Paul Posluszny

NFL Tough Guys

With all the emphasis on speed, technique, culture and whatever else the Jaguars have been working on so far, it won’t be until sometime in late August when the coaching staff and the players start to find out what kind of football team they’re going to be.

Everybody talks about playing fast and giving great effort, but football in the NFL is still played by the guys who have the physical and mental toughness to succeed.

My friend Vic Ketchman, now retired NFL reporter, used to say, “Everybody’s ‘All-Airport’ this time of year. When they walk through the airport, they look great. That doesn’t make them football players.”

Some coaches call them ‘Underwear Practices.” Others refer to it as “running around in your pajamas.” Technically it’s shirts, shorts and helmets for OTA’s and mini-camps where players get acclimated, work on conditioning and learn the playbook. But it’s not until the pads are on that you find out who the football players are.

And after a 1-15 season, the Jaguars need some football players. We don’t know anything about that part of the Jaguars’ makeup. They need a thumper on defense and some tough guys on the field.

“Traditionally it was training camp,” Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars former Pro Bowl linebacker said on how toughness shows itself in the NFL. “You want to know you can rely on somebody when things get hard. When you’re two weeks into training camp, even when guys don’t feel great, they lineup, know what their keys are and do their job. You want to know who you can trust.”

“When things get long and hard and difficult and you’re tired and your body isn’t functioning,” he added. “It’s the guys who get through that you know that’s somebody who has what it takes.”

“How do you define toughness?” Kyle Brady, the former Jaguars Tight End who had a thirteen-year NFL career said this week. “It’s really an intangible. It’s a combination of physical and mostly mental toughness. I’d almost say it’s a ‘settled intensity’ And it’s not always the guys you think. Often, it’s not the “rah-rah” guys. It’s the quiet guys who tend to bring it every day.”

“Everybody at that level has some toughness,” Brady explained. “They needed it to get there. In training camp, coaches will manufacture adversity just to see who can push through.”

Former Jaguars linebacker Lonnie Marts had a reputation as a tough guy in the NFL. Traditionally playing the strong side, when the hole opened, Marts was expected to fill it.

And he did.

“For us, in our era, it was three days after the first padded practice,” Marts, who endured ten NFL training camps explained. “We had two-a-days in pads, and some guys are fired up, some guys are hurting. It doesn’t take long for the soreness to set in. You’re looking for who’s going to step up and who’s going to back down. You see your leaders and your tough guys at that point.”

Can other players see who the tough guys are? Marts, Brady and Posluszny all said you know right away.

“Having that toughness to push through late in the game, in training camp, late in the season, that’s part of being a professional,” said Brady. “And the players know. They see who’s pushing and getting it done and who isn’t.”

“Sometimes when that play needs to be made you know who’s suspect,” Marts added. “They’re not mentally tough. Somethings going to happen where he’s not going to make that play. Everybody knows who you are when you’re ‘that guy’ who looks good but doesn’t make plays.”

Through the thousands of plays they’ve run, whether it’s in practice or the games, every football player remembers the one hit that really got their attention. Even in the NFL, players remember that one play that was different from all the others.

“Jesse Tuggle was an old school guy,” Brady said of the former Falcons linebacker. ” I was just running a simple drag route and he hit me as hard as I can remember. I wasn’t even the primary receiver. He just nailed me. It was a legal hit at the time. They didn’t protect receivers the way they do now. It was a clean hit, but I remember that for sure.”

“I was with the Bills playing against the Browns,” Posluszny recalled. “Jamal Lewis is at tailback. I blitz though the ‘A’ gap, it’s his job to block me and he ducks down like he’s going to cut me. But he explodes from that position and hits me right in the chin with the crown of his helmet. I’ve never changed directions that quickly.”

“I’m chasing Keith Byars to the sideline thinking ‘You’re not going to get to the sideline,” Marts described in vivid detail when asked about the biggest hit he ever took. “And this wide receiver, Mark Ingram (Sr.) was waiting for me. It was like running into a fire hydrant. Marty (Schottenheimer) opened the meeting the next day showing that hit and said, ‘Lonnie, you’re a solid guy.’ I said, ‘I’m glad you think that ‘cause I wanted to come out of the game.’”

Posluszny mentioned two former Jaguars when I asked him the toughest guys he ever played with.

