The summer of 2017 marks 25 years since I bought that infamous $500 van and the Parisi Speed School becoming more than just a concept, but officially a business. I cannot believe a quarter century has gone by. I remember that special day. I was 25-years old and walked up to my Dad in my parents’ house and said, “Dad, I know what I am going to do with my life, I am going to teach young athletes how to run faster.” He was a little taken back by my excitement. Remember, this was an unproven concept and something I had not mentioned to him ever before. However, he responded how any caring father would to an ambitious son in that situation…
“Sure son, I know you will be successful as long as you believe in yourself, work hard at it and don’t quit.”
That moment led me to October of 1992. That’s when I went down to the County Hall in Hackensack, New Jersey and filed papers to incorporate the Parisi Speed School, and I never looked back. Over the past 25 years, there have been many ups and downs along the way. In the beginning, there were definitely more downs than ups because I had to overcome a huge nonbelief barrier. There was not much research on speed training and no real science to back up that speed could be improved. Many coaches believed that you were born with the gift of speed, so when I first started the Speed School, I had countless doors slammed in my face and people hanging up on me before I could say anything.
I still clearly remember calling one local coach and he told me speed could not be improved and to stop trying to sell something to kids that is IMPOSSIBLE. Instead of getting frustrated, I became fascinated and wanted to prove him wrong. I wanted to prove that I can do the impossible. So, I kept calling more and more coaches in the northern New Jersey area and I kept offering more and more Free Educational Speed Clinics. I knew that if I was able to bring athletes through the Parisi Warm-up and show them how to Accelerate, Change Direction and sprint at Top Speed, they would feel the difference for themselves. So, I went out and performed hundreds of Free Clinics at schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Church Groups, Town Rec Programs, 5k Runs, wherever someone would let me speak I would take advantage of it.
And guess what? That’s exactly what I did. With the athletes themselves becoming my biggest believers and advocates, together we showed the world that any athlete could improve speed. We took the impossible and showed all the doubters that it was possible
As I look back and reflect over the last quarter of a century of spreading the gift of increased speed, we have grown to over 100 Parisi locations around the world, we have trained over 135 NFL Draft picks and over 600,000 athletes. Not bad for a guy with an old beat up van and a dream. However, I realize that our success is not just derived from those numbers and getting athletes faster… our success is about how we make our athletes’ FEEL about themselves because they are getting faster. A faster athlete is a more confident athlete. Increased competence improves confidence. When a young athlete works on their physical well-being and strives to improve their strength and speed, they become empowered by achieving those goals. This process is the same success formula needed for life. The process of having a goal and achieving it is motivating. Nothing is more empowering than that. And this is what we do every day with athletes around the world.
I was very fortunate to have this experience at a young age. When I was in high school, I used physical training as a way to improve my own performance. I became fascinated with the process and results I was able to get. I then went on to compete in college at the NCAA Division I Level in the Javelin Throw. This was all possible because I had the right coach. I got hooked on learning more and more about the training process. I learned that having the right coach is instrumental when it came to motivation. This is when I knew that training could make a difference but having the right coach could make a champion.
This is the reason why at the Parisi Speed School, I value greatly all of our coaches. Having your coach believe in your dreams and help map out your goals are the seeds to the growth process of lifelong success on and off the field. The Parisi Coaches are the lifeblood to our program and they are the real heroes that should be congratulated and rewarded for our 25 years of service. Without our coaches, there is no Parisi Speed School.
Life is about having a dream, putting deadlines on those dreams and turning them into tangible, sequential goals. It is my goal over the next 25 years to grow Parisi to over 1,000 locations and work with millions of athletes. I am so excited about what the future holds and I’m thankful that everyday, I’m living my dream and fulfilling those goals…but I couldn’t have done it alone.
To all of our athletes: Thank you for all the hard work you put in on your quest to become the best you can be. You all motivate me to grow our mission and get more athletes involved in our program because of the energy you put in, both on and off the field. May all of you continue to work hard and strive toward great heights.
To all the Parisi Coaches, Program Directors and Owners around the world: Thank you for your trust and loyalty to the Parisi Program and for everything you do for the athletes you train. I can’t put into words how much I truly appreciate the efforts all of you put in each and every very day.
To all the Parisi Staff I’ve worked with over the years: Thank you for believing in our mission and the work you have done to give kids everywhere an opportunity to not only increase their speed, but build confidence and dare to dream.
To my parents: Thank you for the faith you had in me from the beginning and for instilling in me a belief that I can accomplish anything I set out to do.
To my wife Jennifer, and my sons, Will and Dan: Thank you for all of your love, support and patience over the years. The three of you are my foundation and continue to drive me to want to do great things every, single, day.
To All of You: Thank you to everyone for accompanying me on this journey for the last 25 years. You all play a part in why the Parisi Speed School went from being just a vision, to a reality. Each and every one of you allowed me to live out my dream and change the world, one child at a time.
Yours In Speed,