By C.J. “Off the Bounce”
Half a mile down the road from the University of San Francisco (USF) is a training ground where members of the USF men’s basketball team sacrifice their summers to be forged into elite Division I athletes. Located on Geary Boulevard, Advanced Wellness is a gym that some would consider relatively small. Every square inch is utilized! Ranging from the motivational quotes that are scattered throughout the building to the state of the art equipment, Advanced Wellness specializes in fortifying athletes and average Joe’s alike.
Advanced Wellness has become a second home for Dons star point guard Frankie Ferrari. Ferrari has trained at Advanced Wellness for over a year now and is making strides in preparation for his senior year at the Hilltop.
Co-owner and Program Designer Leo Shveyd (A.K.A. The enforcer/The”Mad Scientist”) traded in his suit, tie and briefcase for a stopwatch and gym shorts (Currently a non-practicing lawyer that is still eligible to practice law in the state of California). Shveyd serves as Ferrari’s personal trainer (Shveyd also trains USF Power Forward Matt McCarthy, and USF Shooting Guard Alum Chase Foster-who aspires to play overseas.).
“The first step was getting him to be available. Frankie made tremendous strides in the strength room as well as on the hardwood last year,” Shveyd said.
“The cool thing about Frankie is prior to starting at AW (Advanced Wellness), he had not made it through a basketball season in the prior four years. Last year was the first (we missed our goal of no practices and games by one; he missed one practice). I always tell my athletes that your number one ability is your availability. If you’re not available, even if you’re Frankie Ferrari, you can’t help anybody win games from the bench,” preached Shveyd.
“The type of training we do is generalized at first, can you do the basic movements? Can you squat? Can you deadlift? Performing all the basic movements is critical when first starting out,” Shveyd said.
The programming then shifts to higher intensity basketball related workouts.
Shveyd sets the bar high with all his athletes including Ferrari.
“When you’re an aspiring athlete, you want to compare yourself to what you can be. But also, you want to compare yourself to the best in the world,” said Shveyd.
Shveyd has tailored a program for Ferrari by studying elite undersized guards with proven track records. In years past, articles circulated throughout the basketball hemisphere that Golden State Warriors All Star Point Guard and two-time MVP Stephen Curry can deadlift upwards of 400 pounds.
“Deadlifting has a high transferability to basketball players. Having good abs and hips sets the tone for the rest of your body, and allows athletes to have great body control.”
Shveyd preaches the fundamentals of health first and foremost such as proper hydration, nutrition, adequate sleep and effective breathing practices. Shveyd implements these strategies to all his clients.
“Breathing is not only the most important thing you do in life, but also in performance training. It’s a hard sell for a lot of athletes. Many check out and lose interest quickly because mastering the art of breathing is technical.”
“Mastering your breath is the prerequisite to everything in life. This allows people to perform in high stress environments,” Shveyd said.
“We can expect a tremendous attitude and unparalleled effort. In a world fixated on outcomes, the only thing we can control is our attitude and effort. With Frankie, you get 100 percent in both respects.” -Leo Shveyd Co-owner/Program Designer at Advanced Wellness
Shveyd was quick to point out that effective breathing practices conditions the nervous system which allows athletes to perform and exert themselves at “lower Rpm’s”.
“Most basketball players and athletes in general only know stressful breathing strategies or high Rpm’s. This type of breathing reduces a players likelihood to succeed late in games.”
“Frankie was already an efficient breather before he stepped foot into our gym and he continues to improve.”
“We do the same thing with a mom at home with three kids. Get her healthy, a better athlete (fitter and stronger), the same principles apply.”
The first basketball player that arrived at Advanced Wellness was electrifying 5’7″ guard and Oakland native Vincent “Tutu” Golson. Golson suffered two MCL sprains in the span of seven months. Once he arrived at Advanced Wellness, Golson was back on the court two weeks later.
Several players including Ferrari are reaping the benefits of what Shveyd refers to as a the “Road Map to Elite Level Performance”. Needless to say, Shveyd is busy as numerous basketball players from all different levels (both male and female) are migrating to his gym.
When asked about his expectations of Ferrari, Shveyd preaches falling in love with the process first and foremost.
“We can expect a tremendous attitude and unparalleled effort. In a world fixated on outcomes, the only thing we can control is our attitude and effort. With Frankie, you get 100% in both respects,” Shveyd said adamantly.
Tale of the tape!