Eric Crowhurst immersed himself in the sports world nearly his entire life and now he is making a career out of it.

Eric Crowhurst immersed himself in the sports world nearly his entire life and now he is making a career out of it.

Crowhurst, 32, of Dunlap, who is also a Peoria firefighter, opened the Peoria Area House of Speed at 4200 E. Washington St. on Nov. 2 in East Peoria. He co-owns the business with his father, Jeffrey Crowhurst, an avid runner and a doctor of podiatric medicine who lives in Ottawa.

“He’s always been intrigued by running form, the physiology side of it,” Eric Crowhurst said. “I’ve always been interested in helping young athletes, coaching, teaching, and the combination of both of us brought us to the House of Speed because it kind of combines what we both are interested in.” 

The House of Speed is an athletic enhancement performance center, Crowhurst said. Retired National Football League receiver Don Beebe founded the original House of Speed in Aurora. Being involved in sports, Crowhurst said he knew about the House of Speed and decided to open his own.

“I really wanted to bring those same advantages to the Peoria area,” he said, adding that he realized Beebe had a lot of all-state athletes going through his program.

“I realized that we didn’t have a lot of all-state athletes. … The speed training is real specific. It’s not something that’s just pulled out of track practice. It’s something that’s scientifically proven – the things we do here. Now we do through in conditioning, which is like core strength.”

Crowhurst said they are able to cater workouts for different athletes from 8 to 18, college athletes and professional athletes.

“All of our workouts are tailored to your level of performance. I’m not going to give an eighth-grader a division I college workout,” he said.

To make athletes faster, Crowhurst said they use the Dynamic Range of Motion warmup and world-class sprinter techniques. They also use three pieces of equipment that are speed specialized and are only found in House of Speeds. They are called the Power Pull, the Real Runner and a vertical jump machine.

“We work a lot on technical, your form. We just get really technical on breaking down your form, videotaping you and breaking down every aspect of the way that you run,” Crowhurst said. “Even if someone were to bring in the fastest person in Peoria, but they’ve never been through speed training; they’ve never been taught what they’re supposed to do when they run, we can make them faster.”

There are two types of House of Speeds: certified and a franchise. Crowhurst said he decided to go the certified route so that he can add his own spin on what they do in addition to the speed training.

At the East Peoria House of Speed, they offer a one-hour free monthly open gym for kids with special needs. They also do birthday parties.

“We can do training for any athlete. A lot of the athletes we get want to go to the next level, college or professional,” Crowhurst said.

There are nine staff members at the House of Speed, including six speed and agility trainers and one conditioning and strength trainer. Crowhurst said the trainers have bachelor degrees in exercise science or a related field and experience as a personal trainer. The staff includes Brian Wonders who’s on the coaching staff at Notre Dame High School and Asa Lewis Jr., a football coach at Central High School.

In order to open his own business, Crowhurst and his staff had to take three eight-hour training courses through the House of Speed in Aurora. Crowhurst said he continues to go to the House of Speed in Aurora to see if there is anything new to learn.

Formerly, Crowhurst worked within schools in Champaign doing an after-school physical fitness program. He is certified by the International Youth and Conditioning Association. He also did all the youth sports at the YMCA in Peoria for the past eight years, implementing physical fitness at District 150 schools in the Latchkey program.

“It was kind of like a traveling roadshow of fitness,” Crowhurst said. “I just love helping young athletes. I was a young athlete myself.”

While attending school in Ottawa, Crowhurst was involved in baseball, track, cross country and football. Many of his best friends played sports with him. 

“Actually a lot of guys who work here, we were on the same football team,” Crowhurst said.

Now Crowhurst and his staff are training others at the House of Speed, which will accommodate about 30 athletes at once and it is first-come, first serve.

“When Washington brings its football team, they have about 20 guys here,” Crowhurst said, adding that the intense training is for one hour.

The House of Speed is located at what is known as the East Peoria Event Center. Crowhurst said his space is 40 yards by 20 yards. There is a garage door that opens at one end of the room to provide more running space. Inside the front entrance, Under Armour, the clothing company that sponsors Beebe, is sold. There is also a private room for personal training, an office and the main fitness room.

Crowhurst said they have several teams and individuals coming to the House of Speed. In all, about 500 athletes are coming through the doors weekly. Some of the schools that are utilizing the services include East Peoria, Morton, Washington, Pekin and some from Metamora. Crowhurst said they can train for any sport.

On Feb. 17, Dylan Simpson, a junior quarterback at Washington Community High School, was training. Simpson is the son of Tim Simpson, a former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I think it’s good. It’s tough, but it obviously makes you better throughout all the hard training,” Dylan Simpson said. “Every Thursday we have about 18 kids from our team come and work. They think it’s tough but they think that it will pay off in the long run.”

Simpson said he has noticed a difference in his throwing.

“Throwing, it’s really been helping with the mechanics, but also speed wise, I feel like I’m able to cut quicker and be more explosive,” Simpson said.

Simpson’s father is currently doing a six-week camp at the House of Speed.

The Peoria Area House of Speed is open by appointment from 6 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. 

Now immersed in his own business, Crowhurst said he gets to know a lot of the athletes who train there on a personal level. 

“The best thing about it is you get to share in their enjoyment when they reach their goal,” he said.

For more information, call 361-7879 or visit www.pahouseofspeed.com.