By BRIAN LESTER
Andrew Leddy planned to stay involved in athletics after college. He found a dream job two years ago that allowed him to do it.
Leddy, who played football at Findlay High School and at the University of Findlay, landed a job with Pete Bommarito Sports Performance Systems in Florida where he works as a performance coach.
Leddy, who focuses on speed and strength training, works with some of the brightest stars in the National Football League and Major League Baseball He also works with athletes who have future pro potential, including football players at national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale.
“I never saw myself as someone wearing a suit to work and working a 9-5 job,” Leddy said. “There is nothing wrong with that type of work, but it wasn’t for me. I’ve been around athletics all my life. Lucky is the word I would use to describe my situation. I am very blessed.”
Leddy has worked with NFL stars such as Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers), Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Carlos Dunlap (Cincinnati Bengals). The list of MLB players he has trained includes Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers), Nelson Cruz (Baltimore Orioles) and Mike Napoli (Boston Red Sox).
“About 50 percent of the guys I work with are professional athletes,” Leddy said. “The other 50 percent includes the players at St. Thomas and youth and college athletes. It’s pretty cool to be around those guys, especially the AFC North guys since that area is my old stomping ground.”
Bommarito, who began his athletic training career as an assistant strength and conditioning specialist at Ball State, offers a one-stop shop for athletes at his facilities in North Miami and Davie, featuring everything from training and injury rehab services to chiropractic and nutritional services.
Leddy said the approach to working with pro athletes is much different than working with anyone else.
“You can’t scream and be intense like you can with the younger guys,” Leddy said. “These guys already know what they are doing.” You aren’t looking to run them into the ground with your training. You are focused on helping them correct an injury or modify their performance a bit. We’re grooming them for the next season.”
But Leddy loves to be intense as a trainer, and he gets an opportunity do it when he works with high school and college athletes. He said he enjoys the time he gets to spend with the St. Thomas Aquinas players. He works four days a week with them in the offseason and two days a week during the season.
“It’s cool working with those guys,” Leddy said. “There are a lot of talented players on the team. Probably two dozen of them have Division I offers. You can get after them a little more and light a fire under them.”
Leddy said his experience with the Oilers helped prepare him for his job in Florida.
“I always look back at my experience at Findlay and use that in my job now,” Leddy said. “(Strength and conditioning) coach (Chad Wagner) taught me a lot about being a trainer, and I owe a lot to (UF head coach) Rob Keys because he taught me about working hard and being the best. They had a big part in me getting to where I am now.”
The thing is, Leddy has never stopped learning. He attends in-services often to learn more about being the best trainer possible and he has even gone through drills himself. He’s also learned about another side of the sports training process.
“I’ve learned a lot about the nerdy science side of strength training,” Leddy said. “It’s a side that a lot of people don’t think about. It’s about being smart about how you train and how you prepare athletes to get the most out of their training. The longer I’ve done it, the more knowledge I’ve gained.”
Leddy said he is happy with where he is at for the time being, but he knows this experience could open other doors down the road, perhaps even one day becoming a trainer for a college or pro team.
“Right now, I love what I do,” Leddy said. “I love being in Florida and having this opportunity. I was at the right place at the right time. The experience has been valuable to me. Maybe down the road I will move closer to home if the right opportunity comes up, but for now, I’m thankful for the job I have here.”
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