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Level by level at Next Level

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Girls practice footwork on the agility ladder at Next Level Training Center, Thursday, July 13, 2017.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sometimes, the name of a company can say a lot.

With the Next Level Training Center and owner Trent Britt, explaining his company is easy despite it being housed at a facility on Wimbledon Drive in Greenville that has great versatility and plenty to offer with baseball, softball, volleyball and other strength and performance programs. After entering Next Level, there can be an initial overwhelming sense with the amount of activity and people working on different things, but Britt’s mission remains clear for all users.

“It’s named the Next Level Training Center because the next level for a Little Leaguer is go make your middle school team, and that’s it,” said Britt, who took over Next Level full-time in 2010 and admitted it was a risk then but that he has seen the vision of it becoming the “after-school place to be” come to fruition over the years with various levels of athletes. “Then it’s start for your middle school team and make your high school team and then start for your high school team.

“(We’re) trying to get kids and parents to understand that how you get to the level you eventually want to get to is by focusing on the level you are at now and master that and enjoy it until it’s time to move on to the next one.”

Britt is a 1993 graduate of East Carolina whose experience includes personal training, work with the former Raleigh Icecaps minor league hockey team and a run as a Little League coach that featured an appearance coaching on ESPN for summer tournament action.

He is huge fan of the Greenville sports community, and he said the community’s support in return is vital to his membership-based business.

Britt has plenty of help with his training passion, mainly with a staff that features instructors who all played at the collegiate or professional level.

The summer months can actually be slow for Next Level partly because many sports and activities are held outside, but Britt also offers All-Star teams free space to practice in the summer when there is inclement weather. The basic business model that has developed for Next Level, according to Britt, is that the worse the weather is outside, the busier it is inside.

“What is really cool is when you come in here on a February evening and you can’t find anywhere to park and then you see professional and collegiate and high school and middle school guys all hitting in (batting) cages beside each other,” Britt said. “That is pretty cool, and the same goes with softball and volleyball because you can have every level represented.

“We’ll have 6-year-olds come in here and they are with their dad and just learning how to hold a bat the right way. Then we have a growing number of about 15 guys who have come out of here and play professionally.”

Along with its big focus on youth sports and partnership with the East Carolina Junior Volleyball Club, Next Level is the indoor home for the baseball team at Pitt Community College and ECU’s club squad. The East Carolina Pirate varsity team uses Next Level not as frequently because of its quality field drainage and available resources, but sometimes when needed and mainly for infield work and baserunning.

This is a landmark year for Next Level, as an all-time high of more than 20 members are high school graduates and bound for college athletics.

“These guys grew up in here and were 9 or 10 when we bought the place,” Britt said. “It’s not the end goal for us to have every kid that comes in here to get a college scholarship and that’s not in the cards for every kid, but it is gratifying to know that if that’s their goal and they were blessed with that kind of talent and ability, then everything they need is here to help them.”

Britt can relate to many parents in that he watched his son Dalton excel on the baseball field during many youth seasons and then at J.H. Rose High School and Liberty University before being selected in the Major League Baseball draft a year ago.  

The Next Level leader also gets joy out of seeing other kids succeed, and he tries to interact with as many as possible when they enter his facility and head off to typically work on a specific skill.

“We always tell people that if they leave sweating and smiling, then we have done something good,” Britt said.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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