By Rob Patrick
On Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m., former Arkansas Razorback J.J. Meadors will hold a demonstration of one of the programs he and Isaac Davis will be offering at Next Level Sports and Fitness Center in Bryant.
“I have four or five kids I’ve worked with over the last couple of years that’ll be here to demonstrating some of the drills and some of the techniques that we’ll be doing,” Meadors said.
A variety of programs will be offered by Meadors along with Davis, who starred at Malvern High School before his days with the Razorbacks then went on to six seasons in the NFL.
“I’ll be doing an elite wide receiver program, which will be based here in Bryant as well as in Little Rock,” Meadors explained. “Ike will be conducting for offensive and defensive linemen.
“We’ll be doing general speed and agility programs too,” he continued. “We’ll have youth, junior high and high school divisions. That’ll be a program we’ll have four days a week. In addition to that, we’ll be doing all kinds of sport-specific programs. We’re already doing a program with the Bryant girls softball team.
“That’s mainly what Isaac and I will be doing, trying to partner with the schools, not just in Bryant but all Saline County, sport-specific programs for the teams at the junior high and high school levels with fundamentals, speed and agility programs for the youth,” Meadors mentioned.
Individual programs are set to start on Monday, March 16, with the four-week and eight-week programs beginning March 30.[more]
“We’re working on trying to get an adolescent obesity program here for kids that are a little bit overweight that need to get a workout in,” Meadors said. “We’ll get a nutritionist to come and partner with Terry (Harper) and me to get that program going for the kids of the county.”
Meadors and Davis join Harper, the former Bryant Hornets baseball coach who pitched professionally during his career, at the 14,000 square foot facility located at 201 So. Elm St., in Bryant. The facility includes eight batting cages in the main hitting room.
“All of them can be closed off for special events,” Harper said. “You can throw live toss in every one of them and there’s machines in every one of them but one. There’s three softball machines and four baseball machines. Some of them are self-fed, some of them are automatic-fed.
“We have two party rooms,” he added. “You get an hour in the cage and an hour in the party room. We’ve got a Razorback room and a Hornet room.The cages are available for rent or anytime for a member. Memberships are $25 a month.
“If you’ve got other kids, if you’ve got 10, it’s just $5 more no many how many,” Harper explained. “You’ll pay no more than $30 to have all your kids hit. And no family will pay more than $50 if they want to do everything.”
Everything includes a weight room and cardio room.
“The cardio room has treadmills, bikes, elypticals, medicine balls and we’ve got a nutrition bar,” Harper said.“We have a pitching room. We have soft-toss and tees in there but there’s two full 60-foot lanes, turf and mounds, that you can pitch in.“We’ve also got an overflow room with tees and two cages but it’s closed off when we’re not filled up,” he noted. “That’s where J.J. and Isaac will do the speed and agility training. They’ll be doing all kinds of speed camps and private lessons.”
Harper said he had ideas about starting such a facility for a couple of years before he partnered with Bob Sanders who had plans for a bigger place.
“The economy kind of hit rock bottom and we joined together,” Harper recalled. “I had this building in mind a long time ago but it wasn’t available. So I was going to build when this came up for lease and I jumped on it. I called Bob and he said, ‘Let’s do it.’”
It was the kind of place, he would’ve loved when he was growing up, Harper said.“There were five of us,” he mentioned. “I asked my dad — we struggled to get by — I asked him if we could’ve afforded something like this and he said, ‘Yeah. I’d have done that for you.’ So, I think it’s just an avenue to make Bryant baseball that much better. And I still do lessons. Members get a 25 percent discount off lessons, hitting, pitching, fielding, everything, baseball and softball.”
And there’s plenty of room.
“We’ve had 60 people in here at times and no one was really waiting,” he said. “A couple of them were teams. We rent cages to teams. We won’t rent many cages because we want to keep them open for our members but we’ll rent a couple at a time. So, there’s always six to eight cages open for members.”
For information about memberships, Harper said, “Just come by or give me a call at 590-8007 or 653-0055. We’re open when school gets out until 8 o’clock every night, 10 to 8 on Saturday. Sundays are kind of special days. We’ll do some special events.
Meadors can be reached at the office number or 501-200-2800.