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Excel Fitness at Backcourt Hoops

Summer Hours of Operation 
Monday – Thursday: 11am-9pm
Friday: 11am- 6pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 9am-1pm

Excel Fitness is located in the Riverfront Sports Complex. We offer a full range of cardiovascular equipment, free weights, gym circuit machinery, a specific dedicated space for speed, movement, and agility drills and cutting edge equipment for flexibility, pre-habilitation, and core strength training.

Our progressive performance training systems, clinics, and staff available to athletes of all ages are unrivaled in design, experience, and education. Although this our main focus, we also offer a family atmosphere for those clients looking to improve general fitness and wellness.
Come visit us for a tour and join the revolution in fitness and performance!

We are a full service gym providing you with everything you need to lead a healthier lifestyle. Our atmosphere and service to our customers is what places us a step above the rest! We have flexible hours of operation to fit into your busy schedule.

Jody M. Leach, B.S. Physical Education and Health, C.S.C.S.

Trainer Jody Leach

Strength and Conditioning Coach, Binghamton University
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
AAAI ISMA Certified Master Personal Trainer
AAAI ISMA Certified Sports Nutrition Consultant
AAAI ISMA Youth Fitness Instructor
USBF Professional Bodybuilder

Jody is a strength and conditioning coach, personal trainer, and human performance specialist. A 1992 graduate of Ithaca College, Jody taught Physical Education and coached in New York State before relocating to Pennsylvania in 1995. She has excelled in the direction of youth programming and development of high school and collegiate athletes since her graduation. Five years ago, Jody began her own personal training business focusing on sport specific training. Jody now comes to Backcourt Hoops from Binghamton University, an NCAA Division I athletic institution. At Binghamton, Jody was a Strength and Conditioning Coach working with all varsity sports teams including both Men’s and Women’s Basketball. Her goal as a coach and sport specific trainer is to provide each individual athlete with the motivation and specialized tools to achieve their maximum athletic potential.

Contact Jody at



30 minute sessions beginning September 12 through November 14 for Grades 7 & up.

Innovative and science based sessions are designed to improve athletic performance.  Each class is developed to improve foot speed, quickness, agility, and power.  Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist JODY LEACH will be directing the program.  Classes are FREE to current and consistent student-athletes enrolled in our strength and conditioning program (2 classes per week is the recommended).

Any student athletes interested in both our weight training and speed and agility class may register for both.  The price of $540, will include two 1 hour weight train sessions per week from the week of September 10 through December 15th in addition to speed and agility sessions.

Please check back for future availability….

Excel Fitness training at Backcourt Hoops

EXCEL Performance Training Programs


This program was developed using cutting-edge techniques and science based theories and practice to produce maximal improvements in athletic performance.

Every athlete in the program must first complete our mandatory comprehensive evaluation to assess their strengths and weaknesses. After completing the free initial evaluation, the athlete will be placed into an appropriate group depending upon performance level and age. Time slots are limited to six athletes to maximize learning potential and keep optimal training ratios for safety and maximize trainer to athlete interactions. Please sign up for the appropriate sessions in advance. We offer numerous times slots for your scheduling convenience.

To request a training spot in one of our group sessions send email to You are not guaranteed a spot until we send you a confirmation email

EXCEL Performance

Sessions are 45 minutes to 1 hour in length. They will include elements of a dynamic warm-up, core strength, speed training, agility drills, power and Olympic movements, plyometric training, strength training, functional training, exercises for joint integrity or prehabilitation, and flexibility.

Excel Performance Monthly Training packages:

*Please note that by paying monthly, clients receive one free week of training every 3 months or 4 free weeks per/year!*

Sessions must be pre-paid by month and must be used within the billing month. Sessions must be scheduled in advance due to limited spaces in each training slot. Unused sessions in these packages may not be carried over to the next billing month.

Cancellation policy: Cancellations will be billed as a completed session unless cancelled 24 hours in advance of scheduled appointment.

