Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

-What is EAP? 

EAP is a training facility for athletic performance. 

I joke that it is 50% gym, 50% laboratory. 

Everything we do is, or will soon become trackable. 

Why is this important?

 

  1. Customer Service

I want to be able to look each customer in the eyes and point to performance metrics proving how much they got better at their sport. Most performance trainers (myself previously included) rely on memories of past seasons. This method is actually good for business because it revolves around confirmation biases. Who wants to say “I paid all that money for training, and my kid isn’t better.” You’d feel like a fool. 

So you say your kid is better, even if they aren’t. 

 

We want more than that. We want proof.

 

  2. There are very few professional landscapes that are as “Fluid” as the sports performance industry. New information is being learned, literally every day. We will always be “pushing the envelope” so to speak. I always say “If I’m not embarrassed by what we were doing two years ago, we’ve gotten stagnet, we aren’t working hard enough to serve our athletes.” With new things, comes new doubters. We have to be able to support that what we are doing works. 999 out of 1,000 detractors will not have data to support their view. But if we don’t have data to support what we are doing, we are no closer to being correct than our naysayers. *I use the word “Support” because people that use the word “Prove” when referring to research, are already attached to an idea they would prefer be true. There is very seldom “Proof” when being objective.

 

-My kid doesn’t play baseball.

Do you offer things for *Insert name of other sport*?

 

The nucleus of our program, regardless of sport played, is making the athlete as powerful, explosive and athletic as possible. 

With baseball kids, we get started on that, then start layering in the more baseball specific stuff. 

With other sports, we just don't do the sports specific stuff. So basically, the non-baseball kids do the work for becoming faster,more explosive, and powerful and then they are done for the day.

 

-Do you have classes?

No.

We use what is called a “Semi-Private” model. 

I would describe it as taking the best parts of private training and the best parts of 10 Fit, or Planet Fit and meshing them. Simply explained, you are shown how to complete your training program for the first few days as if you have a personal trainer. Over time, we back away and supervise as you complete your training program. The upsides to this system far outweigh the downfalls of it. Upsides are that after the initial period, you are free to come at anytime during our set “window” of training times. There is no class time to be on-time, or late for. 

There are two main downfalls to this model.

  1. If you need a baby sitter, or a drill instructor to make you do the work you are prescribed, this will not work. EAP is a “team environment”. We are accomplishing things TOGETHER. No business can meet everyone’s needs. If you need this type of instruction, its ok. Just know that you won’t receive it at EAP and its probably not a good fit. 

  2. It makes it very difficult to take kids under 12 into our program. This is simply a product of us being understaffed most of the time. One day this won’t be an issue, but for the foreseeable future, it is.​

-So what would I do at EAP?

Long story short.

>Everybody strength trains 2-4 days per week. That varies depending on time of year, individual needs, etc.

*Kids that are already mandated to strength train at school are NOT forced to lift again. We have methods for complimenting what they did at school workouts. If they are too tired from that, we have recovery workouts prepared for them.

>Baseball/Softball position players strength train AND Hit basically every day they come in.

>Baseball pitchers strength train, do arm care and whatever throwing program we deem needed for each athlete.

>Volleyball players strength train and do ACL/Rotator Cuff Prehab work everyday. Vertical jump programming is built into their strength work.

>Basketball, Football, Soccer, Cheer have very similar days as the volleyball players. Non-Baseball athletes, on average will finish their work faster than baseball players simply because there isn't as many "layers" to their programming. The baseball guys have to lift, throw, hit, arm care, etc. The other sports just have their strength/speed work. Strength/Speed work all takes place in the weight room(and adjacent turf room) but is very different from what you think of as "Lifting Weights" in the traditional sense. See the FAQ below about Speed and Agility for a better explanation. 

Baseball is the main sport that has a lot of "Sports Specific" work to do because its my background. I honestly never intended to work with other athletes. We kind of "fell into" the athletes of other sports simply because the main focus with our baseball guys is to make them as fast, explosive, and powerful as possible. Once we get that process started with them, we begin adding the more specific stuff such as hitting, arm care, velocity, etc. 

Well, as you probably know, "fast, explosive, and powerful as possible" plays in every sport, so little by little other sports trickle in. Its a pretty unique environment. I really like visiting with the kids and hearing about their respective sports. 