“Roy Miller at nose guard,” Paul said quickly. “He and I worked together. I knew it didn’t matter; he’d take on 20 double teams to protect me. Then he’d take on the 21st with the same fortitude. When Telvin Smith on the field, the score, the temperature, the circumstances, none of that mattered. He just wanted to get the job done. He had the mental toughness to fight through anything.”

Which makes Smith’s fall from grace all that more troubling and disappointing.

“Mo Lewis is the first guy that comes to mind,” Brady said of his memories of his toughest teammates. “He was our captain with the Jets, and he was a great example. He brought it every day, practice, games, he was the toughest player I knew physically and mentally. I saw that early in my career.”

“Hardy Nickerson,” Lonnie said without hesitation. “I’ve never played with anybody tougher than Hardy. The heat, nothing bothered him. He got stronger as the game went on. When he spoke you listened.”

There’s a point in every NFL game, where the game shifts and one team starts to impose their will on the other. Usually, you see it at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth. That’s not by coincidence. Players can feel when their opponent has had enough.

“That shows up in games, especially later in the year,” Posluszny explained. “Later in games, some hard hitting games, that shows up.”

“You’re not a professional if you can’t do it all year long,” said Marts. “There are a lot of people who want to play this game, but they can’t. They can’t get through the tough parts. Guys say they can do it while they’re in the AC and in meetings. Getting it done in the heat of the moment is a whole different story.”

“You want to set a tone early,” Brady said of how games and seasons progress in the NFL. “And if you do that consistently enough, sometimes you see the effort change on the other side. Even when you’re dominating a guy, and you see his effort change, you help him up but you’re like, ‘Hey, come on. You need to bring your ‘A’ game.”

Brady should know. The Jets teams he was on were 1-28 to start his career. So, staying tough through games and through the season was a challenge.

“That wasn’t any fun,” Brady explained. But I figured I would control what I could control, and I wanted to get it done on the last play the same way I did on the first play.”

“There are levels, (of toughness),” Poz added. “Are there guys that flinch from time to time, yes. It’s few and far between where guys aren’t standing in the hole when they need to be. It stands out on film, and you never want anybody to see that. You’d say, ‘that guy didn’t want it.’”

And if you flinch too often, you’re not in the league very long.

“It’s funny, some guys don’t look the part when you see them in the locker room,” Brady added. “But don’t be fooled by that. Those guys have that toughness, and they show up. Players know.”

“Other players see what’s going on,” added Posluszny.” If you’re going to stay in the league, you’ve got to be a tough guy. Nobody is soft. Because if you show that, it’s deadly on your career.”

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day

There’s a special bond between dads and their kids that only comes through sports. It’s different than almost anything else. Whether it’s being at a sporting event as spectators or as competitors, that bond is created by watching and learning.

At a sporting event from the stands, dads show their kids how they act in public, how to deal with victory and defeat and sometimes even how to deal with the heckling from your opponents.

As coaches, and sometimes players, dads show their kids how to prepare, how success comes from the work put in before the start of any game. And again, how to win and how to lose.

There are a lot of things I learned from my mom as the eldest of her four children. She schooled me in leadership and bolstered my confidence as a kid, mostly at the kitchen table.

But my bond with my dad was formed looking under the hood of cars, splitting wood in the backyard and talking about the Orioles, Colts and the Bullets.

I’m lucky to have witnessed so much of this with my father, and doubly fortunate that he, and my mother, are still around. At eighty-eight, much of his time now is filled taking care of my eighty-seven-year-old mother. Some of my friends never knew their dads; others lost them when they were young. I’ve had a relationship with my Dad as a kid, and as an adult. His business advice has been sage, his personal words wise.

And all of that started through sports.

The youngest son of immigrant parents, my father and his brother (who in very Greek fashion lived across the street from us) were the only siblings born in the United States. Sports weren’t much a part of their childhood and maybe that’s why my dad was glad to fuel my interest in all games.

Like a million other young boys, I waited for my Dad to come home from work. After school and finished working my paper route, I’d while away the time in the front yard, depending on the season, playing curb ball or throwing footballs at the six short bushy pines that guarded the front of the house.

He’d drive up, the catcher’s mitt or the football would already be laid out near where his car door would open.

My Dad throws like a catcher. Kind of a short stroke, not much follow through. I have been on the receiving end of his throws many times. Mostly baseballs, but footballs too, the occasional Frisbee or nerf ball, all thrown with that short stroke.

