Sean Kelly didn’t always know he was going to open a performance center.

For over a decade, the now-owner of Sean Kelly's Performance Center (SKPC) woke up early every morning and made his way to Wall Street. Amongst the trading and the vocal clatter and the constant busyness, Kelly found success. He had graduated from Fairfield University (where he played division one lacrosse and football) and moved into the professional world by plunging headfirst into a fast-paced and prestigious position at a brokerage firm.

“As a young kid, I wanted to make money,” Kelly said. “Everyone on Wall Street seemed to be making money so I became a finance and accounting major and started working for a brokerage house after college.

Kelly traded equity-derivatives, working with many high-profile banks such as JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. Business was good.

“I ran the desk for eight years of my career, with eight to ten guys underneath me and we were very successful,” Kelly said.

But he wasn’t happy. Despite forging a career many men would envy, there was something missing for Kelly. He needed more than bigger sales and higher dollar amounts to satisfy him.

“After 12 years on Wall Street, I found myself burned out and completely miserable,” Kelly said. “I wanted to follow my passion.” 

It didn’t take Kelly long to determine how to chase his passion — he had known all along that he had a persistent love for sports training and a selfless desire to help others.

“I wanted to work with kids and teach them how to adapt the principles they learned in sports to any area of their life,” Kelly said. “When I started to brainstorm ideas on how to get these strategies to the largest amount of people, the first idea I had was to do it through the gym. I don’t think there is a single place that teenagers can go that builds mental toughness the way the weight room does.”

2015-2-24-5405 (1)

Kelly’s first step away from Wall Street and into performance training was to begin training high school lacrosse players.

“When I first got out I started taking classes for a sports psychology masters degree,” Kelly said. “I realized that I could take everything I was learning and use it to coach. I got in touch with Joe DeFranco, attended his course, and asked questions.”

Without yet having his own space to train the young athletes, Kelly invited them to the detached garage at his home.

Six students quickly became 20, which turned into 40, 60, and eventually 85. The time spent with these students grew, and the lessons they learned also produced revelations in Kelly’s own mind; as he taught the young athletes, he learned how to be a better coach.

“I was eventually training almost 90 athletes in my detached garage, driveway, and backyard,” Kelly said.

It became undeniable that Kelly needed his own space.

Kelly now trains his athlete in a 4,200-squat foot place located in Wyckoff, New Jersey. He has even installed a 20-yard by 12-yard turf area that he uses to train athletes of all kinds.

“We have football athletes, track athletes, hockey players, wrestlers, and baseball players,” Kelly said. “But I teach the skill of lacrosse at the gym. We are the only facility that I know of in the area that does both the skill training and the strength and conditioning for the sport of lacrosse.” 

Among the techniques Kelly uses for training his athletes, he is particularly fond of medicine ball throws and various variations of non-olympic explosive movements for power development. This allows athletes to produce force through the ground and develop explosiveness without the additional step of teaching very technical Olympic lifts.

No matter the sport of the athlete, Kelly and his crew at SKPC work toward one specific goal: having an influence on members of the gym.

“Our number one priority as coaches at SKPC is to make an impact on our members’ lives,” Kelly said.

In order to ensure this, Kelly and his trainers have a specific test they place on themselves.

2015-2-24-5402 (1)

“The way we measure our impact is the 20-year test,” Kelly said. “In 20 years when this member has children, are they going to remember us and teach their children the same lessons we taught them?"

Only once these questions have been addressed will Kelly consider a potential trainer worthy of working at SKPC.  He expects all of the trainers in his facility to begin with a love of coaching and then work forward to develop the practical skills needed for the job.

“If strength and conditioning is their passion and they are in it to make an impact on each and every one of the athletes that they work with, then we will be able to teach them skills they need to be successful,” Kelly said.

For this reason, Kelly cares first about the motivation behind a coaching applicant and secondarily about the training knowledge.

After abandoning his career to follow his passion of training young athletes, Kelly claims that he has finally found the fulfillment he was never able to achieve in his lucrative career on Wall Street.

“My motivation on Wall Street was 100% the money,” Kelly said. “My motivation now is to change as many lives as I can. It’s completely different.”

For Kelly, training athletes will never be about money. He had the financial success on Wall Street, and chose to leave it behind.

It’s easy to wonder if after so many years spent on a job he dreaded, should Kelly have left sooner? Should he have opened a training facility earlier in life? Should he have never gone into the world of sales at all?

Kelly chooses not to ask these questions, instead opting to trust in the path his life has taken.

“I try not to play that game,” Kelly said. “I believe everything lines up the way it is meant to be. The amount of transferable skills developed from working in one of the most hostile, stressful business environments on the planet gave me a very large skillset that I didn’t even realized until I tried going to a different business.”

2015-2-24-5410 (1)

Looking forward, Kelly hopes to continue expanding and find better ways to serve his athletes and clients. If this means more education, Kelly will seek it. If it means improving his facility, Kelly will invest in additional equipment. But most importantly, Kelly wants to reach as many athletes as possible.

“I want to take SKPC wherever I can have the most impact on the largest number of people,” Kelly said. “Teaching lacrosse and getting them better at the sport, for me, is just a way of getting in front of them and being able to really make a difference in their lives.”

You can find more information about Sean Kelly's Performance Center on, by emailing Sean Kelly at, by calling 201-485-7455, or by contacting 681 Lawlins Road Unit 20, Wyckoff, New Jersey 07481.

elitefts™ equipment at SKPC

Screenshot 2015-06-26 09.46.35