Feature Article - March 2006
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Command Performance

Sports performance training offers fitness facilities some room for improvement

By Margaret Ahrweiler

On a cold Friday night in January, the 30-screen megaplex movie theater complex in Warrenville, Ill., is hopping, filled with teens out to see the latest flicks, munch candy and troll for members of the opposite sex. But just across the road, a dozen girls ranging in age from 13 to 15 have forsaken this popular hangout for an alternate spot. Red-faced and sweaty, they're hard at work passing each other medicine balls, ripping through a series of sprints and maneuvering through hurdles—sideways—at Velocity Sports Performance.

These members of West Suburban Volleyball Club, a competitive club team, are not alone in forsaking junk food for jump work. They're part of one of the fastest-growing areas of the fitness industry: sports performance training. Once the sole province of professional, collegiate and Olympic-caliber athletes, performance training is growing to embrace athletes of all ages and abilities—and making an impact on the fitness industry as a whole. Performance training embraces workouts that focus on movement skills, body mechanics, agility and injury prevention.

In its purest form, sports performance training is all about, well, sports and performance, says Todd Durkin, owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego and Trainer of the Year for both ACE and IDEA, two fitness professional organizations.