“It's a special feeling when you hit that buzzer. That feeling motivates me to keep going and put an entire year's work into that one moment”
These words are the inspiration that drives Anthony DeFranco, a four-time American Ninja Warrior contestant and regional director of American Ninja Warrior Camps across New Jersey.
DeFranco and Centercourt coaches Joe Capobianco and Brayden Provan, Abby Clark, Brandon Singletary, and Desi Singletary are set to appear in the June 24 episode of American Ninja Warrior on NBC.
Together they run the Chatham Ninja Warrior training facility and camp in Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham.
Started in June of 2017, these coaches provide a Ninja Training course for people aspiring to be on the show. Together with cross fit training, the facilities mirror the obstacles on the real course and attempt to mimic the different aspects of the course to train the physical strength needed to complete the competition.
Well-known obstacles to Ninja Warrior fans such as the spider wall, the double salmon ladder, and the hanging monkey bars can be seen in the facility in Chatham. This American Ninja Warrior program has three different locations at other existing Centercourts: Chatham, Mount Olive, and Lawrence.
This is DeFranco’s fourth season on American Ninja Warrior, but the rest of the coaches first season. DeFranco went through step by step the process of qualifying for the Ninja Warrior competition on TV. After qualifying for the event itself, each contestant goes to the City finals, in any city across the US.
The top 15 in city finals go to Las Vegas for the National finals, and submit a video describing their life and training experience for the audience and judges. When asked if Ninja training was more mental or physical, DeFrano responded, “In the end, there is a lot of strength training, but it's even more important to be practical and logical in your approach to the course”.
This combination of mental and physical strength makes Ninja a desirable new sport for people to get involved in.
Beyond the function of the Centercourt location as a training facility, DeFranco and the other coaches lead recreational classes that teach techniques to kids. But the biggest positive about this program are the summer camps provided all summer at Centercourt Chatham.
The American Ninja Warrior camps are offered five days a week, and involve time on the ninja course teaching techniques in the morning, time in the pool outside, lunch, and then game time with sports across the Centercourt property.
The coaches set up the ninja obstacles back to back to build strength and endurance on the course. This combination of ninja training, sports, and swimming provide a healthy and active opportunity for children to learn a sport they don’t know yet. The aspect of this coaching that is so special to DeFranco is the continuing growth of the sport he loves. He said, when discussing the camps and rec programs, that “it feels great to get average kids to excel in the sport of ninja”.
Coaches DeFranco, Capobianco, Provan, and Singletary can be seen on American Ninja Warrior live on NBC on June 24th, a day that embodies the end of months of hard work for these determined coaches and a victory for Chatham by showcasing the hardwork of the average town resident.
For these coaches at Centercourt, competing in the Ninja Warrior competition is the culmination of not only all the time they spent personal training, but the time dedicated to teaching the youth as well. For DeFranco, every step he takes on the road to training is for that one moment “...when you hit that buzzer. That feeling motivates me to keep going and put an entire year'ss work into that one moment”.