In the front yard I’d fire my best fastball and hear the occasional, “you’ve got to back up, you’re hurting my hand!” Which, of course, would make me throw all that much harder.

In IBM standard white shirt and tie, dark pants and wingtips, my dad caught my first curveball, saw my first failed attempt at a knuckler, and laughed at my imitations of Jim Palmer, Luis Tiant and Juan Marichal.

“Let me go see what you’re mother’s doing,” usually signaled the end of our session, but never before an encouraging “I think you’re going to win the Heisman,” or “you’ll take over when Brooks retires” as he bounced up the front steps.

My father learned a lot of lessons from his dad early on.

They didn’t speak English in the house, and everybody in the neighborhood was Greek. “Two eggs and a bacon,” was the extent of my grandfather’s English, although he never had any trouble communicating. When my father came home from school with a vocabulary test in the first grade, he had no idea what the words meant since he spoke no English.
“What should I do?” my grade school Dad asked. Rather than march to the school and demand he be taught in Greek, my Grandfather (Popou in Greek) logically responded, “Learn English fast.”

Understanding the power of an education, my father kept his nose to the grindstone (mostly) and eventually, at the urging of my mother, he was graduated from Johns Hopkins University using the GI bill.

Like any kid, I learned from my dad by watching. But most of my knowledge of his escapades as a kid and his relationship with his father, I know from stories my Dad told me.
He’s the best storyteller I know. With a bent toward hyperbole, he takes poetic license, as all good storytellers do, but never deviates from the truth. Many times, I’ve heard stories about my grandfather fighting the Turks and the Nazi’s. About the first time he met my mother (on an ice-skating rink) and about the day I was born.
No matter how many times he tells me that one, it’s always with the same emotion, the same passion. How he decided to name me after himself, (my mother’s idea) and not after his father (his dad’s idea.) And how it was one of the four best days of his life (I have two sisters and a brother.) I never really understood that story until I had children of my own, and now the passion and emotion he tells it with makes complete sense to me.

Having been a dad for nearly forty years, it’s the most gratifying thing that’s ever happened to me. And sports are one of the things that helped build my relationship with all three of my children.

Being totally unbiased, I’m lucky all of my children are smart, athletic and good-looking. As I’m told often, most of that they got from their mother. But there are some things they’ve gotten from their relationship through sports from their dad.

Since my daughters are my two eldest children, I was a “Girl Dad” first. There is something special about dads and daughters sharing the bond of athletic competition. Maybe because it’s the thing they most often come to you for when they have a question.

When your kids are growing up, there are lots of questions about studying and socializing, about what to wear and how to act in public. All things girls ask their moms about.
But when they want some help with their mechanics, or some competitive advice, Dad is the resource.

I know those things transfer to something else as they get older. I’ve seen it with my daughters as our relationship has shifted and grown.

But there’s something about that stolen glance from the court up into the stands after a particularly good play that I’ll always miss. That little acknowledgement of thousands of conversations, demonstrations, admonitions and words of encouragement all flashing by in the turned-up corner of a smile in front of a bouncing ponytail. If there’s anything better than that, I’ve never heard of it.

Equal to that is any dad’s bond with their sons. I know mine with my son, my youngest, was cemented through hours and hours of driving to practices, games, and tournaments in and out of town. Often talks about the daily and the mundane and many times the important and life-affirming topics that sons and fathers share, happened in cars and vans driving to and from wins and losses.

Kevin Costner captured some of that in his movie “Field of Dreams.” The final line of the film “Dad, wanna have a catch,” makes dads and sons misty eyed every time. The actor who played Costner’s dad, Dwier Brown says to this day, people stop him on the street to talk about their relationship with their dads, good and bad.
I’ve often thought Bill Murray’s character Bob Harris described it best in the movie “Lost in Translation” when he said about being a dad,

“The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born. Your life, as you know it, is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk, and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.”

If Bill Murray actually said that, he’d have included “and learn how putt” or something sports related.

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, and to all the dad’s out there enjoying, or remembering times with their own dads and kids.

My kids laugh at my answer when they ask me what I want for Father’s Day. I always say the same thing: “Let’s play some catch.”

