Speed and Agility of Body – and Mind

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By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor


Speed, agility, and explosiveness are the words preached at the House of Speed.

Denny Spruce operates the House of Speed, Orange County, where his goals are to educate the masses on how to gain explosive speed and agility.  The workout regimen was created by former NFL wide receiver Don Beebe and has helped everybody from high school to professional athletes develop their running speed.  Group training for the Newport Beach and Corona del Mar areas are now being offered Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church in Corona del Mar.

The program that Spruce runs is different than your average training session.  Running is a skill that transcends all sports and is what ties all sports together.  If you increase your ability to go from a dead stop to an all out sprint, it should help you regardless of what sport you’re playing.

“It’s a proven program,” Spruce said.  “We use the same techniques that Don Beebe did during his playing career and we really focus on the explosive part of running.”

Being a wide receiver, Beebe needed that quick burst of speed to get off the line of scrimmage and engage defenders with as much momentum as possible.  Muscle confusion and strength training are key elements of the program.

Injury prevention is a large part of the House of Speed as well.  Growing up we’re all taught the same stretching techniques to warm up, but the truth is, those “bend over and touch your toes” methods of stretching aren’t ideal.  Dynamic range of motion, where you’re putting your body in the positions you’re about to be in, make it easier for the muscles to wake up and get ready for the workout.  Skip drills follow the warm-up to continue this process.

“We’re adding proper motion to proper body position in order to create muscle memory,” Spruce said.

Another element of the program focuses on helping the younger generations develop solid Christian fundamentals and ideals.

Spruce said, “We want to mesh the physical side with character development.  The real differences between athletes at the highest levels are in the heart and the head.”

Each training session begins with 10 minutes of discussion about current issues in the world of sports.  The examples Spruce gave were the swirling controversy around the French soccer team during The World Cup, whether they were right or wrong to do what they did, and the neverending saga that is Brett Favre and whether he’s an egomaniac or just indecisive.

These issues are talked about from both sides of the argument and are treated like life lessons for the classes.  After the two-hour program, about five minutes is spent wrapping up the day.  They go over what was difficult that day, what was easy, what they learned through the discussion, and even what their goals will be for the next session.

On his website, Spruce says, “We use proven, sports science-based methods and techniques and specialized equipment to help athletes get to that next level of performance and confidence.  We also use Christian principles to help athletes understand and develop those critical character traits that will help them be successful in sports and in life.”

The House of Speed offers group training sessions as well as private, one-on-one sessions, which can be purchased one at a time or in a package deal.

“Every session is a free session,” Spruce said.  “Come check it out and see what we do in a free two-hour class with a speed pass from our website.”

The House of Speed plays host to athletes of all different ability levels from elite high school athletes looking to max out their skills to the slowest child out on the field who’s the last one picked for just about everything.  Even parents have been getting into the act.

Spruce said, “We do have an adult program as well since parents around here are very active.”

Spruce began the House of Speed in November 2008 at Mariners Christian School in Costa Mesa and has since expanded into Corona del Mar.  Convenience was the biggest reason for the expansion, and shared facilities work better for children and their parents so as to not add another location to their already busy itinerary.

Spruce said that kids around this area are so booked up during the week that adding another item to the agenda can be difficult, but if successfully done, can be very rewarding.

“It’s an investment,” Spruce said.  “Doing what’s right and using your heart and mind is just as important as the physical side of sports.”

To sign up for classes or to register for a “Speed Pass,” a free two-hour training session visit http://ca-orange-county.houseofspeed.com

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