Talk to any success junkie and they’ll give you the same ol’ story: work hard, blah, blah, blah…then you get offered a D-1 scholarship, girls (or guys) come crawling after you. You get drafted. Play in the NBA for millions of dollars. Buy sick cars with 24” rims. And live happily ever after in the Caribbean. “But it takes hard work.” That’s what they’ll tell you. Unfortunately, they’re lying to you. It takes more hard work. And it takes more than luck. It takes consistent work and a simple equation:
Whoops, wrong equation. Here it is, courtesy of Darren Hardy:
You -> Choice (decision) + Behavior (action) + Habit (repeated action) + Compounded (time) = Goals
With that simple equation you can achieve almost anything. Unfortunately, for most people, they don’t have the needed drive to fill that equation properly. Stories like Spike Albrecht (yeah boi!) are few and far between. It takes a special breed of baller to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to shoot; go to the weight room and do exercises other than chest and arms; and say no to girls who are feverishly throwing themselves at you because you ball hard like Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air http://youtu.be/64neDXrcCAs. And don’t knock the hustle. We all know that ‘gettin jiggy wit’ it was tight.’ Just in case you missed it, here’s a replay:
Alright, time to stop dancin and get back to biz-nass. If you really want to make it happen starting today (and stop making lame excuses) you’ve got to understand the above equation, in case you missed it, here it is again:
You -> Choice (decision) + Behavior (action) + Habit (repeated action) + Compounded (time) = Goals
Choice - The reality is that you’ll have lots of tough life decisions: Regular or double stuffed Oreos; which combination special should I get at China Taste (don’t act like General Tso’s isn’t the shiznit); or what can I do to make my game better. You’ve got to maximize your decisions. The reality is that your choices will ultimately either be the best option or not. Poor choices (like not shooting) will ultimately mean that the other pieces in your equation will have to change to make up for it (more time perhaps) if you’re still going to reach your goals.
Behavior – What you do with that Choice is important. You must do something with it. But doing what you need with it is a TON better. Choosing drills, camps, etc will ultimately lead to your demise or your success. As the old knight in Indiana Jones says, “Choose wisely.”
Habit – Do it. Do it again. Do it again again. And again again again. And just keep doing it. Sure it sucks sometimes. Sometimes it’s boring. As a matter of fact, a great deal of the time you’d probably rather be doing something else. You need to work on reaching your goals regularly. Even if it’s just taking a small step towards them. This adds up over time. As my good friend Sol Orwell, of examine.com points out, “5 minutes a day is 2.5hrs a month.”
Compounded – This is the kicker. Even the best player, doing the best program will still take time. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you have to give time for things to happen. People just don’t understand that. Unfortunately we’re in a time and age where people expect to buy a magical program and all of a sudden BOOM – not only do you have the body of Dwight Howard, but you shoot free throws like Ray Allen.
The graph below shows a realistic view of what it takes to succeed. The top line is the more successful person, while the bottom line is the average person. If you notice, it takes a long time before there is a lot of separation between the two, but when that happens the successful person has what appears to be an explosion of success. What seems like an overnight success is really the culmination of months and years of structured progress and effort.
*Disregard the fact that the graph represents money. Unless of course you want to realize how you can use your money to make more money. In which case, this is an even better graph.
Ok, so let’s have a quick little chat. Grab a Gatorade for a minute and let’s talk goals. The reality is that you need to sit down and map out what your plan of attack is. Use this equation and write out your goals and back track to how you’re going to get there. For each goal, you need to go back and fill in under each column (choice, behavior, habit, and compounded (list the time needed)). It’s not important that your sheet is 100% accurate. As a matter of fact, it won’t be. Things change. What’s important is that you do what most people won’t do and start to take action on reaching your goals.
PS – I highly recommend reading Darren Hardy’s book The Compound Effect. It’s a life changing book and a good, quick read. You can find it here on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Compound-Effect-Darren-Hardy/dp/159315724X
Have you seen the new MTV show, Catfish?
If you haven’t, I think you should check it out. It’s a show that will make you think. It’s about people who meet each other online and then meet for the first time in person. The term ‘catfish,’ defines a person who creates a fake profile based on someone else’s information (basically they pretend to be someone they’re not).
My question to you is: are you pretending to be a player that you’re really not?
A couple years ago I was working with a player who told me he was a three point shooter. I’m not sure of his shooting percentage (in games), but I could tell from the first time that I worked with him that he wasn’t a “3-point shooter.” The fact that you can make 3’s doesn’t mean you’re a 3-point shooter. You need to be able to make them consistently in games.
Are you a defensive stopper?
So who are you as a player? Don’t lie. It’s important to be honest with yourself so that you can play to your strength(s). This doesn’t mean that you can’t transform yourself into a different player; it means that while you’re working on tranforming yourself as a player you still play to your strength(s).
I’ve worked will all types of players from true point guards to shooting guards, post players to big men who play on the wing. The important thing is to realize where your strength are and to play to them. At the same time you’re playing to those strengths you can be working on transforming your game during practice.
The other thing that this will do is force you to do some critical thinking about where you are as a player and where you want to go.
Here is a great exercise you can do as a player. Write down your current position as a player (as defined by your coach). Next, write down the position you hope to play at the next level (next level may be varsity, AAU, d-3 college, or d-1 college). Underneath each position I want you to write the 5 most important skills and qualities needed at each of those levels (where you currently are and where you want to go). Then I want you to add 5 more sub skill-sets below each. An example is below:
High School (Back-up) Point Guard:
- Know all of the teams plays
- You never know when you may have to play more and therefore you need to know everything your team runs as good, or better than your starting point guard.