 

I tell every volleyball parent/player I talk to the same thing, because Im a very honest and up-front person "I don't even know the positions on a volleyball team. But I do know how to make you jump higher than you've ever jumped and hit the ball so hard that its dangerous for the opposing team. If you are interested in that, I can help you." And it's kind of the same story for all the other sports as well. No, we do not offer soccer skills and drills, and there is not a very good chance we ever will. We can just make you run faster, change directions quicker, and kick harder than you ever have. Let me know if you want in on that.

-How much? 

First Month $260

Monthly $160

-When would I be able to train?

Like, When do the athletes come in?

330pm-7pm Monday - Thursday

A typical day can be completed in an hour. But its not uncommon to stay longer. Especially for the baseball players that pitch and play a position because they will strength train, and do their arm care, and throwing as well.

If they are willing to dedicate the time and are ok with being here for over 2 hours a day, we will give the hitting work to do as well.

Bottom line is we have as much work as you want to do every single day. If you've got the time, we've got the work.

-How do I get started?

CLICK HERE to email us. We will send you paperwork and schedule your first session. We often have a waiting list. If this is the case we will send the paper work and add you to the waiting list. You will be notified when you're next "In line".

-Can I come by and see the place?

Yes. Click here to schedule an Informational Visit

-Is there a contract? How long is the contract?

No. A gym that requires you to sign a contract knows they are not providing enough quality service to keep you as a customer. My goal for EAP is to become such a great resource, people can’t afford NOT to pay us each month. Plus, we want people that WANT to be here. 

-Do you have a Volleyball program for __________ age?

Yes we do. Our master program is designed so it can easily be modified to age. 12 is the youngest we can admit into the program currently, simply due to staff size. 

Understand, we do not offer “Volleyball specific”, “Skills and Drill” type things for Volleyball. The “sports specific” things Volleyball players do, after their strength and speed/jump work, is ACL and Rotator Cuff “Prehab”.

Volleyball players spend way too much time on a court to begin with. Think of them as a NASCAR, the court is the race track. We are the garage. Where things get fixed, and engine upgrades are installed. 

- I already lift at 10 Fit/Planet Fit, etc. I just want to hit/do the Velo program?

No.  

Our program is all in, or all out. If you are mandated by school coaches to strength train, we will work around that. If you choose to do your own thing, you are on your own. 

We could make a lot more money if we allowed this, but that's not the main goal at EAP. Your success is more important. Some people need to be protected from their own willingness to pay for a service that won't benefit them.

Can I pay a monthly fee to use a cage? 

No. 

We appreciate those that would be willing to support our business by renting a cage, but our athletes having the equipment and space to complete their prescribed training program is the top priority. On occasion we will rent the facility to teams on which an EAP athlete plays, during dead times when no athletes are typically at the facility training.

 

Do you offer “Visitor” fees, or “Punch Card” systems for athletes that can’t make it on a regular basis. 

In extenuating circumstances, maybe. We have a system that has to be taught. That is very hard to do and time consuming when a person is not going to be present much. It involves a lot of time consuming, and frankly, downright boring stuff. Allowing one person to skip that makes everyone else think its ok to skip it, and its not ok.

Not to mention, training programs do not work in sporadic doses

 

-Do you Prorate?

No, we don't.

-For the amount of service we offer, our rates are extremely cheap. The person I completed my main mentorship under charged between $400-$700 per month and that did not include throwing or hitting programming, that was in 2014 and they increase each year. -We do the same amount of work regardless of how much you come.

-You cannot make gains with sporadic doses, so honestly, this is as much about us not taking money that won't be well spent from you.

This is another of those things that I sound more rude than I mean to when I say it but, you may be trying to fit too much into your schedule. 

-I just want to work on my arm strength.

Well I just want to deer hunt, play golf, and eat donuts for breakfast everyday but that's not in my best interest. Look, you can't put a strong tree branch on a sapling. The body works as a system, not as individual units. We are going to build your arm strength, but its not always going to look like you'd expect. I often joke with our guys "Do you know what RFD means, and how to build it?(Rate of Force Development, its much more important to throwing than "Arm Strength")" When they answer "No" I remind them, then you aren't qualified to make decisions regarding your training program. 

-My son/daughter needs to build ...............

