July 9, 2019 | Ryan Heickert, MS, ATC at Function & Strength
Appoximately 7% of high school level athletes continue on to play at the varsity level in college. Even fewer -- only 2% -- receive Division I scholarships. Of these college athletes, less than 2% of NCAA student athletes make it to the professional stage. Regardless of what your goal is - to receive a college scholarship, make it to the pros, or raise the level of your play - sports performance training provides a competitive edge to athletes seeking to out-compete their foes.
Nick DeSantis is a high school hockey player that has played in Triple-A and tier one junior USHL, two of the highest level U.S. leagues. In the short-term, DeSantis strives to improve upon his prior years’ performances of converting goals and assists as he helps his team score more club points. In the long-term, he hopes to play Division I hockey and get drafted into the NHL.
Nick originally heard about Function and Strength through his hockey teammates after their prior gym closed down. One of the owners, Ryan Heickert, worked with the Valley Forge Minutemen and trained Nick and his team at Center Ice.
After checking out the facility and meeting its staff, Nick knew Function and Strength supplied everything he needs for his training as an aspiring athlete. It has an extensive weight room and large turf area, providing both the strength and agility training that Nick needed to gain an edge in the rink. The gym offers high tech recovery such as a sauna, pool room, and state of the art “Rest, De-Stress, Recover” room. These are all essential for the intensity of training Nick sought, and he utilizes them after most workouts to ensure he gets the most out of his training.
Nick likes to start his training in the morning, and usually works out at 8:30 a.m. with other Division One hockey prospects. He explains that many times, other athletes are faster or stronger than him, but the expert training staff and competitive environment drive him to train harder and recover faster.
Nick appreciates how even during group sessions, his workouts are catered to his specific body and goals as a hockey player. He begins workouts with a half hour or so of agility training. After this warm up, he receives an individual agenda for the day that includes specific plyometrics, core, conditioning, and traditional weight-lifting exercises. He develops these workouts in collaboration with the trainers, taking into consideration what his goals are and when he wants to achieve them. Within these sessions, trainers will work within the group, motivating and teaching individuals.
Beyond the trainers, Nick believes the high-tempo environment, increased level of competition, and even choice of music helps get him in the zone to work hard. Although the training is as serious and intense as Nick has experienced anywhere else, he appreciates the friendliness of the staff and other athletes. He enjoys joking around with them and relaxing during breaks or after sessions, when he is “always dripping sweat.”
To Nick, Function and Strength is more than a gym. “It is a place to learn, get better, and develop as an athlete in your respective sport.”