How the Pros Stay On Top
Kobe Bryant (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
While my expertise is in basketball strength and conditioning and improving vertical jump, I have been fortunate enough to have been heavily involved in the game for most of my life and have learned the characteristics necessary for success--not just in the weight room, but on the court where it matters most.
I have been able to get a behind-closed-doors look at many of the games greatest players and coaches. Here is what I have learned...
If you want to be a great player, you have to put in the time. Repetition is not punishment; it is how you get better. In order to maximize your ability as a basketball player, you need to spend countless hours working on your body and working on your game; putting up hundreds of game-speed shots, whizzing through countless ball handling drills, and lifting weights and running sprints until you feel nauseous. This needs to be done on a daily basis for maximum improvement.
Here are a couple of quick stories I heard first hand to show you what I am talking about:
-- Linas Kleiza, a former Montrose Christian All American now playing for the NBA's Denver Nuggets, never rides the team bus to games whether at home or on the road. He either takes a taxi or drives with an assistant coach to arrive at the arena one or two hours before ANY other player gets there.
Why? So he can have the court to himself to put up a few hundred jumpers. He doesn't want to be distracted and has a very solid pre-game shooting ritual. And it's paying off: Linas dropped a career-high 41 points on the Utah Jazz in his third NBA season.
-- Kevin Durant, former Montrose Christian All American, the top player in college basketball in 2007 and an up-and-coming NBA talent, has told me several stories about how he has been able to be successful at every level.
My favorite? The night before he was going to accept the John Wooden Award in Los Angeles for being the nation's top collegiate basketball player (the only freshman to ever win it), he called one of his assistant coaches at the University of Texas at midnight and asked him to rebound while KD got up a few hundred shots at the hotel gym.
KD was having trouble sleeping and figured he might as well work on his game instead of laying there staring at the ceiling.
-- Kobe Bryant, arguably the NBA's best player, makes 1,000 shots a day, six days a week in the offseason. That's right, makes 1,000 (not shoots 1,000). That doesn't include his weight training, conditioning, ball handling, etc.
If this is what the guys do who are already great players, what do you think you should be doing?