By John Sorce |
RED BANK – A brand new 5,000-square foot training facility dedicated to soccer training is now welcoming enthusiasts in the West Side business district.
Elite Sports Training opened its doors in late November at 264 Shrewsbury Ave. and is offering individual, semi-private and team training.
“Me and my partners all have children in the soccer community who play on high-level teams,” said Tim Lockard, director of operations. “The one thing we noticed is there seemed to be such a huge need for something extra, other than team practices. We were looking for places to train, and there was a need for that additional training, and we thought it would be a good idea.”
On a recent wintry afternoon after school, 13 young girls were clearly having a good time as they were led through a training exercise on the distinctive black turf between the soccer goals. Along the grey walls were fitness equipment like medicine balls and a rope, and nearby a seated waiting area for parents. “NO DAYS OFF,” Elite Sports Training’s motto, was painted on the top of the wall in red capital letters.
“We want these kids to know if you are practicing Monday, Wednesday, Friday with your team, we want to see you Tuesday or Thursday,” Lockard said. “Give us that one opportunity a week to prove we can make you better than everybody else.”
The company founders chose their location carefully. “It seemed that all the indoor places that we bring our children are pretty far away – at least a good 45 minutes to an hour,” said Lockard, who lives in western Monmouth County but shuttles his son to practice and play with high level teams in Middletown and Red Bank. “This seemed like a good central Jersey location to open up a spot like that and provide that opportunity for local kids.
“It’s a very up and coming area,” Lockard said about the West Side business district. “Even though I live in Howell, my son practices at Count Basie Field. It seemed like aside from there being a need for what we offer, that just seemed to be the natural fit, as far as area goes.”
Lockard said that the availability of parking was the top concern when first opening the business, since they do not have a dedicated parking lot. So far, it’s working out because parents have found parking on the street, or drop off their kids while they run errands or go shopping. “We’ve been blessed in that we really have not had too much of an issue regarding parking,” Lockard said. “That might be in regard to the times that we are offering our sessions, offering them later in the day during the week. We have been lucky.”
A typical 90-minute session consists of 45 minutes of soccer specific training. For the other 45 minutes, kids will go to another part of the facility, where they will not touch a soccer ball. “You are going to use your own body weight in speed, strength and agility exercises, ropes, steps, no weights,” Lockard said. “Based off the age of the child, they are going to get what is appropriate for them.”
Parents can sign up their kids of all ages through high school for $100/month, which allows them one 90-minute training session a week.
“The fact that we can offer soccer specific training, as well as core training, all encompassed in one visit put us apart from anybody else. I think the staff that we have – we have a staff of six with four trainers – are all at the top of their fields,” Lockard said.
“We want to make it affordable. We don’t want to see kids who have talent be left out because they can’t afford high level training, or because of availability. That was important for us and that’s why we offer a lot of hours,” he added.
Elite Sports Training offers a training staff who had accomplished careers on the pitch, and one of those is Brendan Murphy. After picking up the game as a five-year-old in Howell, Murphy went on to attend the Red Bull Academy, Harrison, and then played midfield for the collegiate soccer program at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fl.
Lockard believes his staff can elevate players to the next level. All he hopes for is to have people give them a chance. “So far, everybody that has come in has wanted more. We have not had one unhappy person yet. They absolutely love the programs and the trainers,” he said.
Sessions run during the week from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. and on the weekends from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
This article was first published in the Jan. 11-18, 2018 print edition of the Two River Times.
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