Science Changing Sports in Southwest Georgia

The secret to present-day sports success is through science. From Heisman finalists and Super Bowl champions to US Olympians, athletes are changing the way they train. Local training facility, Athletic Republic, has embraced the change and is creating a brand new Southwest Georgia athlete.

"What (Athletic Republic) brought that Albany has never hadâ|is a scientific approach to what will actually make you a better athlete all around," Athletic Republic Director Ben Saxon said.

The site accomplishes its goal of a stronger, smarter athlete with instant video evidence. From improving a 40 time to an athlete's vertical jump, every action at the Lee County training spot is placed under the microscope. Each exercise completed by an athlete is recorded, and instantly fed in to a nearby monitor for review.

"Video feedback gives us a great tool, so the kids can correct a lot themselves. They can teach themselves so much more. They think they're doing things correctly when the video shows that they're not," Saxon said.

Former Albany High wide receiver Rashad Jefferson has bought in to the scientific system. This fall, Jefferson has plans to play football for Jacksonville University- his faith all in Athletic Republic.

"I want to go in (to Jacksonville State) already in shape. I was always taught if you stay readyâ|you ain't got to get ready," Jefferson said.

First, the state-of-the-art facility and its trainers pre-test its members. Then, trainers systematically push and teach athletes like Jefferson- that it's mostly mind over muscle.

"The whole premise was thought of by the Russians in trying to over-train back in the 80sâ|when they were just dominant in the Olympics. It allows us to push that limit to say "hey, maybe I can push a little bit further," Saxon said.

With science, Athletic Republic is always staying one step ahead of the playing field.

"They're going to walk in with that edge knowing that they have done all that they can do to give them that edge and unlevel the playing field," Saxon said.

"When I get (to Jacksonville University)...there's only one thing. If you're lined up in front of me, I'm going to make you play football...bottom line," Jefferson said.

There are 155 Athletic Republic sites throughout the world. The Albany/Lee County location is the first in Georgia.