- Play ‘mistake’ free
- Turnovers and mental mistakes should be non-existant for PG’s. Especially if you’re only in the game for limited minutes
- Have high energy minutes
- There should be no drop-off in energy when you come into the game, even if you aren’t as skilled as the starting point guard
- Run practice team efficiently in practice
- Challenge the starting unit to help improve them and your team overall
- Make open shots that are in range
- this may be anything from 3’s to mid-range
High School (Starting) Point Guard:
- Know all of the teams plays
- Offensive, defensive, out of bounds, etc.
- Be able to guard the other teams starting PG
- You have to be quick enough to control the other teams point guard
- Make free throws at a high perecentage (especially down the stretch)
- You must be confident enough to have the ball in late-game situations
- Be able to Penetrate to create easy shots for other players
- Your ball handling and ability to read openings must be GREAT
- Control the Flow of the game (play how your coach wants to you on the offensive and defensive end)
- Sometimes you may have to speed it up, other times slow it down
After you have done this exercise you should get an idea of where your game currently is. If you disagree with your current role as a player, make sure to discuss with your coach some of the ideas and concepts that we talked about. Find out from him or her what their expectations are of you as a player (both now and when you get your starting role). Your spare time should be spent either improving the needed skills for your current position/role on the team. Or you should spend it working on improving or developing skills that will help you in your future role.
The big take away from this activity should be that you need to be honest with who you are as a player. Don’t make believe you’re a point guard if you’re really a big man. Rondo would not be in the NBA if he wanted to be a shooting guard; KD wouldn’t be the most effective player if he was playing center and around the basket all of the time (even though he’s 6’9”); Lebron wouldn’t dominate on the offensive end if he slowed the ball down and played more tentatively (he’s too fast, strong, and athletic).
All of these players know who they are as a player, and yet know they need to improve to become a better version of themselves.
Who are you?
I could see the disappointment in his eyes.
No one wants to see their vertical jump go down. Especially more than an inch. The worst part of all is that it happened in less than 2 weeks.
What causes a vertical to drop from 32+” to 30” in a few days?
Too much stress, not enough recovery, poor diet, too little sleep – any and all of that will factor in to how you feel and how you perform. The challenge as a performance coach is manage all of these factors, while trying to balance life, school, and basketball at the same time. I mean, let’s be honest, most middle, high school, and college kids aren’t exactly focusing on these 4 pieces like they should be.
Despite what adults will tell you, high school is stressful. Sure it’s different than “adult” stress, but high school is stressful. Friends, girl/boy friends, school work, parent issues, coach issues, college issues – there are all kinds of stresses that can wreak havoc on your body.
The part of all of this stress is that’s cumulative. It continues to add up over time. So if you have a bad stretch during exams it may take you 2-3 weeks to recover from it. That can impact a basketball season significantly – I’m talking like 6-10 games. For some, a poor stretch like that can mean the difference between a great season and a crappy season.
The most important thing to remember when handling stress is to adjust your training accordingly. When I say training, I’m talking both lifting and skill work. These are two of the most important factors to having an athlete feel run-down over the course of a season and yet they’re two of the most easily controlled factors.
If you’re over-stressed I tell my athletes to reduce the number of total sets per lifting exercise to just 2-3 sets (this should be down from 3-5 sets). Next, reduce the amount of weight you use to a weight that simply feels “good.” I don’t care how light you go because if you go too heavy you’ll struggle recovering even more. Next, take out all of your extra skill work. Since you’re already practicing or playing games 6x/week, I’d recommend spending the extra court time either sleeping or recovering instead. Once you’re health you can add back in your skill work.
If your legs and body start to feel heavy (like you’re dragging your body around everywhere), start using cold bath or ice bath everyday.
During the past few years I’ve experimented with just regular ol’ cold baths at home in our bath tub. Nothing fancy – no bags of ice or whirlpool jets, just cold water and a stopwatch.
It works. I wasn’t sure if the water out of the faucet would get cold enough to help the recovery of my legs, but it does. I recommend about 10 minutes with your entire legs submerged in the water.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – there’s no way Shelby is going to convince me to get in that cold water. Ok, ok, I hear you. BUT, I said the exact same thing just a few years ago. The best trick I’ve found is that when you’re filling the baht you get in when there’s just a few inches of water. Quickly lower yourself in and out of the water (just enough so that the back side of your legs get wet) and then get out and wrap up in a towel.
On another side note, a great way to gauge your recovery is the dot test. To do the dot test, all you do is set a timer for 10 seconds (a stopwatch will do if needed), and make as many dots as you can (on a piece of paper, but I guess that goes without saying). You should perform this test first thing in the morning, before fatigue or stress has a chance to set in (within an hour after getting up). Make sure to count up your total number of dots. If your number of dots drops by 25% or more, you’re over-trained and need to focus more on overall recovery: sleep, nutrition, etc.
Look, I know what you’re thinking here….you want to see a diet plan laid out for you. You want me to tell you exactly what to eat, how much of it, when to eat it, and then all of a sudden you’ll have the body and game you desire.
I hate to break it to you, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t have you eat chicken and broccoli and end up looking like Lebron with a game like KD. No amount of chicken (fried or not) can do that. But let’s be honest, you want help and I’m here to do just that. So….
