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Fitness, confidence for kids at Speed School

December 14, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
When it comes to kids and fitness, they often seem to fall into two categories: Athletic and sedentary. We found a program that helps build strength, speed and even confidence for those who might be sitting on the fence.The sun may not be up yet at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, but 50 kids from all kinds of sports are up and feeling the need for speed at Parisi Speed School.

"For most of the kids, I mean, they love it. The worst part is waking up at 6:30 in the morning, but the kids that have stuck with it for 12 weeks, the improvement that we've seen already, it's been drastic," said Brian DeHaan, Maranatha High School athletic director.

Baseball player Jay Cordero's morning workouts have him in stellar shape even off-season.

"I lost a lot of weight, about 16 pounds so far in 12 weeks," Cordero said.

Phil Dozois, who runs the Parisi Speed School, says the focus is primarily on speed training.

"I think it's overlooked. Most schools or sports programs focus on strength training, but the foundation of most sports is speed," Dozois said.

That means an extensive warm-up, flexibility, strength training geared to improve speed and more.

"The main benefit of our program is self confidence for the kids, and when they learn about their bodies, and they learn about what they need to do to stay fit and stay in shape, it's a real confidence-builder for them," Dozois said.

Maranatha High pays to have Parisi Speed School on site for their teens, but this franchised program is also available at Dozois's gym, Breakthru Fitness, working with kids as young as 7.

"We just thought that this program would help them compete with the bigger kids, the stronger kids, the taller kids and they get to be around other kids their own age that they don't actually go to school with," said Kim Shepherd.

Rather than compete against each other, they beat their own time, performing drills and playing games.

"We definitely have to include the fun, no matter if they're 16 or 7," Dozois said.

The first class is free, and there are a variety of ways to pay, but it generally costs between $8 and $12, depending on how often kids come.

"The idea of kids doing fitness, it's not very exciting for kids," Dozois said. "But to be fast, when you're a kid, it's pretty exciting to think, 'I want to be fast.'"


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