Mickey Brueckner

Founder and CEO

Mickey, a native of Madison, NJ, came to the ANNEX from Tempe, Arizona where he trained athletes at some of the top training facilities in the Phoenix area. While there, Mickey gained experience in the high level training of professional athletes from the NFL, MLB as well as the PGA Tour. Mickey is a graduate of Seton Hall Prep High School in New Jersey, from there he was offered a scholarship to play baseball at Seton Hall University. Halfway through his sophomore year in college Mickey transferred to Arizona State University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology. His practical and educational knowledge has enabled him to develop into one of the top performance specialists in New Jersey.

A change of fortunes

Like many high school and college student-athletes, Mickey had aspirations to pursue a career as a professional athlete. During his sophomore year in college Mickey was projected to be a Top 5 round pick in the Major League Baseball Draft in the summer of 2003. However, a season ending elbow injury led to two Tommy-John surgeries and a two year hiatus from the game. Never getting back to his previous form, he had to give up his path of becoming a professional athlete. To stay connected to his passion, Mickey took up the next best thing – Training. As a trainer, Mickey is able to utilize his years of experience as an athlete combined with his performance training and physical therapy experience to help other athletes become faster and stronger, while also focusing on injury prevention. After almost two years as the operations director of the ANNEX, Mickey took an additional role with the training center by becoming an owner of the facility. With this new position, he orchestrated and oversaw the relocation and expansion of the ANNEX to its new space in the summer of 2008. Since his time at The ANNEX, Mickey has had the opportunity to work with some of the best high school and college athletes coming out of New Jersey as well as a host of professional athletes from the NFL and MLB. In 2007 he trained the High School Baseball “Gatorade Player of the Year” as well as the USA Today High School Baseball Team of the Year.


TIm laffey

Principal
Performance Specialist

Tim has been training professional, college, HS, and youth athletes for the past 10 yrs.  Prior to joining the Annex team Tim worked as a Strength Coach for the Anaheim Angels MLB organization, where he tested, developed progams, trained, and rehabbed over 100 professional baseball players including MLB All-Stars Ervin Santana and Joe Saunders.  Tim holds 9 certifications (including National Pitching Association, Muscle Activation Technique, Titleist Performance Institute, United States Weight Lifting, CSCS) and has a Masters Degree in Biomechanics/Exercise Science from East Stroudsburg University, where his masters thesis was on pitching velocity and accuracy.  He interned at Lehigh University, working as a strength coach for the Lehigh football team. Tim has trained NBA All-Stars, NHL stars, NFL athletes, Professional Golfers, MLS soccer goalies, Tennis Pros, and male/female Division I athletes (basketball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, squash, track, football, fencing, and field hockey).


ERIC MANNES

Director of Education
Performance Specialist

Eric Mannes has established a reputation for getting athletes stronger really quickly. He graduated from Ursinus College with a degree in exercise science (minoring in human performance assessment) and six varsity letters (in football and wrestling). Eric holds state high school powerlifting records in New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the squat and total categories. On the gridiron, he earned All-Prep and All-Area honors at Blair Academy. He is CSCS and USAW certified. He has worked with New Jersey football standout Justin Goodwin and is the strength and conditioning coach for the Seton Hall Prep lacrosse program.



CHELSEY SCHMIDT

Performance Specialist

A native of Roxbury, Chelsey Schmidt holds a BS in exercise science from DeSales University, and has both a CSCS certificate and a CrossFit Level 1 certification. Chelsey’s internship with the strength and conditioning coach at Muhlenberg College found her working with soccer, softball and lacrosse players, and her interniship at Lehigh University had her working with middle school and high school athletes to develop their speed and agility. An accomplished athlete, Chelsey has competed in gymnastics, cheerleading and pole vaulting (at the college level) and holds an RPS powerlifting record in the bench press.


MATT PETRILLO

Performance Specialist
Youth Speed and Agility Coach

Born and raised in Madison, NJ, Matt has always had a passion for fitness and training. Growing up as a multi-sport athlete, he learned the importance of training at a young age. Matt is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Certified Personal Trainer. In addition to this, Matt is also certified as a Youth Fitness Specialist under the International Youth Conditioning Association as well as a certified Level 1 Functional Movement Screen member.

Matt’s academic experience included coursework in the areas of strength and conditioning and nutritional wellness. He is a recent graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he received a Bachelors of Science in Finance. During his senior year, Matt was an intern at the Annex where he was given the chance to learn under Mickey Brueckner and Tim Laffey before becoming a coach. Matt enjoys combining his education and passion for both fitness and sports to help others of all ages achieve their fitness and athletic goals.


FRANK VILLANI

Performance Specialist
Golf Performance Coach

Frank’s athletic background began as a determined scholastic wrestler. To compliment this demanding sport, he has committed himself to examine various martial arts. Spanning over the 25 years of study, he also obtained a 3rd degree black belt rank in USA GoJu-Ryu Karate. Frank integrated his athletic drive to pursue more ways of how the human body moves and functions most efficiently. 

Frank holds certifications from Exercise Science-Montclair State University, NSCA-CPT, CHEK 2 Holistic Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, AAHFRP Post-Rehab Conditioning Specialist, Titleist Performance Institute Level 3 Golf Fitness Practitioner, Maximum Fitness Magazine Training Advisor, Neuro-Muscular/Myofascial massage Therapy via Neuro-Kinetic Therapy “NKT” and Functional Movement Screen “FMS.” 


DAMIEN AKINS 

Performance Specialist

Damien is a native of Plainfield, NJ and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. While attending Maryland he played varsity baseball. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Damien has experience training and coaching baseball players on and off of the diamond.

After graduating, Damien served as the varsity pitching coach for Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn, MD where they won back-to-back MIAA conference championships and were ranked as the #1 team in the state. He also was the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Rawlings A’s Prospects MD Development Program. Damien seeks to use his passion for fitness and athletics to help everyone he comes in contact with live a healthy lifestyle and reach their fullest potential. Outside of the gym Damien enjoys training in various martial arts disciplines and DJing. Damien first joined the Annex as an intern and has worked side by side with Mickey prior to taking on his own clients.


ALI Blankmeyer 

Performance Specialist

A native of Morristown, NJ and former alum of Annex Sports Performance Center. Ali was a decorated high-school athlete, earning 11 Varsity Letters playing Field Hockey, Swimming, and Lacrosse at Morristown High School. It was during her high school career that she had goals to be one of the top Field Hockey players in her area. Having plenty of top programs recruit her, Ali accepted a scholarship to the University of Connecticut, where graduated in 2012.

During her career at UConn, she was a four year starter earning all sorts of accolades from Big East Honors and attending two Final Four games. She also captained her team in her final year. Outside of collegiate level, Ali attended High-Performance Olympic training every summer and was a member of the U.S. Women's Indoor Team where she played in the Pan Am games in Venezuela in 2010. Her passion and competitive nature in the gym helped her to be one of the integral parts of the team on and off the field. 

Prior to joining the Annex Team, Ali took a position working a job in New York City. She lived in Hoboken to shorten the commute but whenever she was home and had the chance, she would always drop in to what she considers a "home away from home." While she currently CrossFits, she also understands the importance of Sports Performance Training and the benefits it has on an individual in the specific sport they are focusing on. Her passion, experience, and knowledge will prove to be a great asset to the Sports Performance Training Team.