Amateur Golf Jacksonville

Charity Golf In Town

If you’ve played any golf in North Florida you’ve probably played in a charity golf tournament. Big or small, golf tournaments raising money for charity are among the biggest fundraising sources for charities in our part of the country.

“Before Covid, we held as many as twenty fund-raising events every year,” Chet Stokes, General Manager at Marsh Landing Country Club in Ponte Vedra revealed. “We want to be a part of the community and give back when we can. This is a way we can do that.”

Golf clubs have to strike a balance between maintenance, member play and supporting charitable initiatives.

“Typically, the club industry is a key player in helping charities throughout the state of Florida,” Leon Crimmins the former President of the Florida Club Managers Association of America explained.

There are some big charity tournaments, like Tom Coughlin’s Jay Fund event at the TPC at Sawgrass that’s been around since 1996, and there are some small ones, like the one my friend Frank Hughes started last year on Amelia Island to benefit the local Set Free By The Sea ministry.

“We know people like to play golf and we have some great golf courses, so it just made sense,” Hughes explained. “It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get people together, share some fellowship and have some fun. We raised a little money but more importantly we raised a lot of awareness of who we are.”

Last weekend I was invited again to play in the Funk-Zitiello, Champions for Hope golf tournament at the TPC Stadium Course. It includes a banquet Friday night and golf Saturday morning. In the past forty years, I’ve probably played in close to a thousand charity golf tournaments, but few have rivaled the Champions for Hope.

They raise a bunch of money; they create great fellowship and awareness, but it feels like nothing but pure fun while you’re there.

There are plenty of ways to raise money, but Champions for Hope picked a golf tournament. And not by accident.

“I thought about throwing an Italian wedding feast and making it a charity event,” Tommy Zitiello, the tournament’s founder explained this week. “Who doesn’t have a good time at an Italian wedding?”

They started out raising money for the J.T. Townsend Foundation with a few parties but then Zitiello’s wife Judy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer seven years ago

Zitiello, affectionately known as ‘Tommy Z’ wasn’t sure which way to turn. The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is the lowest among all cancers. Just around nine percent.

“I thought, everything we built together was gone,” Tommy added quietly. “I listened to all of the statistics about beating cancer and the research dollars needed and found that the survival rate for about every other cancer had grown by fifty per cent or more. Except this one.”

Zitiello decided to ‘go big’ and started a golf tournament to raise money for both the JT Townsend Foundation and for research into early detection for pancreatic cancer. It was an ambitious effort, but Tommy believes through faith, he was able to create something special.

“I made my money in sales,” he explained. “My only talent was speaking and selling. And I’m convinced that I made money because God knew I was going to give it back.”

Champions for Hope has raised millions of dollars in its five years, including $700,000 this year coming out of the pandemic. They’ve helped 672 families here in Jacksonville who have adaptive equipment needs. Judy has beaten the odds and is a seven-year cancer survivor.

“You can’t just sit back, you have to get involved,” Tommy added. “It’s grass roots, friends and family and every bodies fully invested. Not one person makes a nickel working at our event. Our CPA, lawyers, our restaurants, our liquor, our family, all of our volunteers, they’re there for nothing. If you’re not working at it and taking your time, it’s not really charity.”

I heard that over and over this week. Giving, of time and money on a grass roots level here in town, is the key.

“Champions for Hope is the message,” he concluded. “A doctor once told me ‘When you give someone love you give them hope.’ Giving people hope is the message.”

While Tommy’s tournament is one of the best I’ve ever played in, the first “Back to Camp” tournament is the craziest.

In the mid-80’s it was popular to bring former professional athletes to town to play and entertain, as well as entice fans to plunk down some money to play with their now-retired heroes. It followed the Miller Lite and the Bud Light promotions at the time, celebrating how much fun it would be to hang out with retired ballplayers.

That first year was a rousing success in the fun category, especially when one player was found asleep under a bench in the locker room, and another was able to make his plane heading out of town by leaving his rental car on the curb at arrivals at JIA. Running.

Because of the expense of bringing the former players to town and putting them up for three nights, the tournament didn’t raise much money, but it did bring the charity a lot of notoriety.

“We’re trying to get the message out,” Tommy Z added about the Champions for Hope golf event. “I see new people each year at our tournament who heard about it from a friend. We just need to get lucky with a big philanthropist or a big corporation to help get to the next level.”

