Yesterday Hoops 360 attended Alan Stein's cutting edge clinic in Atlanta. Stein has built a name for himself as a basketball specific strength and conditioning coach and is a popular clinic speaker around the country. For more on Alan Stein check out his bio here: http://strongerteam.com/Global/Team/Alan/Default.aspx
Here are my 5 Big Takeaways:
1. Coach Stein’s philosophy - Coach Stein bases his training off the fact that a basketball player’s strength and conditioning is the foundation of their entire game. I totally agree with him on the fact that “the best players are in the best shape”, and that every movement on the basketball court from shooting to dribbling to defense is enhanced when a player has trained to become stronger, better conditioned, more explosive, and can read, react, and change directions with great balance and proper body positioning. While strength and conditioning is a vital component to becoming a dominant basketball player if you are not constantly working to improve your ball handling, passing, shooting, rebounding and defense then you are probably still not going to be a very successful basketball player. You need a combination and balance of both.
2. Warm-up and injury prevention - Your warm-up sets the tone for your trainings session, practice, or game. You should work to raise your core temperature, and prepare the body for the demands of the activity ahead. Six movements of basketball athleticism Stein focuses on during his warm-up routine: Sprinting, Backpedaling, Side Shuffling, Pivoting, Jumping/Landing, and Lunging.
3. Injury prevention – If you read my blog on ankle strengthening for basketball players you know that the ankle is the most common injured body part for basketball players. Stein’s clinic addressed the ankle as he had the athletes take off their shoes and perform single leg balance, single leg squatting, and single leg jumping exercises to enhance a players balance, strength, and mobility. A lot of the exercises he uses also help prevent ACL tears by strengthening the hips and posterior chain. Mobility is a big part of staying injury free and also being able to perform at an optimal level. Coach Stein shared some of his favorite mobility and stretching exercises to increase range of motion with various stretches from the plank and lunging positions. Stein also took the players through a jumping series to focus on proper landing technique to help prevent injuries and increase body awareness when landing. The series consisted of rotational jumps of 90, 180, and 360 degrees with focus on landing soft with the hips, knees, and ankles flexed in a balanced athletic stance.
4. Agility - Quickness/Reaction/Change of Direction – The demands of the game of basketball requires players to accelerate and decelerate quickly, react, and change directions with proper balance and body positioning during high intensity movements. Coach Stein took the players through two series of reactionary agility drills to help players enhance these components of their game.
- Circle Series – The athletes competed against each other around the half court circle. The drills consisted of accelerating, decelerating, sliding, and jumping while moving in clockwise and counterclockwise circular patterns. The drills were then turned into tag and chase type drills to increase the intensity and mimic game like reactions.
- Tennis Ball Series - He worked with the players on reaction and exploding out of an athletic stance, defensive stance, and split stance while stressing six important areas of focus: Balance, Vision, Reaction, Acceleration, Hand-Eye Coordination, & Deceleration.
5. Final Thoughts – Quotes & thoughts from Stein that can be applied to training and other walks of life
- “To become better you have to get out of your comfort zone and resist the temptation to make things easier.”
- “Always do more than you are supposed to do and don’t wait for someone to tell you to do something you know you are supposed to do.” “Average people do the minimum.”
- “Always play present. Players should only focus on the present play because that’s the only one they can control.”
- “Build your game brick by brick. You have to work hard and get a little bit better every day which will lead to big improvements if done on a consistent basis.”
Coach Stein’s clinic was high energy, motivational, educational, and a challenge for all the athletes that participated. He is a true professional and he takes pride in his craft in the way he presents his training philosophy and teaches the proper techniques of enhancing basketball athleticism.