Maybe. The tricky part about athletic performance is it comes from the entire body in very fast clips. For instance, most cannot wrap their minds around the upper body having anything to do with vertical jump ability or sprinting speed, but they absolutely do. Its all part of a chain, and you know what happents to weak links of a chain. We will use our assessment process tell us what abilities are lacking and how we need to approach training it. 

-When are fall tryouts for 9/10/11/12/13/14u baseball?

We do not have teams for that age. We have a fall training program that I would gladly put against any fall baseball game for comparison to see which one develops athletes better. Pitchers in our program rarely throw "Bullpens", they throw "Live AB's" with a hitter in the box. This all happens 15 feet away from where their peers are completing their training program while waiting their turn to hit or pitch. Its an incredibly productive environment. This happens practically everyday depending on which pitcher needs to throw and when. So not only do the pitchers get quality live reps, the hitters get tons of them. Why do people play fall ball? For reps? I would guess each kid will get 12-15 live at bats per week. If you play one fall ball game a week, you get 4, at best. 

-Do you offer lessons?

We do.

But its not our "Go-To" for making an athlete better. Lessons are great for business, but they aren't the best option for development.

 

Lessons are best when used like a dietary supplement added to a diet that is already good. Adding a supplement to a bad diet is a waste of time and money. Only doing lessons once per week for 30 minutes or even twice, is also not the best use of your time and money, assuming development is a high priority.

Athletes need more than 30-60 minutes of training per week to see a noticeable difference in ability. And there is just no need in paying over a dollar per minute to get it. That has been one of the guiding principles for EAP as we have built this program over the years. Our goal is to give the things people want to get in a private lesson, for a monthly price that is a fraction of the price of private lessons.

-Can you help me with my pitching mechanics?

Yes. We use high speed cameras to break down pitching mechanics from several angles. Then identify the things that need corrected and implement drill work to make the changes "stick". I am a certified pitching coach through Driveline Baseball, what I learned from them meshed with my 20 years of watching and pondering throwing mechanics has led to our methods. 

This method is unlike any other help you've had with mechanics. There are parts of EAP's program that I still feel like are a work in progress, and there are parts that I'm very confident in it being the best available, the way we help pitchers is one I'm very confident in being the best. I will put this up against anyone's lessons any day. assuming I have an athlete that is completely bought into the process and understands the mindset they have to be in to make these drills work.

-I am exhausted from practice and games from *second sport*. Do you have a recovery membership?

You can pay the normal monthly fee and utilize our recovery tools when needed. If over time we notice that is all you do, I'm going to tell your parents that I'm not able to provide enough value for the money they are spending and that we need to let someone that has less going on, that will be able to train, have your spot. Not to mention, if you are always exhausted, you need to check your sleep and nutrition plan. If they aren't right, our compression boots and Marc Pros are not going to help you. 

Also,please keep in mind, our athletes are our walking-talking billboards, our training program providing the athletic gains that show up on the field are quite literally the life-blood of this business. Recovery protocol is a tool to be implemented when needed, not a program that everything centers around.

Bottom line, playing multiple sports is great. I highly recommend it for a kids emotional and social development. BUT, you also need to understand that comes with a price tag of not being able to spend time training in a specialized facility like ours. If continuing to play multiple sports is worth losing that, I applaud you, that is how sports were meant to be. We are here, for the most part, for the athlete that focuses on one sport. Not that we recommend doing that, its just that they are usually the only ones that will have the time and energy to do it.

-I don't want to get bulky/slow.

Strength training, programmed for athletic development, by a qualified professional has never made an athlete slower. Contrary to popular belief, muscle growth(Hypertrophy) cannot make you slower. 

Some people will tell you otherwise but it's just not the case. A stronger engine has never made a vehicle slower.

Bulkiness happens via two main culprits. 

1) High rep strength training that results in muscle fatigue. Which is ironic because most people use high reps to AVOID getting bulky, when the fact of the matter is, its one of the things that will lead to "Bulkiness". That is not my opinion, that is proven fact.

2)Getting fat. You gain fat by consuming more calories than you burn in a given day, over the course of many days/weeks/months. 

I say all that to say this, Nothing you do at EAP will make you bulky or slow. 

-Do you do speed and agility?

This is an accidentally “loaded” question. 

