Speed, agility and balance. Every athlete needs these skills to have a winning edge no matter their sport. Willie Jaramillo, 47, is the owner of Key Form, a four-year-old company that teaches young athletes these crucial skills through weekly classes and team camps.
“The program teaches kids the right way to run,” said the Stansbury Park man. “We also work with their quick-twitching muscles, and that first initial burst of energy.”
Jaramillo said this quick burst of energy usually occurs right after a softball player hits a ball with a bat, or right after a quarterback throws the ball down the field. The exercises done during the classes to increase this response time include ladders, hurdles and three-cone exercises.
“They have to be able to tilt forward to sprint and then transition immediately into a run,” Jaramillo said. “If you can teach their arms to be in rhythm with their legs, then their arms won’t be anchors. We put our kids in a [standing] position and have them do 50 percent of their time in that position just moving their arms back and forth.”
Jaramillo, who also coaches football at Stansbury High School, said the training not only helps athletes increase their speed and agility, but it assists them in achieving a core balance and more coordinated footwork. He said many of the athletes he trains get a better sense of confidence after learning the running mechanics. Through the training, they are able to react to whatever play comes their way much faster.
“You can take a defensive back and he’s able to scan the whole field while backpedaling,” Jaramillo said. “He is able to feel comfortable and focus on his assignment. His reaction time and transition time is a lot faster. You can see that competitive edge the kids bring.”
Jaramillo said at first, he started Key Form because he didn’t want to have to take his kids to Salt Lake City twice a week for a class and pay hundreds of dollars for them to learn these skills. It was then that he realized Tooele County needed something similar to assist its athletes.
“If I can help everybody on this side of the valley be a better athlete, that’s my key goal,” Jaramillo said.
Another one of Jaramillo’s goals is to help student athletes become good enough at their sports to get college scholarships. He said he is making CDs for the athletes who train with him for several years so that when they graduate high school, they will have a video montage of their progress through the years.
“I want students to be good athletes, but if I can help them get scholarships to colleges, then that’s my goal,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo trains boys and girls, and has taught children as young as age 6.
“The little guys are hard, but they love it,” he said. “And it’s something that I believe in. I see it with my own boys. When we first started this when my son was only 9 I got a lot of flack from other coaches telling me it was too advanced, but he has really excelled, and so do all the other kids I teach.”
Jaramillo recently began a partnership with Grantsville resident Gregor Dzierzon, owner of Predator Sports in Tooele, to hold classes at his facility.
Jaramillo used to teach his classes at local junior high schools, but starting this year, he has been using the Predator Sports facility. He said he hopes this will create more popularity for this type of athletic training in the county by having a facility to offer more classes.
“We want to get athletes out here training, not help Salt Lake with training their athletes,” Dzierzon, 37, said.
Dzierzon said because many softball, baseball and soccer teams already use his facility for practices, he thought adding speed and agility classes would give young athletes more options for increasing their skills.
“You can really see the difference the class makes from week one to week five,” said the Grantsville man. “Their arms are completely different. It takes quite a bit of coordination.”
Jaramillo said overall, he teaches young athletes the best skills they can have in order to succeed at their sport.
“I teach kids how to run from point A to point B quickly,” Jaramillo said. “I don’t teach kids how to shoot a ball or swing a bat. I teach them how to be athletes.”