For twenty-five years I was honored and flattered to have my name on charity golf tournaments here in town raising nearly $10 Million. The first was to raise money for housing downtown and then to help kids in life-threatening medical situations have a little fun.

“We went from not having a golf tournament to it being our number one fundraiser,” one of the chief administrators of the charity told me after we got started. “It’s such a natural here and with the generosity of people donating things to us, we’re able to put that money directly to benefit the kids.”

Yes, generosity. That’s a hallmark of what happens here in the golf community and the people and companies who get involved.

Whether you’re asking for a restaurant to donate lunch or a big golf retailer to provide some ‘hole prizes’ the answer is almost never ‘no.’ And they get hit up every week.

“The donation of the club’s facilities is what drives charity’s ability to raise significant funds,” Crimmins added, noting how most clubs help out. “Some clubs donate the golf course and charge for food and beverage at cost and absorb the cost of brining the staff in on a Monday. Different clubs do it different ways.”

There were over one-hundred twenty-five charity golf tournaments held every year in North Florida in the late nineties. That grew to over three hundred in the next ten years, following the golf boom. While that number has settled somewhat, all of those tournaments need prizes and oftentimes the golf courses themselves are helping out.

“Every week we get asked a few times to provide a four-some as a prize and we always say yes to that,” Stokes explained. “But we also try and play in tournaments around town to support the different causes. It’s important.”

Charity tournaments are not money-makers for local courses. The off-day revenue (most tournaments are played on Monday’s when courses are generally closed) comes from corporate outings.

“Clubs are very generous and charitable,” Crimmins added. “Club managers try to provide a balance of not sacrificing time for golf course maintenance while supporting charitable initiatives.”

And this doesn’t happen everywhere. I’ve got plenty of friends from around the country who are constantly amazed by the generosity and the money raised by golf tournaments here in North Florida. While the World Giving Index has listed the United States as the most generous country in the world for the last ten years, if there was a measure for golf giving, we’d rank near, if not at the top.

So, when you see one of those license plates that says “Florida, Golf Capital of the World,” which is debatable, add “Giving” to that phrase and smile, knowing that’s true.

Laviska Shenault

Sports Performance

We’ve heard Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer talk a lot about how important he thinks “sports performance” is to the success of his new team.

What exactly is “sports performance?”

“There has been a lot of research about different tools to improve sports performance,” Dr. Kaitlyn Buss a doctor of physical therapy here in Jacksonville said this week. “From a scientific standpoint, there’s a lot of research about different techniques and tools trainers, athletes and therapists can use to improve sports performance.”

This week the Jaguars announced plans to build a 125,000 square foot football performance center that will bring state of the art training facilities to the Jaguars organization as part of a comprehensive overhaul of their facilities and the stadium.

Meyer has been vocal and to the point that the Jaguars need to upgrade their facilities and to stay competitive, he’s right. College facilities all over the country, including at Florida and Ohio State where he coached, put most comparable NFL facilities to shame.

“If a player decides to go somewhere else to get better, then I’m going to try to hire that person they’re going to, because they deserve the best,” Meyer said, explaining why he wants this new facility to move the Jaguars forward. “I don’t want to have a player tell me he can get better training in Phoenix. That shouldn’t happen, it should happen right here.”

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said he wants to make Jacksonville a football destination and to “be the envy of other cities in the US and all over the world.” Although there’s not technically recruiting in the NFL, Meyer knows that showing off shiny new training facilities in Gainesville and Columbus enabled him to attract top talent to those schools. He thinks the same will happen on the professional level here.

Along with the Jaguars new football performance center, Baptist and the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute are planning on a 42,000 square foot sports medicine complex that will include an elite training facility that anybody will be able to be as part of.

That’s not a new idea, but it is one who’s time is probably now right for North Florida. Dr. Joe Czerkawski, a Sports Medicine/Internist was way ahead of the curve when it came to creating a sports performance facility here in town.

Nearly twenty years ago Czerkawski created the High Intensity Training Center off of Phillip Highway, a place with the latest testing and performance equipment as well as a 25,000 square foot field house with sixty yards of artificial turf for training, batting cages and other “toys” to make athletes better.

