Thanks to my good friend Henry Barrera, I was given an opportunity to visit the Portland Trailblazers practice facility where we were shown their strength program and also observed a practice. I have always been curious as to what goes on at the highest level of the game.
Obviously, they have the nicest equipment for strength training. But they do keep things simple as far as programming despite their hectic schedule. What I saw on the court was nothing out of the ordinary: 5-0, 3-on-3 breakdown drills, 5-5 controlled half-court scrimmage, and, of course, getting shots up.
The biggest difference I noticed was that each player was involved for every drill, regardless if they were on the court or sitting out. They were there to get better at practice, not to get through a practice. This was demonstrated by their commitment to talking.
Talking and communicating is, perhaps, the hardest skill to teach young players. Not simply talking to make noise, but talking to make sure that your teammates know what you are doing and what you expect them to do. The Blazers’ players did not just talk when they were on the court, but also when they were on the side waiting to enter the drill.
Your team can reach a higher level if all players are committed to communicating with one another. Talk on the court to keep each other on the same page, and talk on the sidelines to keep yourself mentally ready to play.
— Henry Barrera, CSCS (@hoopdiaries) November 21, 2014