IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND LESSENING INJURY FOR KANSAS CITY ATHLETES WRITTEN BY BRENNAN HALLOCK / PHOTOS BY JAMI MARSHALL
Kansas City is known for its love of sports. From the Chiefs to the Royals to the Sporting Kansas City, we have a dedication to our local teams. Kansas City is even ranked as one of the top cities in the United States for sports lovers in 2019 by WalletHub.com. But Kansas Citians don’t want to just watch sports, we also want to play sports. This is why businesses like Kansas City Strength & Conditioning (KCSC) have become important to the Kansas City culture. KCSC helps improve your athletic skills while reducing your likelihood of injury. Many parents’ biggest fear when their child begins playing sports is injury. “It’s not our job as strength coaches just to send a kid home tired,” explains Matt Hinkley, co-owner of KCSC. “It’s our job to make them better at their sport and improve their performance.” Hinkley explains they want to keep their clients on the field. When a teen leaves for college and no longer works with KCSC every day, the staff want to ensure their client has the knowledge and skills to manage aches and pains, and at the same time know how to create a training plan. In addition to ensuring safety and growth, KCSC also has a unique emphasis. John Renzi, co-owner of KCSC, explains he and Hinkley decided to build around their strengths. This is why they specialize in the development of overhead and rotational sports, primarily baseball and softball. “With baseball and softball players, there’s a need to make sure people’s shoulders and elbows are kept healthy,” explains Renzi. “Every sport has similarities—you need to be fast and you need to be strong—but because of the throwing motion in baseball and softball, you have to be mindful and know what you’re doing when training, and we’re good at that.”
A shared goal Hinkley and Renzi didn’t always know they’d be managing a strength and conditioning business in Kansas City. Hinkley grew up playing baseball in Liberty,
Missouri. He went on to play at Emporia State, but his junior year he began dealing with arm issues. He had an elbow injury, so instead of playing summer baseball, he decided to train at a facility in Massachusetts he found through a Google search.
combined with his business acumen could produce a solid business.
“It's rare to have the atmosphere Matt and John create. I definitely am better because of training at KCSC.”
One of their initial decisions when they created KCSC was that unlike other training facilities, Hinkley and Renzi wanted to tailor each training program to the individual’s needs. In order to make sure they are mindful of this, every exercise plan is unique. “All of the clients who come to our facility go through an initial evaluation to figure out how we are going to help them,” says Hinkley.
He didn’t know for sure what he was getting into, but after the first couple days he realized he’d made the right decision. He could see himself training others for a living, so as soon as he returned to school he met with his advisor and changed his major to exercise science.
This evaluation includes an extensive health history. They may reach out to physical therapists or orthopedic surgeons to make sure they’re going about the exercise plan in the healthiest manner. Also included are assessments of range of motion, mobility and flexibility, and movement. From there a training plan is tailored to that person’s needs and goals. In this way, they make sure they do more than just send their client home tired. They both improve their client’s performance and lessen likelihood of injury.
After graduating, Hinkley reached out to the facility where he trained and landed an internship. He drove to their Jupiter, Florida, location and worked there before returning to Kansas City to work at a local baseball training facility running the weight room. Meanwhile John Renzi worked in sales and marketing. He originally planned to be a high school teacher, but wasn’t satisfied. He loved baseball and played while he was in college, and he enjoyed exercise sciences, but didn’t see the field as a career. Nevertheless, his love for sports training grew, and he eventually realized his skills in exercise sciences
Hinkley and Renzi met each other a while before going into business together. They stayed in contact, and realized they both had the same professional goals, so in October 2016 they decided they’d be better off teaming up than competing.
Joey Wentz, who was a 2016 first round pick for the Atlanta Braves, says that being able to have the opportunity to train at KCSC has been one of the most vital things in his development as an athlete. “It's rare to have the atmosphere Matt and John create every day so I can get better. I definitely am better because of training at KCSC.”
Kansas City Strength & Conditioning • 655 North Somerset Terr., Olathe, KS 816.809.2554 or 913.638.8960 • kcstrengthandconditioning.com