraging them. But after starting the program, 89 percent don’t want to leave,” Kucera said. “Getting them in the door is the hard part. After that, it’s all about enthusiasm and creating a great atmosphere. You have to make fitness fun.”

Kucera starting coaching youth teams in 1986 and operated a gymnastics studio for 10 years in New Jersey before moving to personal training and physical therapy.

He continued working as a physical therapist after he and his family moved to Middletown, but he said he missed coaching.

“I was looking for a way to help kids in every sport, not just gymnastics. Middletown has a large number of children and youth sports programs and so it’s the perfect place to open a speed and conditioning school,” he said. “I love working with people and I love helping people.”

For more information on the Parisi Speed School in Middletown, call 1-484-723-9678 or see the website www.parisischool.com/middletown.