Michael Leone's body didn't match his ambition. Standing just under six feet tall and weighing about 135 pounds, Leone, a skilled hockey player preparing for his senior year of high school, wasn't big enough to attract the attention of college hockey programs.
That was in April. Within six months of beginning his training at STACK Velocity Sports Performance in San Diego, Leone had added 25 pounds of muscle, improved his strength and explosiveness, and caught the eye of next-level programs. Today he plays for the Philadelphia Junior Flyers, an Eastern Hockey League (EHL) team that serves as a feeder to NCAA Division I and Division III programs.
"Training at Velocity is the reason I am here right now," Leone says. "I was there five days a week for two hours a day during the summer. That got me so much stronger and more confident, because I was working out with college players who are playing D-I."
Jason Huntley, owner of STACK Velocity San Diego, says that although Leone has a strong work ethic and commitment to the program, his results are not uncommon.
"We'll take somebody who is not a superstar and get them to become one if they buy in to the method," Huntley says.
"The method" includes instruction on proper training techniques, but it also encompasses other factors— like rest, recovery, nutrition and mindset—that influence performance. Athletes fill out weekly nutrition journals, which helps them identify eating patterns and other things that might be hampering them on the field or in the classroom. They also attend seminars on how to get the most from their sleep and gain advantages through focus and concentration.
Huntley invites Navy SEALs and elite military operators to teach the athletes breathing techniques that can help them stay calm under pressure.
The support extends to the athletes' parents. For example, Huntley had weekly meetings with Leone's father to discuss Michael's progress. "A lot of times, the good habits we teach about sleep and nutrition are things that par- ents have tried to convey for years," says Huntley, whose two sons train at the facility. "We're a supportive partner, while also maintaining the confidence of our athletes."
Today, Michael Leone is many miles away in Philadelphia, but Huntley remains in regular contact. He's helping the athlete adjust to life on his own by providing him with nutrition plans that include recipes and grocery lists.
"We're not just developing athletes," Huntley says. "We're not just focused on sports performance. We're focused on human performance."
By the Numbers
STACK Velocity Sports Performance
10806 Willow Court, San Diego, California
- 15,000 square feet
- Approximately 5,000 square feet of turf for sprints, ladders and movement work
- Approximately 5,000 square feet of squat racks, dumbbells, slideboards, tires, ropes and kettlebells
- ARP Wave neurological training machine Batting cage
- Laser-timed 40-Yard Dash
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