Nutrition in a single sentence: more lean meat (grass fed/free range if possible); lots of veggies (the more colors the better); a piece or two of fruit a day; more water (actually only water unless you use a protein shake during your workouts – and use coconut water for hydration instead of Gatorade). Eat lean chicken, beef, and pork; cucumbers, peppers, onions, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce; have banana, orange, pear, grapes, or any fruit that you’ll actually eat (gushers are not considered a fruit) and you’re most of the way there.
In all honesty, nutrition is really complex. I think most people can get 80% of the way to a healthy diet by taking the above advice, but after that you’ve got to tweak it for your individual needs. The more simple you can make it, the better.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard your parents say something along the lines of, “You need your sleep so you can grow big and strong.” Since I know you probably weren’t listening then, I’ll repeat that: “You need your sleep so you can grow big and strong.”
A lack of sleep reduces the amount of growth hormone released in the body. This effects everything from brain development to muscle growth. As youth are developing, sleep is one of the biggest factors in proper development and growth.
I’m not here to lecture you on the need of sleep (adults included), instead I’ll try to give you reasonable “things” you can try to improve your sleep time and quality.
- Set weekend goals. If you talk to any sleep experts (or read their research and books) they’ll tell you that routine is a huge factor for sleep quality. Rather than recommend sleeping-in on weekends, they recommend getting up at your normal time. My recommendation is to get up as close to your normal time as you can in order to achieve or work towards a “goal.” If you have something to get up for, you’re a whole lot more likely to do it. No time to lift? Now is the time. Want to get up some extra shots? Now is the time. Need to study the game? Now is the time.
- Complete outlines of the work you have to do at night, during the day. At a bare minimum, even if you don’t want to do all of the work (school work or otherwise), make an outline that you can follow later on in the day. This will save you time and effort. If you have a big project, outline the flow of it and the “big” pieces. Later on when you come in to fill it in, you’ll save time. Time saved = more sleep at night.
- Experts will recommend unplugging TV’s, computers, shutting off phones, etc. in order to help you get quality sleep. Since I’m a realist and understand that you’re not going to do all of that (not at first at least), I think you should take a few steps in that direction. Instead of looking at Facebook at 10pm at night, try reading for 30 minutes before bed. I would recommend this thing they call a book. Sure it’s old school, but it eliminates the illumination of a computer screen. If you don’t know where the library is, or want to start by reading blogs, Internet articles, or other technology-based pieces, I would recommend printing them out and reading them separate.
I always tell athletes that recovery is a complete life effort. It doesn’t stop: 24/7. The key to improving your recovery is taking baby steps so that you’re actually able to create habits.
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Maine. Just like all great basketball stories, right?
One of the few advantages that Maine had was a nationally-renowned prep team that went by the letters – MCI. Incase you’ve never heard of MCI (the school recently cut the program), they dominated the prep basketball scene through the 80’s and 90’s. While they didn’t receive some of the notoriety that other programs received, they managed to send a ton of kids d-1 (more than 70 I believe), including multiple players who later went on to play in the NBA.
I was fortunate enough to see numerous MCI games growing up. On a couple weekends each year, my dad and I would make the hour and a half trip up to Pittsfield (the small town where MCI was located) to catch some prep tournament games.
Every time we went, we saw something special.
One game in-particular sticks out in my head. There was one game that my dad and I went to see at the Augusta Civic Center (the ACC of the northeast – keep your laughing to yourself please) where I witnessed perhaps the single greatest display of athleticism I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I can’t even remember the players name or where he was from, but I can remember his ability to move around the court.
In a game full of future division 1 stars, this guy was playing on a different level. Offensively he was able to explode by his defenders leaving them seemingly frozen and unable to move. He would slide through seemingly non-existent space between defenders and somehow end up at the rim to finish the play for an easy deuce. Defensively his ability to stop and go allowed to pressure the basketball to the point that his “game-speed” seemed to be straight out of a video game (to be more specific, straight out of my Nintendo – the original).
The guy was legit.
In a game full of freak athletes (virtually all are d-1 caliber, many at the highest levels of d-1), he was a man amongst boys.
So how did he do it?
Great question. While I don’t know what (if anything) he did, I can tell you that if you’re reading this, you probably want to improve your agility. You want to move quicker, more explosively, and dominate the court. And that I can help you with.
You see, agility is all about your ability to stop and go. That’s it’s. Get rid of all of the fancy language, terms, and drills that people fire at you. The bottom line is you need to stop faster, and go sooner. Do this, and you’ve improved your agility.
One of the biggest weaknesses in basketball players trying to improve their agility is just that – weakness. If you aren’t strong enough to stop yourself when you change direction (deceleration) or strong enough to get going again (acceleration) you won’t move as efficiently as you can, or should. I always tell my athletes, ‘the quicker you stop, the quicker you can go.’
One of the my best kept secrets with regards to improving an athletes ability to stop is known as “eccentric” training. The term eccentric is a fancy-shmancy term for the contraction of a group of muscles while they lengthen. In other words, eccentric training is focusing on the lowering of the weight during a movement (lowering into a squat; lowering the bar to your chest on the bench press, etc.).
When I refer to eccentric training, I’m referring to a really slow lowering of the weight. Typically, when I have my athletes work on this portion of the lifts, we do so to improve the ability of the athlete to decelerate (slow down). Showing control/strength through the various movements we use in the weight room, helps show me that an athlete is progressing in terms of their ability to control their body. This control will help the athlete ‘stop’ quicker on the court.