If you mean, do we have “Speed and Agility Classes” in the traditional sense, No, we do not. 

The reason we don’t is because they are a rip off. They are not bad for kids under the age of 10’ish, but they’d be much better off playing tag in the yard.

One of the things that has helped EAP be successful is I HAVE to be able to look our customers in the eye. If I take money from them, and deep down inside, know I did not provide equal amounts of value, I will feel like a thief. Its ironic because I have people almost daily, practically beg me to start a speed and agility class and steal their money. 

NOW, having said all of that, if you are asking if we make our athletes faster, and more agile? The answer is an resounding YES. 

How do we do that?

Before I get into that, something needs to be explained. IF you have heard of EAP before, you may have heard about our reputation of being heavily focused on lifting weights. Its definitely a fair observation, on the outside looking in. The thing you don’t hear about, and the reason is because it is very complicated to explain, is that we aren’t just “lifting weights” like you think of in a normal weight room scenario. 

We are using what I would explain as a systematic formula of heavy and light loads, lifted at different speeds and intensities at different points of the program, combined with explosive jumps and medicine ball throws that work in harmony with each other to create incredibly strong, explosive athletes. I don’t know if anyone that reads this will fall into this category, but IF you are familiar with Westside Barbell, there is a very heavy influence of the Conjugate Method in our programming. If you have watched the documentary “Westside vs the World”, then you may be aware this system was a “secret weapon” for the Chicago Bull teams of the 90’s. Why? Because this method builds freakishly fast, powerful human beings. If that doesn’t “play” in your sport, so be it. But, its not a sport I’ve ever heard of.

If you are reading this and having a hard time seeing how this could be true, I get it. We have been conditioned to see the weight room as place where you build bulky accessories to our bodies(I.E. Big biceps, six pack abs and such) but truth be told, the weight room *WHEN PROGRAMMED AND OPERATED BY A QUALIFIED PERSON* is like the garage for a NASCAR. Its where routine maintenance occurs, repairs are made, and the engine gets upgrades. 

If it still just doesn’t make sense to you, I’ll put it like this. My wife is a very highly sought after CPA in Central Arkansas, she is also the CFO of EAP. 

In addition to the owner of EAP being married to a CPA, EAP also has another accountant that handles our taxes, payroll, etc. 

Between those two, I get told to do a lot of things that just absolutely make ZERO sense to me……..But, I am not a CPA. They have each been doing CPA……..things for almost two decades. I have been training human beings to be the best they can be for over two decades. So I’m pretty comfortable trusting they know better than me, regarding the financial matters of EAP. 

-What experience do you have?

Michael Richards

Elite Athletic Performance LLC, Owner/Founder

Bachelors degree in Nutrition

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Certified Speed and Agility Coach

Certified Pitching Coach, Driveline Baseball; Foundations Of Pitching

You can read about my playing career here.

https://www.eaperformancellc.com/post/my-baseball-playing-career

My coaching experience goes back to 2001. At last count, I had surpassed  Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 Hour Rule" (You need to spend approximately 10,ooo hours honing your craft to be considered an expert) three times.

I've spent over 30,000 approximate hours, basically my entire adult life, coaching human beings. I am 50% "Baseball guy", 50% Strength Coach. 

The vast majority of those hours are in a gym. But I travel everywhere as the assistant coach for our 18u Select team, so my on-field experience is growing tremendously as well.

In the last 5 years alone, over 100 athletes under my watch have signed letters to play college sports.

9 of them have gone on to sign professional contracts.

Of those 100, 5 of them went to Division 1 universities and all 5 started at least one game as a freshman. 

At the time of this writing, we have a HS player that has 16 home runs under his belt with several weeks of his summer season left. 

While I am proud of those statistics, I don't type them to brag, that's really not my nature. I tell you about them because in a business where people squeeze all kinds of dollars from parents that just want to provide opportunity for their kid, basically because it is hard to prove or disprove a particular program "worked" or didn't, RESULTS MATTER. We get results, and we do it the right way.

Like I said, I am very proud of all those numbers, but I am more proud of the fact that when our athletes go off to college, then come home for the holidays, they say hi to their families(Sometimes) and come straight here. Most people think you have to be a jerk to be successful in this business. I disagree. You don't have to treat kids like fraternity pledges to get results.