Genetics. Cognitive neuroscience. Human physiology. Performance Nutrition. Regeneration. Our expertise covers numerous critical aspects of athletic performance. We work with the very best thinkers and practitioners in the global performance community. Together, we share knowledge and challenge convention to identify, elevate and apply the most effective practices for optimizing athletic performance.
In his role as a SPARQ Performance Expert, Keith D’Amelio is putting the SPARQ Performance Methodology into practice, working with some of the world’s best athletes and teams, as well as informing Nike product and technology innovation. Keith’s experience before landing at SPARQ includes years spent as a pioneer in the performance realm working with some of basketball’s best. In four years as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for a professional basketball team, he spearheaded a player development program that resulted in some of the fewest games missed due to injury in the league. During his time as Director of Performance at the pro and collegiate level, Keith was able to bring players' and coaches’ attention to new performance concepts and assessment protocols and help change the way they thought about training. Keith’s move from a team setting to Nike and SPARQ was a way for him to deepen his impact in the field of performance and interact with a wider range of athletes.
Patrick Ward brings a holistic approach to performance improvement and a passion for education and discovery to his role as SPARQ Performance Expert, where he works to help refine and evangelize SPARQ Performance Methodology best practices and lends his talents to product and technology innovation. From 2006 to 2012, Patrick ran his own sports performance training and consulting company in Phoenix, AZ, with a focus on moving well and controlling stress as a means to improving performance and fitness level. During that time, he worked with athletes across a variety of sports, including golf, volleyball, football, soccer and other world-class athletes training for international competition. Patrick earned a Master of Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania in 2007, holds NSCA and CSCS certifications and is a licensed massage therapist.
Originally educated as a PE and history teacher at St. Luke’s College, University of Exeter, Ian taught for two years at a grammar school in London before heading abroad to study at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa on a research and teaching scholarship. While pursuing his masters and doctorate in exercise physiology at Alabama, he worked with athletes across a variety of sports. The next stop for Ian was Queens College, City University of New York, where he was an assistant professor dividing his time between the teaching staff of the MSc program and a posting as Director of the Human Performance Lab. This led directly to an opportunity to work on product R&D at the Nike Sports Research Lab. For the next eight years, Ian worked as a Research Physiologist engaged in product innovation for professional and elite amateur leagues and organizations spanning a wide array of sports including football, soccer, cricket and rugby, numerous professional clubs and teams as well as individual athletes at every level. Now in his twelfth year at Nike, Ian continues to seek out opportunities to investigate, define and develop key elements of performance.
Matt James brings an undeniable passion for helping athletes get better and nearly 20 years experience in the athletic training world to his role as SPARQ Performance Coach. MJ has worked with athletes at the highest levels of performance, including world-class gold medalists, and professionals in football, basketball and baseball. For many years, MJ headed up an elite-level sport performance facility in Portland, Oregon where he delivered top level coaching and coach education. MJ’s true passion and strength, however, is working at the grassroots level with high school athletes. A natural motivator, MJ connects with these athletes in a way that is both authentic and inspiring. Before joining the SPARQ Performance Team full time, he was on the road for 16 years serving as the face, ambassador and head coach at all Nike Football and SPARQ events.
Robbie Elliot’s position as SPARQ Performance Coach enables him to bring the power of the SPARQ Performance Methodology to footballers at every level. A footballer himself, Robbie began his playing career with his hometown club in Newcastle in 1989 as a youth trainee and was offered a professional contract just two years later. He played at the professional level in the UK from 1991-2008 for a variety of clubs, but eventually found his way back to his hometown club in 2008 to serve as assistant fitness and conditioning coach under senior fitness coach Mark Hulse. He’s been working with SPARQ serving as the performance expert for the national youth team in the United States since 2009.
As Nike SPARQ Performance Coach, Jay Matthews is pursuing his passion to help athletes get better by connecting with them directly at the grass-roots level through combines and training camps and by developing innovative training programs. A graduate of Washington State University with a BS in Kinesiology, Jay’s four-year stint as a D-1 football player and then as a student assistant coach gives him a credible perspective and unique ability to relate to athletes from high school to the elite and pro level. Jay’s natural leadership abilities led his teammates to show their respect for him by naming him to his team’s Unity and Leadership Council in each of his four years. Jay is always looking to improve his own game, receiving both his FMS Level 1 professional certification and his Y-Balance certification. For Jay, success isn’t an if, it is a when, and through SPARQ he hopes to bring the same attitude and opportunity for success to every athlete.
