Heavener Football Training Center Creates Efficiency for Gators
Sunday was a historic day for the University of Florida athletics department. After years of hard work and planning, Florida’s $85 million Heavener Football Training Facility is officially open for daily operation.
Billy Napier spoke about the Heavner Center during his Monday press conference.
“Yesterday was a big deal and a big step up from University of Florida and Gator football,” Napier said. “Obviously, moving into Heavener Center is a big deal.”
Reactions were one to watch on Sunday as players took to social media to check out the amenities inside the 142,000 square foot facility. Amenities include a hair salon, salon, resort-style pool, reclining lockers, sleep recovery room, basketball courts, dining room, and more.
“The great thing about the Heavener Center is that it’s going to be used by all student athletes,” Napier said. “All 21 sports here at the University of Florida will be able to use the indoor/outdoor lounge, they will be able to use the Nutritional Performance Center.”
Napier believes the facility will create more efficiency within the organization as a whole.
“It’s going to help our organization from an efficiency standpoint, we even saw that today,” Napier said. “The time that we are going to be able to save in relation to the transition between different meetings, different events with the team.”
“Time, number one for me is time,” Napier said. “The opposition has the same time as you, the overall efficiency, the transition from the boardroom to the walk through, I think the post-workout transition to recovery, the film review, you immediately know your back to work. We’re talking about, I think the difference is about 18 minutes difference, based on our research, in terms of location. 18 round trip and 18 return, so that’s 36 minutes a day that we lose. Now we are right,” Napier said.
The facility includes some of the latest technology in the world.
“We talk about every bell and whistle,” Napier said. “I think there are huge advantages here over the technology that’s in the building from a teaching perspective, from a physical development perspective. The investment in nutrition for all sports.
“These are all things that will contribute to the development of the player,” Napier said.
Senior security Trey Dean says Napier played a big role in installing this technology.
“There’s a lot of good technology here, Coach Napier went to find it,” Dean said.
One amenity Dean loved was the sleep recovery room.
“This piece is pretty cool, you can take a nap for like 20 minutes and feel like you’ve slept for four hours,” Dean said.
This room is something players will use frequently, especially during football season.
Another hot topic of Florida Gator football players is the simulator room. The room is shaped like a football field and projects the film or the opposing team onto the field.
“You can walk into the room and simulate the game, that’s another advantage for our opponent,” Dean said. “Because you know the more game reps you have in your head, it will make the game easier.”
Dean was blown away by the new setup.
“It was truly eye-opening, breathtaking, state-of-the-art, one of the best facilities in the country,” Dean said.
Dean thinks this facility will help them in more than football.
“Just the stuff that Napier put inside the building. Just to help us become a better football player not just on the pitch but also off the pitch, really in life, and I think it will show. on Saturday,” Dean said.
“Everything he put into this facility is going to help us not just be a better player, but a better man,” Dean said. “I know all of his staff are there so we can find every office, no matter who we need, any time of the day.”
Dean’s praise for Coach Napier’s involvement in the facility is something that caught my eye.
“You know, Coach Napier really put in a lot of time and thought,” Dean said. “If someone gets injured, we have the right tools and the recovery to get back on the court faster and stronger,”
“They really took their time, it’s not just a locker room, it’s really a players locker room,” Dean said.
Trent Whittemore is a player who has been around since conversations about this facility began.
“We are so grateful to even have the opportunity to be at a facility like this and it was a dream come true for sure,” Whittemore said.
Whittemore says the players were very excited about moving in.
“We have everything on site, it’s super convenient,” Whittemore said. “Very spacious, as I said, one of the finest facilities in the country.
“For me, the best part is having it all together,” Whittemore said. “We can walk straight into the inside, or the training ground, or the weight room, I would say that’s my favorite part.”
“It’s about efficiency, we’re able to do so much in less time,” Whittemore said. “It also creates a more relaxed day, especially in season. You run to class, or some days you don’t have class, you have to do the elevator, you have to stop at nutrition, all those sorts of things.
The Heavener Center should also have a positive effect on recruitment.
“I think it will mean a lot,” Whittemore said. “A lot of other elite teams across the country have a very impressive setup, and we’ve just matched or surpassed a lot of them, so that’s going to have an effect for sure.”
Billy Napier also commented on the recruitment factor.
“There’s no doubt this will affect recruiting,” Napier said. “I think more importantly to me, it will affect the quality of experience for the current player and college athlete.”
Napier’s focus on player development and efficiency is something we cannot look away from. Hearing Dean talk about how Napier plays a significant role in so much of the technology inside the facility was an eye opener.
Hearing Napier say the team is making 36 minutes a day with the Heavener center shows his attention to detail.
I look forward to visiting Heavener Training Center in the near future and providing you with more information.