Strength. Speed. Agility.
For trainer Ken Thomore, those are the three ingredients to being a successful athlete, no matter what your sport, and he's been working with young athletes for about a decade as owner of TNT Sports Training & TNT Sports Baseball on just that.
“I know about all the glitz and glitter out there, but when you come here you’re gonna get bigger. You’re gonna get as good as you want to get,” he said.
About four months ago Thomore brought that philosophy to NextLevel Hockey and Sports Performance on Kimberly Road, where he is the strength, speed and agility trainer and the official baseball skills instructor. A certified trainer for 10 years, he has worked with athletes of all ages, levels and sports, including professional and college players. He points to getting his son, Minor league baseball player Carl Thomore, back from a serious ankle injury and good enough to become the 2011 second round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies as just one of his many success stories.
“I’m kind of an old school guy,” said Thomore. “I use all the old school training methods and technologies and style and combine it with the newest proven techniques and get instant results. After carl broke his ankle, one of biggest things on my resume is when they told him he’d never play again, in four months I had him back down to the top 10 in the draft in speed and power doing this stuff.”
But after Carl was drafted in 2011, the former steel worker became a full-time trainer and eventually found himself at NextLevel and its owner, Dan Siejk, where the two have created a partnership that fits together perfectly.
“It was just a good situation to get together at this point,” said Thomore. “Danny built one of the premier physical facilities and is one of top hockey guys in the tri-state and he just wanted to expand it to offer top services for other training aspects.”
While Thomore concentrates on speed, strength, agility and baseball, Siejk and his staff handle the skills portion of an athlete’s development. From hockey, football, baseball and soccer, there’s no sport that the facility can’t handle.
“I’d been coming in and using the facility whenever I got rained out to do my strength training and speed and agility training, so I was using the turf field," he said. “We just developed a relationship and decided to get together with the goal of giving East Brunswick one of the premier sports training facilities in the tri-state area.”
TNT and NextLevel train with many area colleges and high schools, including athletes from East Brunswick, South Brunswick, TCNJ, Wagner, Rutgers, Montclair, and elsewhere, with many coming in for speed and agility training and then staying around for skills training.
“They’re not only coming in here and working out like they would at a regular gym, but the kids are coming in and learning the skills that makes them stand out among the other kids at their level,” said Siejk.
And why there coming is simple—to get to the “Next Level.” But for many, what the next level is not always the same. For some, it means making the varsity team, for others, it means simply improving and getting better, and for still others, it means college ball and eventually the pros. But not all of these expectations are realistic.
“The next level. What do you think they think when we say that? To us, I think seventh grade sports, but those parents are thinking ‘my kid can play in college.’ We don’t sell pipe dreams, we sell reality, and you know that the first time you walk in the door and work out here.”
To meet their goal of getting athletes to the next level, Thomore creates individualized work out programs and diets that meet the needs of each student.
“The same workout doesn’t work for every kid. That’s the biggest difference with us. We give individual training with professionals, club team coaches, college coaches,” said Thomore. “You don’t want a kid going through six months of training and when he goes out there is the same as when he started, but that happens all the time."
Among the advantages of training with Thomore, TNT and Next Level is a state of the art facility that includes a full weight training room, 5,000-square-foot turf area, two 12 by 70 foot pitching/hitting tunnels that break down in to four 12 by 35 foot hitting tunnels, a hockey training rink, sports simulator, a Blademille (hockey skating treadmill), sports recovery specialists and sports nutrition services.
“People who come here want the opportunity to play at the next level, in college, high school, whether male or female, they want the opportunity to take a shot at their dreams, and that’s what we’re about. They can go after it.”