Marblehead resident Tim DiFrancesco has built quite the resume in the realm of athletic training. Working as the head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers certainly sits atop of that resume.
For six years, DiFrancesco worked with a number of different players including Steve Nash, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, and of course, the late Kobe Bryant.
Though he said being a part of that franchise was an incredible experience, there was something else burning inside him. Ever since he was a kid, he and his younger brother had dreamt about running an athletic training facility where people could go to train and undergo rehabilitation for injuries.
“I remember in middle school, having conversations with my younger brother about a facility to train where athletes and humans of all levels can learn to prepare for their sport or rehab to get back to their life,” said DiFrancesco. “We were both sort of drawn to that field.”
That dream has now become a reality as DiFrancesco is the founder and president of TD Athletes Edge in Salem, a strength and conditioning facility centered around performance-based training as well as nutrition and recovery.
He recently spoke at Marblehead High School on Dec. 9 at the first ever Marblehead High School Basketball Tip-Off Night. At the event, he spoke to the athletes in attendance about the importance of nutrition, hydration, and sleep, and drew examples from his time spent working with the Lakers.
DiFrancesco studied at Endicott College, where he played basketball and graduated in 2003 with a B.S in Exercise Science and Athletic Training. While in school, his coach asked him to create training plans for his teammates in order to prepare them for the season, which is when he said he first felt what it was like to help others feel accomplished.
“I was really placed with some responsibility to prepare the team, and I do remember having my teammates coming up to me saying ‘I don’t know what it was that you just put us through there in that preseason, but I’ve never been so ready for a basketball season in my life,’” he said. “For me, that was a really galvanizing thing to hear, because I knew I wanted to hear more of that.”
The next steps for DiFrancesco from there were to attend graduate school, where he earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Umass Lowell in 2006. After graduation, he worked as a physical therapist in Swampscott, which is when TD Athletes Edge got its first pulse.
While constructing his first drafts of the facility in his mind, he came across a nearby batting cage complex, and rented out a single batting cage tunnel which became the first iteration of TD Athletes Edge, and the rest was history.
Since then, DiFrancesco’s business has flourished due to that passion he has for helping people perform and recover to the best of their ability.
He did have that same passion during the six years he spent with the Lakers, however even with getting to work with some of the best athletes in the world, TD Athletes Edge was always at the forefront of his mind.
“I knew certainly by year two that I did not have any desire to be a lifer in that, TD’s Athletes Edge was not ever going to leave the paramount of what gives me goosebumps,” he said.
DiFrancesco worked with Bryant during the final years of his NBA career and helped him work through injuries as his time as a pro came to a close, something that very few people can say they have done. Yet, he says that he feels just as fulfilled working with everyday people as he did working with one of the best to ever step foot on the hardwood.
“I don’t get any more or less satisfaction from working with Kobe than I do with working with somebody who is just retired from work and finally able to develop a workout habit and for the first time walking into a gym,” he said.
DiFrancesco says that he has no regrets when it comes to leaving the Lakers to pursue his own business, and with over 200 in-person members, he says he gets to experience that joy of helping others accomplish their goals ten-fold.