In its purest, most raw form, speed is often said to be the one physical attribute that simply cannot be coached into an athlete.
Over the past five years, however, Rob Oppedisano has demonstrated that it can be improved.
The longtime Hudson resident runs his Opt 4 Speed Premiere Athletic Training and Promotion program with groups and individuals in Pasco County and surrounding areas. His goal is seeing all his athletes reach their goals.
Formerly a college basketball coach Oppedisano eventually grew tired of the clipboard after eight years, he said. But armed with his athletic knowledge, experience and degree in sports management, he knew he could never be far from the playing field.
"I've got to surround myself in sports," he said of what drives him to continue his work. "It's just in my blood. I can't get rid of it, so even though I got out of coaching, I wasn't going far from it."
Mixing an array of exercises - flexibility training, quick sprints and resistance work - Oppedisano's sessions are not cookie-cutter replicas of each other from location to location. He said he works to mold and shape individual, unique programs that hone in on the athlete's specific needs.
The hands-on, specified focus is combined with a genuine desire to see his pupils advance, correlating into a growing demand for his regimen.
"I tell the guys, when you hire me, I go to work for you," Oppedisano said of his approach to the program. "You're not coming here to work for me, I'm working for you to make you better. So anything I tell you, I'm giving you the best of what I have."
"In the beginning I had to really go out and chase the athletes and sell myself," he said. "These days I really don't have to go out much. I'm getting calls from all over the place."
At this time of year, that demand is football heavy while teams condition for the upcoming season. Once the season begins he will begin more individual and small-group training, he said.
Oppedisano is working with Gulf, River Ridge and Tarpon Springs high schools, along with the Trinity Pasco Police Athletic League. He works out the high school programs for about four or five weeks throughout the summer.
While most of his focus has been centered on the prep and college levels, Oppedisano also helps athletes prepare for NFL combines and team workouts - most notably former Pasco High School star and onetime Dallas Cowboy, Troy Hambrick.
He also will travel to Italy and Montenegro next month, where he will run basketball camps in affiliation with mission work through the Hudson-based Word of Life church. He was able to assist Montenegro's national basketball team on a trip last year.
During a recent session at the Tarpon Springs High football stadium, Coach George Kotis spoke highly of what Oppedisano can offer his team.
"I really like what Rob does," Kotis said while 53 of his Spongers trained. "It keeps the kids football-oriented year round."
"The reason I really went to Rob is because it's all about the 40 yard dash time. This is big for first step and lateral explosion."
With the steady growth and popularity of Oppedisano's training - all via word of mouth - he is also helping a couple, personal friends, become accustomed to his techniques for assistance in the future.
Although he is open to the idea of expanding and bringing on other trainers to help carry future loads, Oppedisano always brings it back to the main objective: athletic success.
"Right now, it's seeing a college or high school athlete stay with me for a couple of years, continue to work and reach their goals," he said. "If they ask me to train them, I look at it as an honor. I'm willing to work as hard as I can to try and help."
For more information on Rob Oppedisano's Opt 4 Speed training program, visit his Web site, www.opt4speed.com, or call (727) 534-4510.