Claude Bouchard is Professor and Director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he holds the John W. Barton Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition. His research deals with the genetics of adaptation to exercise and to nutritional interventions as well as the genetics of obesity and its comorbidities. He has authored and coauthored several books and more than 1000 scientific papers. Professor Bouchard has received numerous awards, including a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine in 1992 and the Honor Award in 2002, the Willendorf Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity in 1994 and most recently the EV McCollum Award from the American Society of Nutrition in 2011. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His research has been funded by various agencies in Canada and the USA, but primarily by the National Institutes of Health.
Marvin Chun is Professor of Psychology, Neurobiology and Cognitive Science at Yale University, where he also serves as Master of Berkeley College. His laboratory employs functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and behavioral methods to study visual attention, memory and perception. His work in visual attention explores why people can consciously perceive only a small portion of all of the sensory information coming through the eyes. The lab’s research on memory investigates the brain mechanisms of memory encoding and retrieval. His laboratory is also keenly interested in how attentional mechanisms and memory processes interact. Finally, his work in decision making with Kavli investigators Daeyeol Lee and Xiao-Jing Wang examines the fundamental question of how the brain makes optimal decisions, how fMRI can read out such decision processes and how computational models can interpret these signals to understand and predict behavior. Prof. Chun’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Kavli Foundation.
Paul Greenhaff is Professor of Muscle Metabolism at the University of Nottingham, where he has worked for the last 20 years. He is also the deputy director of the newly established MRC/ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research in the UK. Paul’s specific research interests are in the area of skeletal muscle metabolism. The work is of basic physiological interest, and has significant practical application in relation to maximizing athletic performance and amelioration of muscle fatigue and mass loss in ageing and disease. Members of Professor Greenhaff’s research group possess a range of expertise and skills necessary to perform integrated metabolic investigations in healthy human volunteers and patients, which are dovetailed with relevant animal and molecular biological approaches facilitating a translational approach to research. Current research interests are focused on the control and integration of muscle fuel use during exercise in health and disease, and the molecular regulation of muscle mass under a variety of conditions. Particular focus has been directed towards investigating the impact that exercise, inactivity, and nutritional and pharmacological interventions have in modulating muscle mass, metabolism and function.
Stephen Mitroff is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University. Dr. Mitroff's research interests focus on the study of visual cognition, examining the nature of visual memory, perception, and attention. He is currently working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Army Research Office to explore how experiences influence vision and attention. A primary focus is on individual differences to reveal how it is that some individuals can outperform others, how can we quickly and easily identify the best performers, and how can we then train those individuals to make them even better.
Professor Robert Newton is a research scientist investigating the assessment and development of strength, power and speed of elite athletes. Prior to appointment at Edith Cowan University, Professor Newton was Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory, at Ball State University in Indiana. He has also been an invited research fellow at the Pennsylvania State University in the Center for Sports Medicine. Professor Newton has an extensive track record of research and consultancy in the assessment and development of neuromuscular performance, in particular maximal strength and power, and has consulted for many professional teams, sporting organizations and institutes in the United States, England and Australia. He is an editorial board member for three journals including the JSCR and regular invited reviewer for over 25 journals including MSSE and Sports Medicine.
Professor Scott Powers’ research focuses on the effects of exercise and inactivity on redox signaling and gene expression of both cardiac and skeletal muscle. For over 25 years, his work has been funded by a variety of granting agencies including the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association and American Lung Association. His comprehensive body of research has generated 215 peer-reviewed publications, many of which are widely cited in literature. In addition to contributing to the Handbook of Physiology and authoring three college textbooks, Professor Powers is an accomplished speaker and teacher. The University of Florida has recognized Professor Powers multiple times through numerous awards and professorships, and national recognition includes being named a fellow in the American Academy of Kinesiology, a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine, and a distinguished alumni award from the University of Tennessee.
As an elite nutrition coach and exercise physiologist, Dr. John Berardi provides nutrition coaching to everyone from recreational exercisers to world-class, high-performance athletes. He brings his expertise to his work as a high performance nutrition consultant for Nike and The Oregon Project, and his Precision Nutrition Certification program teaches fitness, nutrition, and sport professionals his research-proven methods. Four years ago, Dr. Berardi launched world's largest body transformation project – the Precision Nutrition System. Dr. Berardi received his PhD in Exercise Physiology and Nutrient Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He's currently an adjunct professor at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Texas.
Gray Cook, a practicing physical therapist and orthopedic certified specialist, is an influential figure in the fields of rehabilitation and exercise. As the founder of Functional Movement Systems, Gray has introduced a systems-based approach to understanding, training and rehabilitating movement. He advocates the concept of movement pattern screening and assessment, and his work and ideas are at the forefront of fitness, conditioning, injury prevention and rehabilitation. Gray’s methods promote mapping movement patterns and considering movement as a behavior, not simply as clean mechanical data, to better understand how movement is learned, maintained and restored. By revisiting the natural developmental principals that all infants employ as they learn to walk, run and climb, Gray forces us the rethink motor learning, corrective exercise and modern conditioning practices.
