Sometimes, a young aspiring athlete is labeled as “good” or “bad” well before his or her body has developed. Coaches (and unfortunately parents) at times can overlook this and it can affect the child’s confidence.

As the parents of two young girls living in Plano, Jay and Nikki McCareins opened MAC Speed & Strength in Plano on April 2. Their goal is to help young athletes become better, faster, and stronger through training sessions that are focused on improving an athlete’s close quarters agility, jumping, and full body strength via sport agnostic movements and drills. In other words, each sport has its own  movements that an athlete must master. Instead of focusing on hurdles for long jumpers or squats for volleyball players who need strong legs, MAC incorporates a range of kinesthetic skills that apply to everyone (jumping, shuffling, lifting, pushing, pulling). The end goal is to develop a well-rounded athlete.

“I felt inspired to open MAC to nurture young athletes,” said owner Jay McCareins. “I was not the best athlete in middle school or high school. My size and physical attributes let people overlook me, but by training hard and gaining confidence off the field, I learned to play to my full potential. Hard work leads to increased confidence during competition. MAC is a space for young athletes to work hard and have fun together.”

Mac Speed & Strength has training classes for athletes of any sport, ages 10 and higher. Their main offering is group classes with no more than seven athletes to one coach. They also specialize in providing one-on-one training. Parents are encouraged to stay and observe their children’s training and progress.

“Our trainers teach the movements youth need to excel in any sport, like fast feet and lateral movement, for example,” said Jay.

Mac Speed & Strength operates a 5,000-square-foot space that includes a 2,200-square-foot turf field and a 1,600-square-foot weight room. The large open turf area gives the coaches the opportunity to set up multiple work stations and facilitate faster-paced classes by spending less time on transitions. The weight room has a free-standing rig with six squat stations, 18 barbells, 2,000 pounds of bumper plates, and dumbbells ranging from 5–100 pounds.

Jay concluded, “MAC is a success if our first 20 or 30 clients are still training with us in 12 months, and they feel more confident when they practice and play.”

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About the trainers

Jay McCareins is a former Princeton University football player and free agent to the Arizona Cardinals and NFL Europe. He is also an ASFA-certified speed and agility instruction coach.

Nikki McCareins is an ISSA-certified personal trainer, specialist in strength and conditioning, and senior fitness specialist. She placed in the Top 200 in the 2013 and 2015 CrossFit Open.

Jerome Collins claimed two Super Bowl titles, one with the Indianapolis Colts (2007) and one with the Giants (2008), before playing football at the University of Notre Dame. He is also an ISSA-certified trainer in youth fitness.

Justin McCareins is a NFL combine participant who was a 4th-round pick to the Tennessee Titans. He is an eight-year NFL veteran and led the NY Jets in catches and yards in 2006.

Megan McCareins is a former volleyball player from Hamilton College, where she was team captain and MVP. She is also a certified pilates instructor.

Brit Mott

Brit is a Leadership Plano Class 25 graduate and Leadership Frisco Class 10 graduate. She received her Master’s in Journalism from the University of North Texas and her Bachelor’s in Mass Communication...