If you’re looking for a little hcange to your current workout, or want to work on your ability to stop quicker, try using a 4-2-1 tempo in your current workout. What does “4-2-1” mean? That’s the tempo of the exercise. The “4” means the lowering (or eccentric part of the movement); the “2” means the pause or transition between the lower and the raise; and the “1” means the raising (or concentric part of the movement).
I would recommend using this 421 tempo on all movements you are currently doing (any exercises are fair game). Start with 3 sets of 5 reps at a 421 tempo. Incase I didn’t mention it yet, because you’re going much much slower than you normally would move, you need to reduce the weight significantly. I typically have athletes use the same weight for 5 reps of 4-2-1 as they would for 10-12 ‘normal’ reps.
I’ll be honest: eccentric training sucks! It really does. You’re using less weight, the burn is crazy, and it’s hard mentally to push through. If you’re able to complete the training though, you’ll find that your ability to control your body is much better than before, and in addition it’ll help you build muscle.
If you’re familiar with the Indiana Jones series, in the Last Crusade, Indi is forced with the decision of choosing the cup that a king would drink out of. The selection of the right cup, means that he’ll have eternal life. Fortunately for Indi, he’s chooses ‘wisely.’
Basketball isn’t a matter of life or death, but if you’re on here, chances are it’s very important to you.
I got an email the other day from an avid reader, Will Shaw. Will asked me a great question: “I doesn’t have a lot of access to court time, so if I only had 1 hour each day to work on basketball skills, what should I do?”
I’m a big fan of making choices based on rate of return. In other words, what’s the least amount of work you can do to get the most amount of return. Some of you reading this may think that I’m being lazy and teaching athletes that they shouldn’t work hard or train hard, but the truth is, if you want to successful in basketball and life, you need to learn this important lesson.
Before we move forward with anything else, understand this – I’m not going to hold your hand and tell you exactly what to do. It’s not because I’m trying to be the bad guy, instead it’s because there are way too many possibilities of what you may or may not need to do during your hour of training. Here’s a short but brief list of some of the things that I typically see players working on:
1) Practice completely useless shots that will do nothing but make you only slightly better at awful shots. One of the most ridiculous things I see players do a regular is practice stupid shots. I see kids throwing the ball from half court; trying to make shots over the backboard; bouncing the ball off the wall; throwing up behind the back passes; shots on the knees; the list goes on and on. So before you do anything else, avoid doing this.
2) Walk around the court like you’re on the set of the new 2 Chainz video. Hey look, I’m all for having swag on the court. I find myself telling kids that often times the only difference between them being a good player and a great player, is the way they carry themselves and how much they truly believe in themselves (aka SWAG). Before you think I’m a swag-hater, understand that I’m all for confidence, but also for effort. If you’re out there on the court, do something productive. Don’t walk – run. Don’t practice useless moves – do game stuff. Don’t practice – train. And for those 2 Chainz lovers, here’s a music video I thought you’d enjoy…
3) Shoot and Text intervals. Cell phones are addicting. There’s not much that gets people jazzed up like checking emails and sending off t-bombs. If you can’t give up an hour of your day and leave your cell phone all by it’s lonesome self, shutoff, and on the sideline, then you don’t deserve to be a great basketball player. Your friends will understand if you need to practice (at least if you want to continue being ‘the man,’ or ‘the wo-man.’
You should have some fun, I’m all for having fun playing the game of basketball. If you want want to be around for a long time playing the game of basketball, you need to be successful – this means you’ve got to train (not just show up) the majority of the time.
Instead of that normal/boring list that I put above, do the following and you’ll be BOSS status before you know it.
1) Spend 15 minutes working ball handling and finishing. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing tennis ball drills, two ball drills, stationary work, whatever tickles your fancy – just make sure you do it for 15 minutes at the start of your workout. I love progressions in ball handling (as I’m sure you’re aware of), so feel free to follow some of the ball handling progressions I have on the site.
The other thing that most players should do while they work their handles is work on their finishing moves and techniques. If you ever want to see your pretty face on ESPN Top 10, you better be prepared to finish the ball around the like Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, or any other leading guard.
2) Form Work Helps a Lot. Everyone needs to be able to shoot. Whether you’re a shooter, a slasher, a scorer, I don’t care, you need to be able to shoot. The better your form, the better your chance of making it you have. That’s not to say that if your shooting form got beat by the ugly stick that you will be awful, but more that if your form is good, you’re more likely to stroke it! Plus, everyone needs to be able to hit open jump shots and free throws – just ask Rondo! So how much time should you alot? About 15 minutes. I would work a variety of this from traditional form shooting up to catch and shoot based shots.
3) Work Game-based Situations. Spend 1/4 of your hour long workout practicing very specific situations that you’ll face on the regular. Pick and rolls, 3 pointers, floaters, anything that your little heart desires as long as you do it in games. And don’t be afraid to make it challenging. Rememeber, as the famous athlete Patches O’Houlihan once said, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Challenge yourself to make tough plays in your training and the game will seem easy because you’ll be prepared.
4) Conditioning should last at least 15 minutes. That means for 15 minutes you should be busting your backside with the goal of improving your conditioning. The good news is that this portion of your training should be overlap from everything else that you’re working on as well. Ball handling, shooting, game-like situation work, should all be part of your drills that are conditioning based. *If this were the off-season I would prescribe a separate ‘conditioning’ program, but not if you’re short on time.