Alwyn Cosgrove is the owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, CA. Twice named one of America’s Top Gyms by Men’s Health magazine, it specializes in developing programs for busy people, and prides itself on “changing the way fitness is done.” Born in Scotland and initially exposed to fitness training through competitive martial arts, Alwyn began reading and studying any training related material he could get his hands on. This interest led to formal academic studies in sports performance at West Lothian College and progressed on to receiving an honors degree in sports science from Chester College, the University of Liverpool. A sought after consultant for several of the country’s leading publications and a regular contributor to Men’s Health magazine, Alwyn has co-authored four books in the “New Rules of Lifting” series and currently spends his time consulting on fitness training for clients and his staff at Results Fitness, speaking on the fitness lecture circuit and coaching fitness trainers worldwide.
Frank Dick is the current President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, Member of the IAAF Coaches Commission, Chair (and architect) of the IAAF Academy, as well as one of the UK’s most celebrated motivational speakers. From 1974-1994, he served as the British Athletics Federation’s Director of Coaching, guiding legendary athletes like Daley Thompson, Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe to international success. During that time he also developed training programs for elite athletes such as Katarina Witt, Boris Becker and Justin Rose. Over the past 20 years, Frank has applied his expertise to the field of personal and professional development, speaking to hundreds of companies around the globe. Frank was awarded an OBE in 1989, inducted into the UK Coaches Hall of Fame in 1999 and given the prestigious title of “UK Sporting Hero” by Sport UK in 2001. In 2011, he was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the National Sports Academy of Bulgaria and an Honorary Doctorate by Loughborough University.
Dr. Barry Durst keeps a foot as a performance innovator planted in both the academic and practical worlds. As an academic, Barry serves as head of the Football Exchange at Liverpool John Moores University, strategically directing all football-related teaching, research and consultancy activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. As an applied practitioner, Barry is serving a consultancy role with a professional English football club, providing sport science insight and support for staff and athletes, as well as directing research related staff development for numerous professional clubs across multiple leagues. Barry completed his undergraduate degree in Sport Science at Liverpool JMU in 1993 and then continued on to receive his PhD in 1997. He returned to Liverpool in 2002 after spending four years lecturing at the University of Teesside and the University of Durham. Barry is a BASES accredited exercise physiologist (scientific support) and is Sports Medicine, the Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.
Jeff Fish has been the Director of Athletic Performance for the Atlanta Falcons - in charge of all aspects of physical development, injury prevention, rehabilitation and nutrition, among other things - since 2008. Prior to this role, Jeff spent twenty years in the strength and conditioning and performance world working for three different professional football teams and at the collegiate level for five different universities. His experience includes two years as the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the University of Missouri where he oversaw the school's twenty athletic programs. A native of Ithaca, New York, Jeff also competed at the collegiate level as wide receiver for Western Carolina where he also received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. In 1989, he launched his training career as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Western Michigan University while he worked towards his Master of Science degree for Exercise Science.
Ultimately, Dr. Michael Gervais’ goal is to create amazing journeys for clients while exploring their boundaries of human potential. As the founder of DISC’s Pinnacle Performance Center and serving as Director of High Performance Psychology for professional football teams and soccer clubs in the US, Dr. Gervais works in the trenches of high-stakes environments, where there is no luxury for mistakes, hesitation or failure to respond. With the vision of helping his clients thrive under pressure, he has created a performance model that allows people to achieve their maximum potential, whether on or off the field. Dr. Gervais combines state-of-the-art brain mapping techniques with an approach grounded in high-performance psychology. The result is a completely individualized performance plan that allows athletes to train by fully engaging both their mind and brain toward that personal best.
Dave Hancock’s resume boasts multiple degrees and a wide range of experiences in the professional sport world. Current Director of Training and Conditioning for the New York Knicks and a chartered physiotherapist for over 18 years with a focus in rehabilitation and injury prevention, Dave holds a diploma in sports physiotherapy from Manchester Metropolitan University, a masters degree in sports medicine from the University of Nottingham, and a diploma in musculoskeletal physiotherapy from Sheffield Hallam University. He first pursued sports medicine in the professional world in professional rugby and soccer leagues in the UK as head of Youth Academy development. His experience there as head of diet, strength and power training, sports science testing, and rehabilitation helped lead to future recruitments as head physiotherapist in two professional UK football leagues as well as to his current position in the US. Dave has also spent time with a number of professional basketball teams and an elite-level tennis training facility. In 2010, Dave was recruited to work on the medical staff for the UK men’s national football club and has been with the team ever since.
