Amanda Dennis and Hillary Beall have a lot in common. Both are goalies in the U.S. National Soccer Team system. Dennis plays on the U-18 team, Beall the U-17 squad. Both have already earned big-time Division I scholarships. Both, according to their trainers and coaches, possess outstanding drive and work ethic. And both are improving their athleticism at STACK Velocity Sports Performance Centers in Southern California.
Dennis trains at STACK Velocity in Costa Mesa under the guidance of sports performance director Chasen Cameron. They met at a practice of the Slammers FC, an elite club team that Dennis plays for and that Cameron serves as trainer. They immediately formed a friendship, and Dennis realized that Cameron could help her perform better. She says, "When I started talking to him, I said I wanted to make sure my training is specific to my position—explosive training with quick movements like those I'd have to perform on the field."
The two set out to improve her vertical jump—a good indicator of an athlete's overall explosiveness, which, if improved, would deliver a bonus by allowing Dennis to swat away more shots flying higher overhead. With just one workout per week, Cameron helped Dennis add several inches to her vert, to the point where, at a recent camp, she says she posted the highest jump of any athlete in her age group.
Dennis is a Penn State commit, and Cameron is already working directly with PSU strength coach Craig Miskinis to craft a plan for her continued success. She says, "They've set a tailored plan together for me so I have the extra edge. I'd like to start my freshman year."
Meanwhile, Beall trains at the STACK Velocity Center in Irvine, where she works with performance coach Kyler Ishisaki. Beall approached him while rehabbing a fractured wrist that she suffered during her second high school game. She says, "Rather than take a break, I wanted to use the time off to develop my strength, speed, and ability to do plyometric exercises."
Ishisaki drew up a plan to develop Beall's lower-body strength and power. "Initially, we worked on basic movements like squat patterns and lunge patterns," he says. "We got more explosive over time, working up to Jump Squats and eventually Hang Cleans."
Beall noticed a difference pretty quickly, and her progress was reflected in her performance at camps. She says, "My speed picked up a lot. During fitness testing at camp, we did the Yo-Yo Test [a conditioning drill], the jump test, and the 5- and 20-Yard Dash—and I saw improvements in all of them."
Beall, who committed in February to play for Cal in 2017, says her goals now are to finish high school, continue to make the U.S. National Team squads, and keep getting better—with help from STACK Velocity.
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