School is starting. Do I focus my team’s time with a Body Enhancement Trainer or Skill Trainer?

    Part 1 of 2……………

    Today I was approached by a colleague that poised what I thought was a very important question. He said, “It is late August, basketball doesn’t start until November, but should I spend more time developing their bodies, or spend more time building their skills?” I thought that was a wonderful question and would be the motivation for my first blog entry.

    The answer to the question is based around the word Periodization. The definition of Periodization is the process of structuring training into phases or systematic planning of athletic or physical training. In order for athletes to develop, they need to plan their training in advanced in a meaningful, and manageable way. Therefore, the answer to my colleague’s question is you need to do both aspects, having both body and skill camps working together from a well thought out periodization plan.

    I am going to break this blog into two parts. Part 1 will include periodization and how different disciplines of training need to work together. Part 2 will be going into more detail about the areas that should be focused on during the pre-season.

    Now you mostly hear the word Periodization coming from Body Enhancement Specialists, however, Periodization also is vital when dealing with basketball court skill training as well.

    Before we talk about periodization, lets first dig into the roles of both the basketball skill trainer and the body enhancement specialists. It is common and easy for parents, players and actual trainers to over think both of their roles. The goal of a skill trainer is to better their client’s skills so you can put the ball into the basket at a higher rate. The goal of a Sports Enhancement Specialists is to keep the client healthy for their upcoming season while also improving their speed, agility, strength, and quickness. In a perfect situation, your body enhancement specialists and basketball skills trainer will be on the same page. Designing their respective programs for the good of the athlete, depending on the time of year, as well as the outcome needed at that period of time. Unfortunately, in a lot of situations you get both respective trainers trying to outdo one another’s importance, or monopolizing the little time each trainer has with the client. University of CAL Berkeley Strength and Conditioning coach made a very simple statement at one of my Skill Training U events this past year. He said, “My job is to make sure my players are healthy for practice and games for Coach Montgomery. It is that simple.”

    In no way am I trying to put forth that one discipline is more important than the other. In my Green Room Training Program (GRT), I spearhead both the court training and body enhancement training because of a lack of synergy I had with my area trainers. Regardless of your situation, you need to make sure that players are not overtraining just because a rival player/coach claims on twitter that they are working out 3x a day, 4 hours a day! First of all they are lying, and second overtraining leads to major problems such as stress fractures, fatigue, burnout and decrease in performance results. It is all about training smarter than your competition.

    Let’s look at another common example. Let’s say a player has a heavy lower body workout with his body conditioning trainer on Mondays and Thursdays that includes a lot of jumping, resistance overload, and impact. A skill development trainer NEEDS to ask them for their periodization workout schedule so that he/she can make sure that on those heavy legs days, a workout is cut short and includes mostly shooting. It doesn’t mean you cannot go hard, but you are taking into account what the body has gone through (or will) that same day. Just this week, a promising player from my area of Northern California broke his leg for a second time, dunking while in warm ups. I would hate to speculate the reasons on why that occurred, however, was his body fully prepared for the wear and tear coming back from his first injury? Are you doing everything you can do in order to make sure your son/daughter, or players are spending time strengthening their body, as much as polishing their game situation skills?

    As a skills trainer, I also want to make sure I warm them up properly, foam roll, and stretch the legs out before shooting to decrease lactic acid build up from previous leg workouts. In this situation both trainers are working to one common goal, which is the best for increasing results for their client.

    In Summary, coaches need to incorporate as much training as possible into their pre-season workouts without eliminating one from the other. If this means they have to cut down on “open gym” to once a week, then that is what it will take (a whole other blog). By managing the athlete’s time, while exposing them to as many training adaptations as possible, will lead to increases in performance and hopefully wins for your team. In our second blog, I’ll take a more in depth look into periodization of both skill development and body conditioning for the pre-season.