Erik Helland has been with the Chicago Bulls organization for over twenty seasons where he currently serves as the head strength and conditioning coach. A 1987 graduate of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Erik earned a degree in physical education with an emphasis on athletic training and coaching. He put his education to use right away, coaching both at Elk Mound High School and his alma mater. Erik has consulted with numerous college and professional strength and conditioning programs, and has worked extensively with athletes from professional football in the US and professional basketball in Europe, as well as professional, collegiate and high school athletes in nearly every sport. Erik holds certifications as a strength and conditioning specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and as a Level 1 Sport Performance coach by USA Weightlifting.
Cheri Mah is a sleep medicine research scientist at the Stanford University Sleep Disorder Clinic and Research Laboratory. Her research focuses on the relationship between sleep and athletic performance in elite athletes, specifically, the impact of sleep extension on cognitive and physical performance across multiple sports. Cheri works with athletes across sport, from elite-level amateur athletes preparing for international competition to college football players looking to make it to the next level, to develop comprehensive sleep programs for collegiate and professional sports. Cheri also consults with teams across multiple professional leagues in the US and international sports organizations on optimal performance and recovery strategies. At Stanford, she advises and coaches the varsity teams on optimal sleep, scheduling, and peak performance, as well as leads the sleep expertise on the Stanford Performance Enhancement Alliance, a novel multidisciplinary approach to athlete performance.
Val Nasedkin, a former decathlete at the national level for the former Soviet Union, is the co-founder and technical director of Omegawave, a pioneering company in the field of functional preparedness and readiness in athletes. He has been a guest lecturer on the principles of training at numerous sport science and physical education universities around the world. In addition to his lecturing engagements, Val frequently acts as a consultant to the highest international competitive sport committees, organizations and federations and national and professional teams for various sports, as well as with leading universities from across Europe and North America.
Walter Norton started his career as a strength and conditioning coach at the high school level after finishing his collegiate football career and playing and coaching professionally in Europe (England/Spain). Early success directing one of the largest strength and conditioning centers in the nation led to opportunities with professional and collegiate leagues across the US. After a stint in professional basketball, Walter founded the Institute of Performance and Fitness, a strength and conditioning center dedicated to changing and enhancing the lifestyles and fitness habits of motivated individuals of all ages and fitness levels. During the past four years Walter has trained hundreds of athletes and helped to prepare some of Hollywood’s biggest stars for physically challenging roles. Norton continues to consult for a variety of professional leagues and organizations in the US and abroad.
Currently head of sport science at Manchester United F.C. and leading strength and conditioning delivery for all senior players, Tony Strudwick is a dynamic high performance practitioner with a proven track record of success at an elite level of performance. Tony has experience working within national and international performance organizations, providing strategic and long term planning for elite athlete management. In the past four seasons, Tony has been part of championship teams across nearly every league in the UK. Tony has an extensive background in player development structures from elite youth to senior level both in England and the United States. His comprehensive involvement has facilitated consultancy work with Nike and other companies driving innovation in performance.
Dr. Peter Vint serves as Director of High Performance with the United States Olympic Committee Sport Performance Division. Peter is spearheading the efforts of a team of world-class sport science and medical professionals focused on the sports of swimming, track and field, shooting, equestrian and weightlifting. Peter and his team are responsible for conceptualizing, developing and implementing successful and sustainable applied sport science programs with a focus on maximizing athlete development, performance and longevity. He leads an international competitive analysis group focused on identifying performance trajectories, sport policy and performance factors contributing to competition outcomes, and relating these to specific performance-impacting initiatives. Prior to his current appointment, Peter held the position of Senior Sport Technologist with the USOC and was responsible for developing and implementing sport specific performance measurement systems; developing and disseminating guidelines for implementing "best practices" for skill acquisition, practice design and feedback; and making current and emerging technologies more accessible and usable for coaches and athletes.
Dr. Charlie Weingroff trains and rehabs athletes at all performance levels at Drive495 in Manhattan and Fit For Life in Marlboro, NJ. His passion for performance led him from the professional basketball where he worked as a head strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletic trainer as part of a medical staff that had the fewest number of player missed games for the ’05-06 season to Camp Lejune, NC where he was the director of physical performance and resiliency and lead physical therapist for the United States Marines Corps Special Operations Command. When rehabbing patients, he subscribes to a movement-based approach popularized by the works of Dr. Vladimir Janda, Gray Cook, Pavel Kolar, and the RKC. In training athletes, he champions the principles of the Functional Movement Screen and sound, evidence-based training principles. Some of the methodologies Charlie is formally trained in include DNS, ART, Dry Needling, Graston, FMS/SFMA, and the RKC.