ETS Sports Performance training center opening in Shelby Township

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Shelby-Utica News | Published January 12, 2023


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Sitting inside an empty building with only a Gatorade, a folding chair, a computer and an ETS favorite — a large Bluetooth speaker — Oxford resident Josh Renel has a vision for the future Shelby Township branch of ETS Sports Performance.

While the building is only filled with echoes of lingering conversation and boxes right now, there will soon be young athletes utilizing the facility on a daily basis for training.

ETS Sports Performance, a Minnesota-based company, was founded in 2010 by Ryan Englebert and currently has facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota. ETS stands for “Englebert Training Systems.”

The performance center is backed by Minnesota Vikings players Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen, and former Minnesota Viking and Oxford native Zach Line, who currently is the Oxford High School football head coach.

The performance center can cater to athletes whose sports are football, basketball, hockey, baseball, golf, soccer, fencing or bike motocross; even athletes on equestrian teams can utilize it.

Renel said the fact that ETS Sports Performance’s range includes equestrian is a key factor behind ETS’ success.

“That’s what makes this gym unique; our trainers are awesome, and we’re really big on individual strength training,” Renel said. “We have our trainers that will take all their athletes through all workouts that are all specific to each athlete depending on the sport they play, their ability level, their age; we don’t really put an age on strength training here.”

ETS Sports Performance can be broken down into three types of training: speed-plus, strength-plus and elite speed. Speed-plus encompasses younger athletes and their techniques, strength-plus focuses on customized workouts and individual strength training, and elite speed is geared toward high school athletes and their advanced movements.

While ETS prides itself on effectively training athletes from ages 8-18 to work toward their goals, Renel, the director of operations of ETS Northern Oakland (Oxford), said there’s one major factor that separates it from other performance centers.

“What really makes ETS, in my opinion, the most unique is we have a personal touch on what we do with our training,” Renel said. “We’ll go to athletes’ sporting events; we like to support them on and off the field. It’s a little more personalized training, not in the sense of it’s one-on-one where you have one trainer that’s designated to one person, but personalized where we like to get to know each athlete as both an athlete and a person.”

ETS’ current location in Oxford includes athletes from the Shelby Township area. Renel said that with another ETS facility in close proximity, he hopes his facility and Oxford follow the formula of what the Minnesota locations have done.

“If you go to Minneapolis, ETS is a household name,” Renel said. “They have success and they share it, and each gym feeds off of each other. That’s what we’re trying to do here in Michigan now.”

Line, who is the co-owner of both the Holland and Oxford location, introduced Renel to ETS when Renel moved to the Oxford area in 2020.

Line and Renel were both familiar with each other during their high school football days at Oxford and Rochester Adams, respectively, so it was an easy decision for Line to bring Renel onto his Oxford staff when he heard Renel wanted to coach.

Renel was the wide receivers coach from 2020 to 2021 at Oxford, and his connection with the players would ultimately lead to his transition to ETS.

“It was a no-brainer for me to bring him on the staff, and seeing how he was with the kids and how he still reaches out to some of the kids and they reach out to him, I thought he’d be a great person to be the ETS director,” Line said.

It was a career shift from Renel’s seven years in event marketing with Jack Morton Worldwide, but the former Wayne State University running back (2008-2011) said he’s right where he wants to be.

“Since joining, it’s kind of fulfilled that itch of giving back to the sports that I enjoyed playing,” Renel said.

Renel’s ability to evaluate talent comes from his three years in the National Football League, where he served as a scouting intern for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

From incoming NFL draft talent to now elementary, middle and high school talent, Renel is focusing on training athletes to potentially become professionals themselves.

It all starts with a free evaluation that allows Renel and his team to construct the best possible training regimen for each athlete.

“That’s where we get to gauge each athlete and get to see what their ability level is, and we can make recommendations on the right training for them,” Renel said.

Aside from its personalized training, Renel said ETS prides itself on an energetic and comfortable atmosphere.

“It’s a high-energy facility,” Renel said. “That’s the best way to describe it; it’s fun and high-energy.”

Team workouts are available as well, so interested coaches can rent out a time slot and bring their team to train.

The facility is set to open this month with all athletes welcome to come in for a free evaluation.

With success already in Holland and Oxford, the Shelby Township location could be the bridge toward more ETS locations in Michigan.

“We’re starting to expand as a company, which is great, and as you saw, Kirk Cousins is investing in Michigan specifically, into some new gyms that we’re hoping to open here,” Renel said.

With more ETS gyms potentially on the horizon in the Michigan area, Line said there’s one point of emphasis he focused on when building his gyms.

“I know it’s a grind to get one off the ground, so the mindset has to be that there’s no stone unturned,” Line said. “You can’t chase football teams or the five-star athletes; you have to get into the community.”

For more information on ETS, visit or reach it at (248) 227-2442.