For 25 years, John DiFede has been helping athletes rehabilitate their injuries and teaching them how to increase their speed and strength. The athletes can be quite young or in their prime and he also has clients who are not athletes.
“My day starts at 5:30 a.m.,” DiFede says. “During the school year, some of the kids will come in early for training or therapy. Later in the day at about 3:30 the kids come in after school lets out. I get a steady flow. My entire afternoon is dedicated to high school athletes.”
DiFede works out of Thump Gym, 8100 SW 81 Drive in the Kings Creek Shopping Center, and helps young athletes develop their flexibility, strength and speed. He likes to begin their training as young as possible.
“I have clients that I started with when they were five and seven years old and now they are eight and 10,” he says. “You see huge improvement in the footwork. It’s very empowering to see progress at a young age.”
While his program uses weights for the teens and adults, the younger children do different type of exercises.
“Instead of weights, there are body weight exercises we’ll do,” he says. “Core exercises, balance work, agility work.”
Proper run mechanics are taught. That includes change of direction, stopping and starting safely.
“There are athletes that do it naturally, but you can tweak that,” DiFede says. “There are some that have good straight line speed, but have difficulty changing direction with speed. Others have good directional speed, but have trouble with straight line speed.”
DiFede can even help kids who are not natural athletes improve their skills.
“There are children who are not going to be as athletic as others. With the proper training at a young age, instead of waiting until they are in their teens, it happens,” he says. “It’s a movement pattern they adopt. There will be increases in performance and speed and a decrease in injury.”
DiFede gives small group lessons or private lessons.
“I don’t like large groups because it really gets diluted,” he says. “There’s private, semi-private and three or four; but no larger than three or four.”
The exception to the rule is when he is hired to work with a team.
DiFede studied premed at Florida International University and spent two years in podiatry school at Barry University. His rehab therapy proved beneficial over the eight years he worked at the University of Miami. He still works with former UM player and Giants safety Antrel Rolle.
“It’s fast track,” DiFede says. “If there is nothing structural, this type of therapy can help a person recover quicker. If it’s just muscle involved, this is great for fast tracking the athlete, realigning the whole system.”
He is a massage therapist and has certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine Performance Enhancement Specialist. He is also a USAW Sports Performance Coach and is certified by the National Council on Strength and Fitness. His clients range from attorneys to professional athletes, including Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra.
For more information, call 305-323-0816 or go to www.thumpfightgym.com.