I had the opportunity to attend my second Stronger Team Huddle a couple weeks ago. Even though I went to the one in the fall, it’s always valuable to sit in on a group of experienced trainers and take in any nuggets of information I can. The Stronger Team Huddle was led by Alan Stein and Henry Barrera on the Nike World Headquarters campus. Here are three main ideas I took away from the experience.
Redefine what “basketball athleticism” is
They showed a picture of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard side by side and asked the group who was the better athlete. It was unanimous that Howard was by far the dominant athlete in the minds of the attendees. However, the Stronger Team discussed that a case could be made for Nash if we redefine what “basketball athleticism” is measured by. The obvious characteristics are speed, quickness, and vertical leap. But in addition, important tools of being an athlete in the sport of basketball include coordination, balance, and reaction time.
Match the game in training - - energy and movement
Two important aspects of training they identified were matching energy requirements and movement patterns. Basketball is a game of quick bursts followed by short rest. Thus, effective training should match that. Jogging 3 miles does not simulate the way basketball is played because the game does not require you to go half speed for a long period of time. In regards to movement, using the Functional Movement Screen is beneficial for finding your map to athletic mobility. However, strengthening specific movements can help you with your agility on the court. The Stronger Team mentioned that lunging is one of the most important movements in basketball because of the amount of times that pattern is mimicked.
Teach the athlete before you train the athlete
Everybody wants their athletes to get stronger and faster, but it’s important to teach them how to move properly first. Focus on form and execution before you encourage strength gains. The number one priority in any training program is safety. Correct form on exercises sets the basis for a safe program and allows for the program to develop your athletes the right way.