Now you no longer have any excuse as to why you can’t maximize your potential in just an hour a day.
I’m a lot more like you than you probably think.
When I first tried to get into weight training it was a complete disaster. Somewhere during my middle school years (6th-8th grade) my dad decided that I should probably start working out. While it was a great idea, and something that I should probably be giving my dad props for, instead I hated him for it. We bought this god-awful multi-station home gym – you know the type that have 1531 different attachments and exercises designed to get your body ripped and strong…
Well, it didn’t work.
No offense to the creators of the Jackedathlete3000, but it didn’t deliver. I couldn’t even enjoy it enough to do it more than probably a handful of times (that’s including the number of times I sat on it to watch TV). These days when a proud parent comes up to me and asks if one of these things will help their child reach the elite level, I politely reply, “No. Don’t waste your money buying these piece of metal. Instead spend the money on a barbell and some plates and learn how to lift.” The $200 you spend on a 300lb barbell set (or less if you can find used stuff on craigslist) will help you a lot more.
Fast forward into late high school and by the end of my junior year I finally got my first introduction to real weight training. Somewhere around March or April I got a gym membership and started pumping some iron (insert Arnold Schwarzenegger accent). I trained hard for about 6 months and then completely stopped right before basketball season started – big mistake. I promised myself I would lift through basketball, but the gym closed down, and I was too lazy to get a membership somewhere else. Consequently, I lost about 7lbs of muscle, felt weak, and lost much of my explosiveness. The following March after my senior season ended, I started lifting again – at almost the same point I was one year before.
At this point in life, I still didn’t enjoy training. The results – bigger muscles, increased strength/explosiveness, and improved confidence is awesome, and I enjoy those a lot! But, actually doing the exercise…booooo. It sucked. And to be honest, to this day, there are a lot of days that I don’t want to workout still.
If this sounds like you, listen-up, ya heard?! There’s hope, and I’ve found what I believe to be the best solution for us: working-out-sucks-I-would-rather-be-doing-something-else athlete. The two day a week solution.
By training just 2 days a week, consistently, you can make a TON of progress. I’ve seen athletes set PR’s in the weight room and improve performance by training no more than 45 minutes twice a week. No bull$h*t. It works, and it works well.
If you’re already in-season start with the following workout done 2 times a week (if you can always space the days out so that you have an extra day of recovery before a game day – however, if you don’t have that luxury, the workout won’t negatively impact your game. I repeat – WORKING OUT THE DAY BEFORE A GAME WILL NOT NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR GAME.)
A. Goblet Squats 3 x 5
B. Bench Press 3 x 3 (ramp weight – start light and increase each set until you get to a hard set of 3 for last set)
C. SLRDL (single leg romanian deadlifts) – 3 x 8e (use DB’s, BB, or KB for weight)
D. Single Arm DB Row 3 x 8e
Typically I would throw in a core movement or a mobility movement in between each movement. With goblet squats, I may have you do some extra ankle mobility. I would throw in some landmines with my benching. Maybe do some prone planks or other anterior core during my SLRDL’s. With the dumbbell rows I would probably sprinkle in something extra that my team (or myself) needed. *Side note, I definitely wouldn’t do extra curls, as my arms are already ‘just-too-swole’ to add anymore size too. I have a feeling that my shirt sleeves would be angry if I did.
For the second day you lift, you could either repeat the same lifts as you did on day 1 (I advise this for athletes without any or very minimal weight lifting experience). Feel free to replace your squatting with back squats or front squats if you would like as well.
A. Trapbar Deadlift or DB Deadlift 3 x 5
B. Push-up variation 3 x 8-20 (reps determined by variation of push-up)
C. Pull-Ups or chin-ups 3 x AMAP (add weight if you can do more than 8-10)
D. Lateral Squats 3 x 8e
I would throw in some hip flexor or posterior hip stretching with my deadlifts. Superset your push-ups with some inverted rows or a seated row exercise. Since most basketball players need lots of ankle mobility, I would hit up the ankle mobility again during the rest time of your pull-ups. Add in some extra core work during your lateral squats.
Now, maybe you’re still skeptical that lifting in-season can actually help you make progress? Have no fear. The NSCA’s Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research just published a study that showed that adolescent basketball players were able to improve their explosiveness. The summary (abstract) reads as follows: “Coaches should know that such a short resistance training program specifically designed for young basketball players induce increased explosivity levels, which are essential to a better basketball performance, with no extra overload on adolescents’ skeletal muscle development.” (Santos EJ, and Janeira, MA).
Cut the BS and start training. No more complaining about lifting hurting your shot (boo-hoo), not having time, or waiting until the off-season.
Santos EJ, and Janeira, MA. The Effects of Resistance Training on Explosive Strength Indicators in Adolescent Basketball Players. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2012, 26, Oct. P 2641-2647.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Damin Altizer, of http://daminaltizerbasketball.com/. In this interview he drops knowledge bombs on us about:
- What the deciding factor was in him going from a d-3 caliber player to a d-1 caliber player (and what you can do to help you get there)…
- Why innovative drills with medicine balls and tennis balls are better for you than just training with a basketball…
- How Coach K influenced him into changing his mindset and outlook on basketball – and how you can do the same…
- What you really have to do to have a chance at playing d-1 basketball (and it’s not what you think)…
Remember, Damin is an in the trenches skills trainer (unlike some of the phony internet trainers). He’s actually training athletes hands-on and working with some of the best players in the country and around the world. This guy’s legit!
