Performance Course came to Barbers Hill High School three years ago upon the arrival of a new athletic director and head football coach, Tom Westerberg.
The company, based out of the Dallas area, states an objective of “Our mission is to enhance athletic performance and build strength of character in individuals and teams while preparing them for success in life,” on its website.
Geno Pierce has run Performance Course for almost a quarter of a century. It has been offered in the Barbers Hill athletic department thanks to the help of Travis Janeway, a Performance Course coordinator.
Janeway has known Westerberg since his senior year at Allen High School, the first for the coach at the school where he would ultimately win three straight football titles.
Janeway is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and has enjoyed working with his old football coach.
“I have been keeping in touch with him and the program and I know what he expects,” Janeway said. “If we do our job, we should be an extension of that coaching staff saying the same things to those kids and show those same intangible qualities.”
Westerberg likes what Performance Course offers because it is taught by certified strength and conditioning coaches.
“It’s not just a coach saying, ‘This is what we need to do,’” Westerberg said. “We use Performance Course to be on the cutting edge of strength and conditioning. A lot of school will have coaches assigned as strength and conditioning coach, but are you certified? You don’t just go to a doctor who says he is a doctor, right? You go see a guy who has gone through medical school.”
Barbers Hill is one of a few in the Houston area taking advantage of this program according to Westerberg, although he acknowledged that their athletic teams have always been successful in many sports before this program was installed.
With the program in place for a fourth year, many of the middle school kids who started back in 2016 will be juniors and seniors this sports season. That is where the dividends may pay off as football seeks to get past the first round of the playoffs and volleyball aims to get over the plateau of the regional quarterfinal round, according to Janeway.
Boys basketball won its first district title in 12 years this past winter.
“I think more and more teams will be using it when they see the advantages of it,” Westerberg said. “It’s taken a little while to get people bought in. The more that you buy in, the stronger you get, the higher the level you are going to compete.”
Janeway works with multiple Barbers Hill teams throughout the year with the goal of improving general and overall athleticism that is not always just sports specific, but age specific.
He and the coaches focus on sports specific goals and not just one universal approach for all the teams.
“We try to stay more general and functional and keeping it simple,” Janeway said. “We want to improve strength, power, speed and agility and the ability to start and stop.”
The numbers at Barbers Hill have gone up each summer with this being the fourth.
“What we see from the kids is not only a transformation physically but mentally as well,” Janeway said. “It’s an opportunity for them at all levels – middle school through high school – to find some leadership skills and take ownership of their own workout.”
The focus is on consistency, which they believe is key to building a champion.
“This is about how an athlete should train year round,” Janeway said. “You scale back on the sports specificity and you work on some of those fundamentals. Kids need that break from sports specific skills and work on what they wouldn’t at practice.”
Performance Course comes at a cost, but at a variable rate depending on an athlete’s financial status and the type of program.
“If the athlete is in any financial need situation, we are going to help them out,” Janeway said. “We help out anyone needs it. No questions asked we take care of it.”
Landon Salazar, an eighth grader, is using the course to get better for football and soccer.
“It’s pretty fun when you get used to it,” Salazar said. “I am doing it to get better and the coaches are more inspirational and they aren’t just yelling at you being mean.”
High school senior Sarah Lankford who plays volleyball for the Lady Eagles also benefits from the program.
“They change up every workout every day, so each day we are sore,” Lankford said. “We get a good work out and we are continuing to grow. I think everyone is getting the work that they need to excel in each sport.”
For more information on Performance Course visit https://www.performancecourse.com/.