Inside the Athlete Factory

STACK Velocity coach R.J. Barret and HealthPlex Performance Center in Madison, Mississippi are dedicated to helping athletes.

On the field, Gardner Minshew has everything that makes college coaches salivate. The quarterback at Brandon High School in the Magnolia State's tough Class 6A is a field general with a missile launcher arm. He's amassed more than 6,100 passing yards in two and a half seasons, led his team to the state finals, and threw 24 touchdowns last year while earning a QB rating of 105.7.

On the track, however, where scouts measure athletes in the all-important 40-Yard Dash, it was a different story. His sprints timed out slow—too slow. As a sophomore, not long after a season in which he accounted for 33 touchdowns, Minshew ran the 40 in 5.2 seconds—a time less befitting a QB than the hefty linemen protecting him.

Minshew turned to STACK Velocity coach R.J. Barret, who works at the HealthPlex Performance Center. Barret set three goals for Minshew: build strength, improve flexibility, and learn proper leg action for the phases of the 40.

"Everything was broken down," Minshew said. "My form was broken down and put into terms I understood."

The high-tech tools at HealthPlex were a big help. For example, the Woodway Curve, a manually powered treadmill, helped Minshew increase his stride length and stride frequency, according to Barret. To check his form, underwater cameras recorded Minshew doing running drills in the facility's aquatics center.

"Once a kid can see the problem, it's a lot easier to fix," Barret said.

Eventually, Minshew said, "I started piecing things together and getting faster." Today he runs the 40 in the 4.8-second range—nearly a half-second improvement.

Coaches have taken notice. Minshew has scholarship offers from Akron and UAB. Other schools are tuning in to see what happens this season.

"Coaches tell me my mobility has gotten a lot better," Minshew said. "They're waiting to see how I move this fall."

By the Numbers

STACK VSP @ Madison HealthPlex Performance Center

501 Baptist Drive, Madison, Mississippi

  • 96,000 square feet
  • Advanced performance weight training area
  • Indoor 1/12th-mile running/walking track
  • Outdoor turf field and sprint track
  • 6-lane 25-meter pool
  • Warm water indoor pool
  • HydroWorx plunge pool with video system Sports medicine and orthopedic clinic

Find a STACK VSP facility near you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock