New Kid on the Block: Parisi Speed School at ARC Athletics

The folks from ARC Athletics — owner Gene Schafer, physical therapist Meg Tyner and head coach Joel Guzman (above at left) — have opened a franchise of Parisi Speed School, a training program for kids ages 7 to 21 designed to refine their movements, prevent injury and build strength. Their new space, 2,000 square feet two floors down at 79 Leonard, provides enough room for kids to sprint, leap and lift — to gain both speed and agility.

The facility does not offer instruction in any specific sport, but rather it trains kids to be better athletes all around. “It’s a performance paradigm. If you make them a better athlete, you’ll make them better at their sport no matter what it is,” said Guzman. The concept is also to help kids who specialize in one sport to avoid the overuse injuries that seem to be getting more and more common.

There’s a schedule of four different kinds of workouts — from Jump Start for ages 7 to 12, to Total Performance for ages 12 to 14 to Elite for kids 14 and up. (Rates are membership based and sold by the month.) Groups are kept to six, “so I can ensure that everyone can get the proper attention,” said Guzman. (That’s Guzman and coach Tim Wienclaw working with a very game Alejandro, a soccer player.)

The concept started in 1993 in New Jersey, when Bill Parisi, a college javelin thrower who was good enough to go to the Olympic trials, started working with high school, college and pro athletes in the off season, helping them with speed training and motivation. Within a few years he is working with the NY Giants, opens a full-service Parisi Sports Club and enlists Phil Simms as his national spokesman; there are now 90 clubs and schools across the country.

Gene Schafer (above, with Tyner and Guzman) opened ARC — which stands for Active Rehabilitation and Conditioning — in 2005 and moved the business to Staple and Harrison in 2011. The team there works with kids, but didn’t have the room or the time to fit them all in. The Parisi method was a good match for their philosophy. “Working this way as an athlete makes you a lot more desirable to a team and a lot more coachable.”

Parisi Speed School at ARC Athletics
79 Leonard St.



  1. Walked by on Warren St this past weekend, looks like Coder School is opening a location in Tribeca.

  2. My 7 year old has been going to ARC twice weekly for almost two months and I’ve seen great gains in his body awareness, endurance, and athletic form. Joel knows how to adapt instruction to meet my son at his level, but also makes work fun. My kiddo is very enthusiastic going to his sessions and has a growing appreciation for doing exercises slowly and with intention. He leaves sweaty, happy. We are very pleased with his progress so far!