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Meet Mike Klinefelter of The Sports Training Center & Speed School in Cobb County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Klinefelter.

Specialist Coach Mike began his journey in the sports, athletic club & exercise science industry from 1980-97. A former state, regional, and national title holder in bodybuilding, with background in Power & Olympic weight training. Power lift training protocols were under the Worlds Strongest Man Bill Kazmaier where they traveled the country conducting Exhibitions, NFL Strongest Man in Football Competition. Klinefelter displayed muscle endurance, multiple sets of 20 rep squats with 405 lb. “The Kaz” brute strength bench pressing over 600 lb. for reps. Olympic lift training protocols under US Olympic Team Coach John Coffee.

In the 90’s, Klinefelter entered the track & field arena founding & coaching track teams. By 2002 he was coaching the 4×400 relay team of the Georgia Express, a Jr. Olympic team competing on the National level winning State, Regional & National titles and then as sprint coach for the Kennesaw State University track team taking 1st in the 4×400 indoor region championships. In addition to coaching track and owning his own training facility, Klinefelter began the in-depth study of plyometrics and speed development training.

By the late 1990’s, he was incorporating this research into his teachings. Recognizing the success of the local athletes he was training with plyometrics and speed development, and the lack of exposure in the local market, he opened The Sports Training Center & Speed School in 2002 where they now train over 300 athletes annually, connected to the local school athletic & sports programs. Exposing & teaching athletes “Pro-Style Sports Performance Training” designing a curriculum & methodology that enables the athlete to reach top speed quicker, build power & overall athleticism.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely. In 1997 the athletic club company I had been with for 14 years old & the new company let all us veterans go. 1999 became a partner with group of owners in another chain of athletic clubs. Things were going great, money coming in, in January 2002 sold our little 1,400 sq. ft, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 car garage starter home & moved into a bigger house with a bigger payment, 2 weeks later I was unemployed with a wife & 2 kids.

No money coming in, money going out, into August now still no job, got the family together & explained the situation to them, down to enough for 3 house payments left, don’t know what lies ahead for us. Unable to get a bank loan, that summer took my idea of a Sports Performance Training Business with cardboard, magic marker & stick road signs on corners. Started with 6 athletes, the head football coach of the local HS let me use the track & wt. room to start. That spring a 50,000 sq.ft. baseball facility had opened up in Kennesaw, I presented my Sports Performance Training concept to the owners & rented space from them that August, thus official begin “The Sports Training Center & Speed School”. It didn’t cover all the bills but it put a Band-Aid on the finances & slowed down the bleeding.

In March of 2004, they went out of business, I purchased the weight room equipment from the owner by putting on my credit card. I found myself scrambling to find another space, had made arrangement with the landlord to stay in building as long as I could & pay utilities. With 2 weeks left to be out of the building that October I ran into a baseball instructor in the same situation, October we took on old dirty warehouse in downtown Acworth & turned it into a baseball training facility, the business took off. Fall of 2016, that building sold & we had to be out by spring 2017, again scrambling around looking for a new location, April moved back to Kennesaw were it all began. The baseball coach & I are still in business.

Today we look back & can say this is a business “Built the American Way” from the ground up, no business loans, just an idea, building relationships in the community, hard work & delivering a quality product/service. We do no advertising, our advertising is our athletes get results, As long as that happens the parents will keep writing checks for them, the athletes keep coming back, 16 years later starting with 6 athletes we now train over 300 athletes annually, one of the longest running Sports Performance Training Facilities in the Nation & support of the area school athletic, sports programs & coaches.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Sports Training Center & Speed School – what should we know?

Its easier to say what Sports Performance Training is not, It’s not just cones & ladders, speed & agility, strength & conditioning, The history of plyometrics dates back to the 60’s when Russia & eastern bloc countries used new & unique training techniques on their Olympic athletes. As we look at records of those athletes, they dominated certain sports during this era. Their training consisted of different styles of jumps, foot speed drills, training equipment, stretching, and weight training exercises that when combined in a structured curriculum & progressions resulted in increased speed & power in the athlete.

Today it is a highly skilled position demanding knowledge of how the human body works & responds in relation to the sport. There’s no college degree that says you’re a head football coach or sports performance coach, it’s on the job training. The NFL, for example, will have many specialist coaches in the training/exercise science department of the organization. A strength coach that was maybe a former world record holder in powerlifting, the speed/sports performance coach, a nutritionist, physical therapist, kicking coach, etc… The head track will have a specialist on staff, shot put, pole vault, hurdle, their experts in that particle field or subject. The sports performance trainer is a specialist, a spoke in the wheel of the overall development of the athlete, team & organization.

