Athletes' Performance Institute
||It has been suggested that this article be merged into [[::Athletes' Performance|Athletes' Performance]]. ([[Talk:Athletes' Performance Institute#Merger proposal|Discuss]]) Proposed since August 2012.|
Athletes' Performance Institute (API) is a private personalized performance training institute, described by MLB.com as "a high-tech fitness boot camp for professionals," and by ESPN as "a sprawling weight room/running track/football field/swimming pool/café/spa." Training programs can include aspects such as a nutrition program, massages, metabolic tests, cardiovascular work, drills, and aptitude and media training.
Personalized training centers are a relatively new concept. API was founded in 1999 by Mark Verstegen, who had previously worked on fitness programs for IMG. Verstegen holds a masters degree in Exercise Science and studied at Georgia Tech.
The API Tempe, Arizona facility opened in 2001, and that same year API began an NFL Combine preparation program for prospective NFL athletes, training them for the NFL Combine tests. Since its inception more than 25 first round picks were API athletes, including 8 each in the 2005 and 2006 NFL Drafts. In the spring of 2001 Sports Illustrated noted that Roberto Alomar had spent the prior December at API, and was noticeably stronger.
In 2002 Peter Gammons of ESPN reported that "prospect Carl Crawford is tearing it up in the Triple-A International League, showing far more power to go with his extraordinary speed after spending the winter working at [API]. And when in August 2002 Wayne Gretzky, then a long-retired managing partner with the Phoenix Coyotes, took part in the team's four-week session at API, that prompted unfounded rumours that he would return to competition.
After the 2002 season Boston General Manager Theo Epstein sent Kevin Youkilis to API for an intensive six-week training regimen, which Youkilis liked so much that he moved his offseason home to Arizona, and began training at API on his own dime.
In 2003, API opened a second facility in Carson, California, primarily for soccer, tennis, cycling, and track and field athletes. Its athletes have included Olympic gold medalists, MLS Cup champions, and major sport All Stars. That year the Boston Globe and MLB.com reported that in Curt Schilling trained at API as well in 2003 and 2005. In the 2005–06 offseason Giants starter Jason Schmidt spent part of his time at the API, playing catch in the mornings with Schilling, taking a course in nutrition, and hitting the weights diligently enough to add 20 pounds, while shedding body fat. He leveraged the opportunity by also picking Schilling's brain during their time together as to how he approaches the game, something that in earlier years one could only expect to do with teammates.
In the summer of 2005 a negative note crept into API's track record, as Mike Ricci of the Phoenix Coyotes injured himself while training at API, and needed surgery to repair a disk in his upper back which was creating pressure on a nerve.
In 2006 Sports Illustrated reported how Vernon Davis, tight end of the San Francisco 49ers, had performed what he described as "aggressive, intense, and raw" two-a-day, 90-minute, core-strengthening workouts six days a week for six weeks at ATI. Davis performed three or four sets of each exercise, focusing in turn on different muscle groups so he could work longer with less fatigue. He lowered his time in the 40-yard (37 m) dash from 4.56 to 4.38, increase his vertical leap from 40 to 42 inches (1,100 mm), and gained nine pounds. The 49ers took him sixth overall. That year a third facility was opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, for basketball players. Nine of its athletes were first-round draft picks in the 2006 NBA Draft.
After the 2006 season Dustin Pedroia worked out at API with a group that included Youkilis, Baltimore's Brian Roberts and Jay Gibbons, Travis Buck (Oakland) and Brandon Wood (Angels), and Crawford, in workouts starting at 9 a.m. with a two-hour speed work session, followed by two hours of baseball-related drills, followed by two hours of lifting weights, followed by another round of conditioning. "I've put a lot of hard work in," Pedroia said. "The days over there are kind of tough. We're always moving around, lifting, sprints, all that stuff. It's hectic, but for me and Youk we have put in the time and it's going to pay off."
In spring training in 2008, Red Sox manager Terry Francona noted how much conditioning and training had progressed since his own playing career, and pointed to the prevalence of training facilities like API. “These guys have access to so much,” he said. “They take advantage of it and when they come in [to camp], it makes the baseball part easier.”
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