“Remember the sand pit,” Joe recalled with a laugh this week, evoking memories of some of the hardest workouts you could go through. “That’s the kind of thing we created that was new. There was a lot of hokey science out there and that’s why I got involved. There were programs that showed improvement with some high intensity training without increase risk of injury. We only hired exercise physiologists. We helped athletes with sports specific training, and it worked.”

To open a sports performance facility like that on your own takes the right people and the right money, which Czerkawski had, but it also takes a steady stream of clients to keep the doors open. The HIT Center had contracts with the police and fire departments and was building group fitness and weight loss programs as a baseline revenue stream.

“You can’t stay in business with just three NFL quarterbacks coming in,” he explained. “You have to find the right price point for the elite professional athlete as well as the high school and college athletes and weekend warriors. Without that, you can’t stay in business. You have to find the people who want to be pushed just a little bit more and you have to find the right price point for them as well.”

The key phrase there is ‘people who want to be pushed a little bit.” Working out at a sports performance center isn’t just going a jogging on the treadmill and lifting a few weights. It’s training that will make you better at whatever sport you choose.

“Absolutely you can make a difference,” he explained. The data supports it and my anecdotal experience shows it works. The improvement in foot speed, forty-time, upper body strength. Does it make you a better athlete? Yes. You go into the sports acclimatized better. It’s not just from a power and strength and speed standpoint. It’s neuromuscular training as well. The confidence building, that’s part of it.”

With this kind of sports performance training being a part of professional sports, once pro athletes started taking that level of work into the off-season, some celebrities got involved as well. That’s when the general fitness public wanted to be a part of that.

“Are you training for the Gate River Run or are you getting Trevor Lawrence ready to play in the NFL? Everybody’s getting ready for something,” Matt Serlo, a Master Physical Therapist at PT Solutions in Pone Vedra explained. “It’s just the intensity of level. You need to be in the right hands, so your intensity level is right. You can get specifically trained for whatever competition you’re involved with.”

Serlo also believes that sports specific training for young athletes has helped the sports performance business explode in the last twenty years.

“Part of it is that parents want their kids to be sport specific, so they’re going to sports performance trainers. That’s why it’s good to have trainers who really understand the body and really understand the mechanics. They can break it down and train you biomechanically for the right sport. Records are being broken left and right because of the kind of training they can now provide. “

Dr. Buss sees patients at the Sports Recovery Annex on Hendricks Avenue and agrees, research and science have made athletes better.

“Bringing the kind of training that pros do to the general public is important,” Buss, a varsity cross country and distance track athlete at FSU, explained. “When you’re training that much, you’re breaking your body down, so you’re taking all of these tools to put them all together to provide care for the athletes so they can perform at their best.”

This kind of ‘elite sports training’ has exploded in the last twenty years. Professional athletes have been gathering in different parts of the country to train together in the off season and it’s become a bit more formalized. Dozens of NFL players have been working out at the Pete Bommartio Performance Center in South Florida each off season.

Jaguars’ Laviska Shenault and Shaq Quarterman are among those who honed their fitness there before the NFL combine. Bommarito’s business has flourished so much in the last two decades, he now has four facilities around the country.

You might recognize Jay Glazer from his work as a ‘NFL Insider’ on Fox Sports. But Glazer was an MMA fighter and enthusiast who started training NFL players with his MMA techniques and now has a whole business of elite sports performance training through his ‘Unbreakable’ gym in Los Angeles.

“We will find your breaking point and move it and move it and move it so when you go back to training camp or your recording studio, you say: ‘Man, this isn’t tough. That was tough.’ Glazer said recently in the New York Times.

Jamil Liggin was a track sprinter in college but now is considered a ‘speed specialist’ to over three hundred professional athletes based in California. He started with Marshawn Lynch and Odell Beckham, Jr. and it grew from there.

“When people ask me, ‘How much is a session?” Liggin explained to Men’s Fitness. “I say, ‘I don’t sell training—I give an experience.’ It’s mental training, it’s physical, and we are going to help you reach your goals—whether it be to tone up, lose weight, or get faster, whatever it is.”

And it’s not just about going for a run and lifting weights. Flipping huge tires isn’t going to make you throw a hundred mile an hour fastball.

“There’s a nervous system improvement,” Dr. Czerkawski explained. “It’s not just pushing iron for three months. It’s speed, strength, how your muscle reaction improves. Your body knows how to react to the stressful situations. Your muscle memory improves. It builds that confidence you need to be your best.”