Individual Family
1 session/week: $100 ($25/session) 2 sessions/week: $180 ($22.50/session)
2 sessions/week: $180 ($22.50/session) 4 sessions /week: $300 ($18.75/session)
3 sessions/week: $240 ($20/session) 5 sessions /week: $360 ($18.00/session)

Special: JB Hoops/Backcourt Hoops/NEPA Flames pricing for current players only!
1 session/week: $100
2 sessions/week: $135

Training Philosophy

EXCEL is dedicated to helping athletes reach their ultimate performance. No matter what your sport or competitive level, to be well prepared and have an athletic edge is the key to success. Our sports specific EXCEL is dedicated to helping athletes reach their ultimate performance. No matter what your sport or competitive level, to be well prepared and have an athletic edge is the key to success. Our sports specific training philosophy is simple: Provide our athletes with the most effective and progressive training techniques, movement education, and coaching in a motivating and engaging training environment. Our staff of personal trainers and strength and conditioning specialists are dedicated to changing the lives of athletes and fostering peak performance results. Some of the many things we focus on:

  • Strength – We provide athletes with well-structured personalized strength routines. The benefits of strength training to athletic performance are substantial and numerous. Not only is it an integral conditioning component for power athletes but also maximizes performance in the pure endurance events.
  • Speed, agility, & quickness training – We train you how to move in all directions!
  • Power & plyometrics – We give you the highly effective tools to become more explosive in power movements like jumping, throwing, first step acceleration and hitting.
  • Core training – We place strong emphasis on core training. Your core strength is the key to a solid athletic foundation and the base necessary in all movements.
  • Joint integrity and pre-habilitation – We keep your joints strong through unilateral and functional exercises to protect you from imbalances and future injury.
  • Hand-eye coordination and reaction drills – We provide drills to improve visual reaction. This training allows for increased agility and faster neural reaction and increased efficiency in muscular reaction to stimulus.
  • Metabolic Conditioning – Our workouts are designed to train all three of the body’s energy systems and focus on the systems most important to in your sport and personal growth.
  • Flexibility – By stretching post workout, we increase your range of motion; keeping you strong throughout the completion of movements and actions and less likely to suffer from injury.
  • Recovery & regeneration – Rest is necessary for growth. We follow a systematic approach to allow for peak performance and avoid over training.
  • Athlete life skills – Leadership, Accountability, Goal Setting
    Our training philosophy is simple: Provide our athletes with the most effective and progressive training techniques, movement education, and coaching in a motivating and engaging training environment. Our staff of personal trainers and strength and conditioning specialists are dedicated to changing the lives of athletes and fostering peak performance results. Some of the many things we focus on:

Sample Workout:
Dynamic Warm-up
Hurdle drills; single foot forward, lateral both directions, 1-2 stick
Core: Plate get up, Plank with unilateral band row, side bridge unilateral row, medicine ball seated side toss, single leg buck
Power Superset:
DB Step ups paired w/ bosu up and over
Barbell Snatch
Incline Barbell Press
Reverse Grip Barbell row
Tri-set: TRX push-up, TRX inverted row, TRX single leg squat
Bicep ez bar curl
Hanging knee up
Tricep kickback cable
Hip corrective prehab circuit

Excel Fitness Small Group training

Personal & Small Group Training

Our Personal Training Staff is unmatched in education, experience, and success in northeast Pennsylvania. Our Trainers are positive, motivating, and dedicated to helping you reach your fitness goals. We offer Personal Training to our members looking to improve the five classic components of fitness; muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Personal Training sessions are typically one on one hour long sessions designed specifically for each client and their goals. We also offer small group training to those individuals with similar goals at a discounted per/person rate. Personal Training sessions may be scheduled at your convenience, but are subject to trainer availability. Contact us today to get started!

1-on-1 session: $60/1-hour session or 10-session package for $500 *save 100!*

Group Rates:
2 people: $35/each
3 people: $25/each
4 people: $20/each

Excel at Backcourt Hoops – The Paul Johnson Center for Performance Training is named in Honor and Memory of Coach Paul Johnson.

Not only was Paul an excellent Basketball Coach, a respected person, a successful Insurance underwriter, but he was also a strength and conditioning coach and one of Coach John E. Bucci’s best friends. In his memory we have honored him by naming our Performance Training Center after him.

Below is an article published in the Scranton Times Tribune:

Former Hannan coach Paul Johnson, 42

Published: January 18, 2010

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson coached three-plus seasons at Bishop Hannan, compiled a career record of 75-28 and guided the Golden Lancers to the PIAA Class A final in 2006. Johnson died Saturday at age 42.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson talks to Bishop Hannan players prior to his first game as the team’s coach on Jan. 10, 2004 against Riverside. Johnson, who died Saturday, left a lasting impression on his teams and opponents alike.

Dapper. Eloquent. Likeable.

Paul Johnson was all of those, but there is another characterization that best describes the former Bishop Hannan boys basketball coach who died Saturday of an apparent heart attack.