Listen to the interview here: Damin Altizer on 2012-11-16 at 11.17
You find Damin at his website (where he also has some GREAT free training package) http://daminaltizerbasketball.com. In addition, Damin has tons of great content on his YouTube channel, http://youtube.com/altizerbasketball , Twitter - https://twitter.com/DaminAltizer, and Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Damin-Altizer-Basketball-LLC/148428661840039
“Find me a cardboard box. I’ll just jump over that.”
I was out in my driveway, setting up my first plyometric training program with my dad. While a slightly sloped driveway isn’t the ideal situation for training your vertical, I, just like everyone who wears their first pair of Jordan’s dreams – wanted to dunk.
Earlier that day I had fired up the old computer, complete with dial-up internet connection (for those that don’t know what dial-up is, be thankful, and just understand it was like watching The Sound of Music – slow, boring, and sounds that would make you cringe) to find a plyo program. Unlike these days on the world wide web, there weren’t lots of legit trainers who posted information for free or next to nothing. Instead we had to rely on trying to find a single program that perhaps could give us some idea of what we were trying to do (kind of like those awful questions on aptitude tests in school – you never really know what they’re asking).
While I assumed that this program was legit, (I mean c’mon, it was on the internet, everything on the internet has got to be true – it’s on the internet after all) I still wanted to make sure that I made the progress that I needed to make in order to throw down! I figured that if some training is good, more has got to be better – right? So rather than simply do the plyo program as it was written, I decided to borrow a friend of mine’s Jump Soles (R).
*As a little background on me at this point in my basketball career: I was 15 years old, going into my sophomore year in high school. I was a thin, ok – skinny (about 125lbs), and about 5’5/5’6”. I had been able to touch the bottom side of the bracket (about 6 inches below the rim) and was naturally very fast twitch dominant (meaning I am more explosive but not as great as distance or endurance training). Up to this point I had never done any real formal training for improving my athletic ability – other than simply being active.
For those that don’t know, strength shoes are specila shoes that are deisgned to overload the calf complex by stretching the achilles tendon and calf complex. The concept of the shoe is that is forces the calves to support 100% of the body weight or impact (upon landing on the ground).
While most of the statements made on the site are mostly true, it’s important to understand that research (and my experience) shows that training with a proper training program will get the same results as training with the same program using Strength Shoes (1,2,3,4). In other words, there is no statistical difference in jump heigth or improvement in performance when comparing those using Strength Shoes versus those using regular shoes.
So, back to the lecture at hand (cue the Dr. Dre and Snoop music), I bet you’re wondering what happened to my vertical when I started using jump soles?
Great question. My vertical improved significantly. Despite using a junk training program that was completely random and came for FREE offline, I was able to improve my vertical up to the point that it got as high as 36” during the start of my sophomore year. I was able to dunk a small (mini) basketball running off of 1-leg despite being only 5’6”. I couldn’t palm a basketball due to my small hands (don’t laugh), so I’m not really sure if I had enough height to throw down a regular men’s ball.
Unfortunately about 2 months into my sophomore year, right at the tail end of soccer season, two torn meniscus’ forced me into surgery (I’d been playing on them torn for nearly 3 years at that point) and my vertical wasn’t the same again until my senior year. While it’d be boss to tell you that I crossed up a defender, broke his ankles, took it to the rack and elevated up over a 6’8” guy and threw down an and-1…in the state championship – it didn’t happen like that. Instead I was forced to miss more than half of that basketball season to an injury and wasn’t actually in game shape until we lost a preliminary playoff game in February.
I am not sure what my vertical jump started out at when I started this training program. I can guess it was in the 28-30” range. My training program (from what I can remember), consisted of plyo’s 3 days a week with a day of rest in between. The training took me about 30-40 minutes and consisted of 4 or 5 different exercises: Jumps over Box (cardboard box – all directions) x 4 reps each way; standing squat jumps (with counter-movement) x 6 reps; jump shot jumps (practice footwork into a jump shot w/o ball x 4 reps each way; tuck jumps x 8 reps; and running 1 footed rim jumps (just like trying to touch rim) x 4 each way. Each exercise was repeated for 3-4 sets and I rested as much time as I needed to be fully recovered and achieve maximum height (typically 1-2 minutes).
You’d think that after all of that success I’d be raving about the strength shoes. I mean, I improved my vertical somewhere between 6 and 8 inches; was able to dunk a small basketball; and figured I’d be bangin’ on fools by my Junior year at the latest.
Plyo programs work, but, they should be reserved for periods of 6-12 week blocks 1-2 times per year after having completed a solid strength program during the rest of the time. Remember that plyo programs are designed to take advantage of the “strength” that your body already has and turn that into “power.” If you never improve your strength, the plyo’s won’t do anything for your power (coincidentally, this is why most jumping programs don’t work as well for people on their second and third times trying them). My experience shows that regardless of what shoe you wear, a solid plyo program will improve your vertical. Rather than spend $100+ dollars on shoes to help you jump, spend that money on a training program that is legit. My UGTS has plyo’s built right into the training program (along with strength), which is why my athletes routinely see increases in their vertical year-round and for their entire career. If you want to use a jumping program for an intensification period in the off-season, I recommend the Jump Manual- it’s specifically designed to help athletes jump higher – with non of the BS that a lot of programs have. A jump-specific program should be reserved for no more than about 12-weeks total during an entire 52-week year (either one 12-week period or two 6 week periods). Sometimes athletes can do more, but I recommend starting with no more than 12-weeks.