The objective of plyometrics is to enhance the explosive reaction of the individual through powerful muscular contractions as a result of rapid eccentric contractions. This is accomplished through various techniques. The first is to develop the hip flexure muscles, its physiological function is to lift the leg. This maximizes the frequency of the turn over cycle of the leg during running stride. The result is a faster, quicker athlete with increased explosive power, reaction speed, lateral & multi-change of direction speed, coordination, balance, development of the stabilizer muscles in the ankle, knee hip & shoulder joint, energy transferred to the movement & injury prevention. Core training is vital, we call it “The Center of Gravity” for athletic development. Core training is the strengthening, developing of the mid-section area of the body, abdominal muscles, oblique & lower back playing a key role in the overall athleticism of the athlete. When you fix this then everything else gets better, run, throw, kick, swing, lift.

In the 90’s when I was researching & studying about this style of training used at the elite, Olympic, professional, NFL, college D-1 level it wasn’t new, just kept secret up there, no one wants the other team to get an edge on them. What we do is expose athletes to the type of training they will do at the next level. The younger the athlete gets involved the better the long-term results, a steady diet of it during the offseason over the years. I recall watching a college QB now playing in the NFL & played HS football in the Atlanta area & saying that is phenomenal athlete. He can run, jump, great balance, like a gymnast playing a sport. Later read an interview on him & he said his father started him training with a sports performance coach at age 6, that explained it, why he was able to elevate himself above the others along with natural talent.

The gratification is watching the results, taking the athlete from point A to point B, not to skip B & C in the process. watching them play at the next level, the college signings, NFL drafts, the phone call from a parent who’s son was always the last one to get picked on a baseball team, moved up to no. 4 in the batting line up & made it to 2nd base for the first time, a proud parent, the relationships with the athletes & parents. When someone sets out to be a coach its not about the money, there are other careers for that. I have great respect for the HS coaches, the hours they put in, time away from their families, miss their own kid’s sports events. There’s gratification in knowing that you left a footprint on the athlete, you made some kind of positive impact on them, that they learned something out of the experience. The curriculum sets us apart, the athletes go through a training system.

What sets us or any business apart from the others is having a reputation for delivering results, a quality product or service. Experience & knowledge may be the biggest factor going for us, nearly 4 decades in the industry, 16 years in business, thousands of hours spent on study, training & research, experimenting, Not just the exercise science aspect of it but the business side leaned along the way, marketing, managing, having a business model & relationship building with the community. Exercise Science is always evolving, better training techniques, teaching methods, equipment, your never done learning, always trying to better your product. The curriculum is the blueprint or hart of what we do & why we have been successful, how we implement the progressions & training protocols. You have to have a system, a process the athlete goes through, you don’t just shoot from the hip as they say.

What you learned out of the journey & experiences philosophically is a young man you expect things to go smoothly, easy, it’s not. You venture into life & the business world climbing the mountain with the goal of making it to the top which you think is success, only to find that when you got to the top you discovered there were still many more peaks & valleys on the other side you still have to go through. Except it, embrace it, be prepared for the next challenge.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
It starts with God, faith & family, you don’t know what the next day brings, situations in life you have no control over. I can honestly say things have never come easy for me, I left Tulsa Oklahoma in 1979 for a job in Va. Beach, Va. with $500 I borrowed & paid back, you grow up poor, working since 6th grade, parents divorced when I was 4, lived in an apartment raised by a single mom, aunts & grandparents, both grandparents raised 3 kids in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath rented home, my great grandmother on my dads side was full blood Choctaw, raised 11 kids in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath rented home.

When you know you’re never going to take over the family business or inherit anything its sink or swim. Life is like a treadmill, the world keeps going no matter what’s going on in your life, you fall off sometimes but have to get back on. The man’s role is provider & protector of the family when a man can’t find a job or can’t provide for his loved ones it ways heavy on you. But there’s a positive experience that can come out of that, “Problem Solving”. Life presents a problem, work to solve it, grow from it, learn from it, help someone else through it, don’t quit, perseverance. The fact that I have made a career out of something I enjoy doing, believe in & have a passion for is a blessing. I’m on the sidelines of a football game, a wrestling match, a playoff game or leading a practice.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1910 Cobb Int. Blvd. Suite B
    Kennesaw, Ga. 30152
  • Website:
  • Phone:(770) 856-0990
  • Instagram:the speed school
  • Facebook:the speed school

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Rob Zuschlag

    February 8, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Great place! Great person! My son went there and is now playing college ball on a scholarship. We believe that the hour drive to Mikes place was worth it.
    Just don’t let him ride dirt bikes….
    thank you for all you have done!

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