“Paul was a gentleman first and I think that’s what came across to most,” said James Marcks, who was the principal at Bishop Hannan when Johnson took over following John Bucci’s retirement during the 2003-04 season. “He was a gentlemen on and off the court.

“He had a great feel for the kids and a great manner of working with them.”

Johnson, 42, was the first black head basketball coach in the Lackawanna League, yet his legacy is more about how he treated others, especially those he coached.

“He didn’t see race,” said Bucci, who brought Johnson on board as an unpaid freshman coach in 1996. “He saw people.”

Added Marcks: “It was never something that I thought of. I understand it and heard it after the time we made our run to the state championship game.

“There were times I thought about it after the state championship game because others spoke of it. But it never struck me, and Paul and I had many conversations.”

Bucci used his friendship with Johnson – they were involved in AAU basketball together – to convince him to take a job as volunteer freshman coach. It wasn’t quite the plum position Bucci pitched.

“We were going to be really, really bad,” said Bucci, laughter breaking through his tears. “I didn’t tell him that. I told him he should come and take this job, and they proceeded to win one game.”

The next season, Johnson became the junior varsity coach, and his natty attire became the talk, and envy, of many other coaches.

“I don’t think I dress poorly, but I was sitting in my office Saturday and thought I had him,” said Marywood University coach Eric Grundman, who had Johnson on his staff the last two seasons. “At about 12:05 I looked out my window and he was strutting in. He had this kind of gold suit with a light blue shirt and burgundy tie and I said, ‘I’ll be a son of a gun, he got me again.’

“Paul was class personified, in the way he lived his life, in everything he did. In the last 12 hours, I’ve gotten over 150 text messages and phone calls, attesting to Paul’s character, his impact, and just the human being that he is and he was.”

It took a special person to follow in Bucci’s footsteps after Bishop Hannan reached three state finals in a four-year period. Johnson did it with aplomb, eventually putting his own stamp on the program by posting a 75-28 career mark taking his 2005-06 team to the Class A state title game and earning Times-Tribune Coach of the Year honors.

The first night Johnson took over for Bucci, Bishop Hannan visited Riverside, Vikings head coach Mike Morgan remembered.

“Paul stepped in like the champ that he was,” Morgan said. “He didn’t go into an easy situation, replacing a person like John and he knew he was going to be scrutinized. He took it one day at time, worked at it one day at a time and was very successful.

“I think he was a positive person. The glass was always half full. That’s the way he approached everything.”

And everyone, along with a smile on his face.

“His smile,” Morgan said. “I won’t forget that. I loved every minute being in his company. Every time I saw him, he made my day.

“You’d go to scout a game and he’d be there in his Burberry coat. He was better dressed to go scouting than a lot of guys go to their games.”

It was part of the pleasant aura that surrounded Johnson.

“Paul was Bishop Hannan,” Bucci said. “It was easy for me. I had talent. I left, there was talent there, but not like the talent I had. Paul was a much better coach than I was. I freely admit that.

“His temperament was tremendous. There was such a fine line between success and failure, and he got me to understand that.”

When Bishop Hannan made its 2006 run to the state finals, Johnson made sure his players were as prepared as could be – in every sense.

“It was like a college program, to tell you the truth, the preparation that was put into it,” said Chris Osborne, a standout on the 05-06 team. “That whole run through the state playoffs, he would buy us dinner before those games. He’d get us food from Stirna’s. He’d bring it in to Hannan and we’d have it in the cafeteria.

“That whole month was something we still remember, all of us.”

It sticks not only with the players, but Marcks, too.

“He was easy to talk to when things weren’t going well, and he never let it go to his head when things were going well,” Marcks said. “Nor did he let it go to the kids’ heads, and that’s what led to his success.

“I remember some of his words to the kids. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the trip.”

Johnson’s journey is over, and a generation of players will never get to hear his inspirational words, nor will they know about the man who was much more than just a coach.

“He was original, he was classy, he was dedicated,” Bucci said. “He was everybody’s best friend.

“I loved the man. He was my best friend.”

EXCEL @ Backcourt Fitness
Backcourt Hoops Riverfront Sports Complex
5 West Olive Plaza
Scranton, PA 18508
Phone: 570-558-3833
Fax: 570- 558-3835

To request a training spot in one of our group sessions send email to you are not guaranteed a spot until we send you a conformation email

Contact a Trainer:
Jody Leach:

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