While the Jump Soles that I borrowed didn’t cost me any money, they were essential useless in terms of helping me improve my vertical. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that I could have achieved at least the same amount of improvement in just my regular shoes. As a matter of fact, at least one study, by Ramsey, showed that athletes showed a significant improvement in their vertical when they did NOT use Jump Shoes (5). How’s that for a knowledge bomb?!
1. Porcari et al. Effects of Training in Strength Shoes on 40 Yard Dash Time, Jumping Ability, and Calf Girth. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 1996, Vol. 10, Issue 2.
2. Nicopoulou et al. The Evaluation of the Influence of Strength Shoe as an Effective Supplement to a twelve week Training Program on the Vertical Jump Improvement of Male and Female Greek Basketball Players. Coaching & Sport Science Journal; 1998: Vol. 3, issue 2. P 7-12.
3.Cody, S.M. The Effects of The Strength Shoe on Vertical Jump Performance in Male Collegiate Basketball Players. Microform Publications, University of Oregon. 1992.
4. Waggener, W.R., Gehlsen, G.M., and Massey, J.C. The Effects of a Plyometric Training Shoe on Vertical Jump Height, Speed, and Power. International Journal of Volleyball Research. 1999: Vol. 1, Issue 1. P 1-6.
5. Ramsey, J.K. Influence of the Strength Shoe and Three Plyometric Drills on the Strength, Velocity, and Jumping Ability of High School Football Players. Microform Publications, University of Oregon. 1993.
What’d you grab during your Black Friday shopping?
If you’re like most people, you ate your Thanksgiving dinner (in the US), and then took a quick afternoon nap. After your nap you packed up your ride and hit the trails looking for the best of the best deals. So, what’d you grab?
A Plasma TV?
Some sweet kicks?
While having those things are great (I love gadgets as much as anyone), I’m always amazed at the amount of money that people spend on ‘things,’ that won’t make make dramatic improvements in their daily life. Sure, new kicks may help you look the part of being a true baller, but I promise you that they won’t put the ball in the hoop or help you throw down. I mean, you don’t see highlights on YouTube of people wearing cool shoes during games do you? Instead you see this,
Trust me, I’m not tryin to hate.
I’m trying to keep you in check and make sure you that realize you only get one chance at this basketball gig. You can’t revive it when you’re 40 and expect to make a run at the NBA and be an All-Star. Doesn’t work like that.
Instead of buying the 50” plasma, opt for the 42” and spend the extra $100 on something that will improve your game: DVD’s, online training, camps, etc. You’ll find that spending just a small amount of money per month (even just $10-$20) can dramatically change your game.
Here is a sample program that you can do for nothing – I mean $0. No cost what-so-ever.
As a matter of fact, skip the fancy shoes, save the plasma for watching highlights of yourself after you start training, and wait on the iPad to edit your dunk highlights.
A. Front Squat/Back Squat/Goblet Squats – 5 x 5 – Utilize whatever movement you are comfortable with and can do based on your equipment. If you have none of the above, go with a sandbag or something you can hold at your chest in a zercher position. Make sure to focus on exploding and accelerating out of the bottom position no matter how heavy the weight is.
A. Box Jumps – 5 x 5 – If you don’t have a set of plyo boxes at home you can use a stairwell (with closed stairs, as falling between steps can do some major damage on your shins). If you don’t have either, you can do squat jumps instead. It’s important to maximize the height of your jump by resetting between each jump and giving an all out effort.
*As a side note, it’s important to complete the box jumps immediately after your squats. This is called post-activation potentiation. Basically it’s a fancy term to say that the body will create more force on the box jumps by doing the heavy squats before hand. You should also make sure that you rest enough between sets; allow 3 minutes or so before going back to repeat your second set of squats and jumps.
B. Bench Press or Weighted Push-Ups – 3 x 5 – If you have access to a bench press, feel free to use it. Because of the set-up of the bench it allows for easily overloading the pushing pattern – it’s much easier to add extra resistance to a bench press than to a push-up. If you don’t have a bench press you can use bands, plates, or chains to add resistance to your push-ups. If you can’t do 5 legit push-ups (gym class push-ups don’t count), start adding push-up iso’s to your daily routine (lower 1/3 of the way down in a regular push-up, hold for 3 sec, then lower 2/3 way down, hold for 3 sec, then lower to the bottom of a push-up and hold for 3 more seconds – that’s 1 rep – repeat for 3 reps).
B. Clap Push-ups or push-ups with a shoulder tap – 3 x 5 – If you can do clap push-ups, congrats, keep doing them. If you can’t, feel free to do push-ups with a shoulder tap (explosively push-up and then reach your opposite arm to opposite shoulder – make sure to alternate between reps). If you can’t do a solid push-up, elevate yourself and make it easier on yourself so that you can do them correctly.
C. RDL or DB RDL – 3 x 8 – Use a barbell, 2 DB’s, or 1 DB. All that matters is that you overload the hamstrings (the back of your upper leg) and glutes (butt). Minimal soreness in your low back is ok. If you’re waking up and can’t touch your toes because your back is tight, you’re doing something wrong. Keep in mind that you need to push your hips back (feel the stretch in the hammy’s) and then squeeze your glutes to get your hips through.
