Special training helps local athletes

Per capita, the Steubenville/Weirton area may have more athletic passion than any other region in the nation.

However, on the playing field, there could still be some ground to make up. Compared to more heavily populated, urban areas the Upper Ohio Valley is a bit behind.

Terrance Montgomery is set to change that trend.

As the founder of the Eastern Ohio Speed and Agility Academy, Montgomery invites athletes of all ages and all sporting backgrounds to join him and improve on the little skills that could become a springboard to next level talent.

“I teach kids the extra stuff that makes them work harder,” Montgomery said. “They learn confidence and become more confident in themselves after they go through these drills.”

Montgomery works with athletes ages 7 to 21 on footwork drills that aid in quickness, muscle memory and injury reduction. Plus, the drills fuel the academy’s namesake – speed and agility.

“There is no offseason,” Montgomery said. “I work with athletes in all sports from football, to soccer to cheerleading. Some kids may think they can take a break, but there is always someone out there working harder to get better. The academy can help athletes in our area gain that edge.”

Montgomery, a 1993 Toronto graduate and former collegiate sprinter at the University of Akron, has coached youth football in Jefferson County since 2004 and for the past two years has been the speed and agility coordinator for the Steubenville Big Red football team. This is the second year for the academy. Recently, it held its second annual Speed and Agility Camp at Harding Stadium. It attracted nearly 100 youth athletes.

“Younger kids got to come and take part in actual activities that we have the high school players doing,” Montgomery said.

“They were able to participate, firsthand, with the speed bags and parachutes. (At the camp) there were skills challenges and certificates given out. We had a real competition atmosphere that helps prepare kids higher levels.”

Having seen similar camps and academies in larger cities like Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, Montgomery labeled his organization for all of Eastern Ohio to attract athletes from as far north as Youngstown and as far south as Zanesville. Athletes from West Virginia are invited to the academy, too. Montgomery uses facilities at Steubenville City Schools for his session.

He offers private workouts in two phases. The phases last around two months.

“I guarantee that athletes will see progress after the first session,” Montgomery said. “These drills are actually geared toward the athlete that currently lacks confidence. They want to get better, but really aren’t sure how.

“The workouts force whole body control and make them into top-notch athletes.”

Recently, Montgomery has worked with Indian Creek graduate Whitney Martin. Now, a Bethany College track athlete, Martin was a placer at the Ohio State Track and Field meet in 2014.

Montgomery now hopes to train the next athletes who wants to be a star – at any level. As every little extra bit work helps, from box jumps to speed ladders to hurdle squats, the small steps to becoming an elite are formed from skills not directly related to scoring a touchdown or hitting a home run.

(Peaslee, a Weirton resident, is a sports writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. He can be contacted at mpeaslee@heraldstaronline.com and followed on Twitter at @thempeas)