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Need for speed

By BOB GOSMAN

November 7, 2007


Nicolet High School soccer player Katie Kohen trains at the Parisi Speed School in Grafton while trainer Scott Synold tracks her progress.


Scott Synold is far from ancient. Still, the 32-year-old canít believe how little exercise the average kid gets today compared to when he was growing up in Wauwatosa. "Everything is right at your fingertips now," he says. "Fast food, video games and computer games are more prevalent and provide instant gratification. The only thing that isnít instant is health and fitness."

Synold hopes to do his part to change that as director of Wisconsinís only Parisi Speed School at Form & Fitness in Grafton. Bill Parisi founded the program in 1992 in New Jersey to help young athletes increase speed and power in an efficient and safe way.

Everyone is welcome at the Parisi Speed School, whether an elite high school athlete or a sedentary 8-year-old. Classes are grouped by ability, not by age, and typically meet twice a week.

"Weíre trying to empower youths and change the way they view themselves," says Synold, who was on the track team at UW-Madison. "We want to give them the self-confidence they may not have on the playground."

By reaching children when they are young, Synold hopes they can develop habits for life. Classes are fast-paced and animated, with an emphasis on trying to make the workouts enjoyable.

The Parisi Method is also popular with high school athletes trying to improve their speed and fitness. The girls on the Nicolet soccer team began working out at the Parisi Speed School last November, and the results were evident by the spring season.

"We had the technical skills, but we were lagging behind some teams in terms of speed and overall power," Nicolet coach Tony Quintero says. "They came into the season faster and more fit. We didnít have a single injury related to pulled muscles."

Synold says the rewards are out there for those athletes who commit to the program. "Thereís no magic pill or bullet," he says. "A stagnant lifestyle and injuries are at an all-time high. We want to shift that paradigm."