The Cranberry Eagle
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Article published December 12, 2012

‘Speed Matters’ helping athletes boost training

Derek Pyda
Butler Eagle

There is no offseason for Rob Naylor, but he’s not complaining.

The founder of Speed Matters, Sports Specific Training, continues to work with area high school sports teams as well as individuals.
Naylor’s focus is to increase each athlete’s speed, strength, flexibility and stamina with customized exercises depending on the sport.
A few of the recent athletes he worked with were Seneca Valley varsity basketball players Easton Bazzoli, Alex Snyder and Zach Snyder.
“With basketball players, we’re looking to improve lateral movement as well as jumping ability,” he said. “Now, if it’s a lacrosse player I’m working with, we work more on upper body and core movement. Plus, the footwork in lacrosse is a lot tighter and we focus on that as well.”
Last summer, Naylor spent time with the Mars girls volleyball team, which ended up winning the program’s first WPIAL title in November.
“I did 18 to 20 sessions with them,” Naylor said. “I’m proud of them. Their hard work paid off.
“The workouts I put the kids through make a substantial difference, whether an athlete is trying to make the varsity team in high school or wants to play in college,” said Naylor, who earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a master’s in sports administration and exercise science from Slippery Rock University. “When kids are training with me, they are put through some tough workouts.”
One of Naylor’s past pupils is Seneca Valley graduate Don Barclay, who starred for the West Virginia University football team and is now starting on the offensive line for the Green Bay Packers.
Naylor not only helps high school athletes improve their physical skills, he also helps them find the right college fit, both academically and athletically, through his three-year partnership with College Prospects of America.
“I have a lot of contact with college coaches all over the country,” he said. “I know from talking to them what they are looking for and when I sit down with a kid and his or her parents, I am as clear and realistic with them as possible.
“A lot of people are chasing that dream of a Division I scholarship,” added Naylor, “but it can be very challenging to get. I believe that if you are putting your heart into a sport and want to play in college, there is a spot for you, whether it’s at the Division I, II or III level.”
At Seneca Valley alone, Naylor has aided many student athletes in finding a college to call home, including Zach Herrmann (Baldwin-Wallace, volleyball), Steve Swanson (Edinboro, football), Alex Karika (U.S. Naval Academy, volleyball), Sam Struss (Liberty, lacrosse) and Emma Carter (Clarion, volleyball).
But Naylor does not limit his scope to local athletes. He has also worked with college-hopefuls from Ligonier Valley High School (Westmoreland County) and Tussey Mountain (Bedford County).
Naylor has also conducted boot camps for the past several years. They are aimed at getting people in shape or helping them stay there.
“We recently had our 1,000th boot camp,” he said. “Most of them have been for women and a lot of them come out for the boot camps in January and February. They want to stay fit through the winter months.”
For more details, visit www.speedmatters.biz.