C. Long Jump to rim jump – 3 x 5 – It’s important to make sure that you jump up and out on the long jump so that you can land with your feet underneath you. This is important to make sure that you can use that energy from the long jump to help you go into your vertical jump/rim jump. If done correctly, you should notice that you can jump higher by using the long jump first, instead of just a regular vertical jump. It’s also more game like. Picture yourself driving down the lane and jump stopping before exploding up the rim (ala Derrick Rose) – long jump to rim jump.
*Just as with the Box jumps, it’s important to fully recover between sets to allow yourself to be 100% on each jump. If you’re tired you’ll be doing P90X not training for basketball. There’s a reason that no NBA teams are using P90X – if it worked wonders don’t you think they’d be using it?
Repeat this training 3-4x/week and you should start to notice a difference in muscle tone, vertical jump, and strength on the court.
There are two types of athletes: the ones who will over-train and do too much training (both on the court and in the weight room), and the ones that don’t want to put in the work to get better and just wish for success. Weak sauce.
If you’re the second type, unfortunately I can’t really help you and this article won’t address any of the ways for you to commit yourself to becoming better on a daily basis. Instead go grab a copy of the NBA 2k for PS3 or Xbox and tell me how your self-created player has improved his or her game since last season (blah blah blah). However, for those of you who are serious about playing college basketball (in the flesh and not in video games) this may be the most important article you’ve ever read.
If you plan on playing basketball for as long as you can, wheher it be high school, college, or professional, you better be prepared to work. For however logn you continue to play, you’ll be expected to work on your game both on teh court and in the weightroom almost year-round. With the amount of time and effort that it takes to continue to improve it can take a real toll on the body. 2+ hour long practices followed by skill work and shooting can wreak havoc on your legs. Throw in some plyo’s and jump training and add in some work in the weight room and all of sudden you have a recipe for disaster.
Despite all of the demands of the sport of basketball, you can easily improve your game year-round by training properly both on and off of the court. After helping countless ahtletes (including myself) navigate in-season training I’ve come up with the following rules to keep you both healthy, happy, and ready to play at almost any point in your basketball career.
1. Take at least 1 day off per week. I don’t care what people tell you about taking a day off. It’s good for the body and mind. I’m not saying be lazy, but allow yourself some time to recover if you’re working hard for the rest of the week. This doesn’t mean you can’t go play pick-up basketball, or a beach volleyball game, but don’t do anything planned or structured. I like to tell my athletes to go do something ‘fun’ that they enjoy other than their normal sport(s). Plus, perhaps this extra day will allow you to go the beach and show off your new body. Sun’s out, guns out!
2. Train with weights 2 times per week in season. You’ll find the time, trust me. If you really want to be great, reach down, grab you know what, and find time. It doesn’t have to be long. A 10-20 minute workout of some simple lifts like goblet split squats, pull-ups, push-ups, and KB swings can be done after practice with minimal equipment or effort. If you can find (I really mean make) time, allow your workouts in-season to go about an hour or so. This will allow you to get everything you need to get done including strength work, flexibility work, core, mobility, explosiveness, etc. If you want to be better than anyone you know, start right here and do this, at the end of the season you’ll look, feel, and perform better than you did at the start of the season.
3. Train with weights 3-4 times per week in the off-season. While there is no real off-season anymore for competitive basketball players – which is part of the reason why I say lifting twice a week in-season is so important, during your most down periods of competition you need to be seriously training 3-4 times a week. What you do and how you split it up depends on a lot of factors. In my UGTS I give advice on how you can perform the program depending on the amount of time you have. In general, you want to go with either an upper body/lower body split (1 day of each – rotate the days); or a total body lift each day. You should make more progress in this period of time than any other.
4. Do no more than 1-2 hours of extra skill work on-court. Sometimes when you struggle on the court your goal is to put in tons of extra time and crank up another 300-400 shots per day, work on ball handling, or whatever it may be. I know, we’ve all heard of the stories about Ray Allen getting there early and going through his shooting routine. The difference between you and Ray (amongst other things) is that he is in the NBA. Basketball is his job. He doesn’t have school, class, girlfriends or boyfriends (at least that I know of), and gets paid very nicely to play basketball. He’s also got people to rebound, do massage therapy, stretch him, cook for him, and whole host of other support that most of us (myself included) just don’t have. Therefore he can do things that most of us can’t, including shoot 2 hours a day, lift, play games, and make millions of dollars. Instead of dwelling on it, focus on putting in no more than 1-2 hours while you’re in-season and bump up the time and intensity in your off-season or down time.
5. Limit extra skill work to no more than 30 minute sessions. This goes along with the above. In-season I think players should get off the court sooner than they think they should. I’ve been there, I get it. It feels productive to get up extra shots, but to be honest it doesn’t seem to help that much (at least not a lot in my experience). Understand that I’m not talking about avoiding extra work, just keeping it short and sweet. After a long practice the last thing you should do is kill yourself (mentally and physically) by spending another hour or two on the court. Instead spread it out over the week in short 15-30 minute sessions. Put in some quality work with a coach or teammate and then get off the court and recover. This will make you focus on getting something productive done since you only have a short time and it will keep you from throwing up 25 half court shots or seeing who can make the most ridiculous shot. You don’t get bonus points for making tough shots in games.
There you have it. 5 ways to balance your in-season training.