Articles & Resources

Treating Anterior Knee Pain In The Basketball Athlete: Part II by Art Horne

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:49:00 AM

Click HERE to download this article.

Topics: Art Horne, Health & Wellness

Treating Anterior Knee Pain In The Basketball Athlete by Art Horne

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:47:00 AM

Click HERE to download this article.

Topics: Art Horne, Health & Wellness

An Interview With Stu McGill

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:45:00 AM

Dr. Stuart McGill talks basketball backs, capacity and the importance of the hip hinge in his most recent interview.

Interview by Art Horne

Stu, in both your books and dvd’s you emphasize this concept of “capacity” and it’s importance, yet when discussing with sports medicine and strength colleagues this concept is still either misunderstood or not truly appreciated.  Can you discuss this concept briefly and also touch upon how a collegiate basketball athlete can protect their “capacity” during the course of a day while attending classes, etc during a normal school day so that they are either able to be productive during a therapeutic exercise program later in the day or able to train at a high level without getting hurt?

Answer: Athletes have a capacity for work. On one hand it is important for most players to dedicate the majority of the training capacity for basketball. This is well understood. But consider the player who has an injury history, and the injury must be managed. Lets use the example of a flexion intolerant back. The BB player sits on the bench then, when standing up, takes a while to gain full extension of the spine and hips because of stiffness, discomfort, or even pain. Sitting (spine flexion) stole some capacity. Now consider off-court activities such as computer work (and more sitting) or driving to practice (more sitting with spine flexion). This used some of the spine capacity to train so that they will break into pain sooner during the BB training session. I would have to say that most flexion intolerant BB players I have consulted with did the damage in the weight room. They did not have the discipline of perfect form during squats and cleans, and ended up damaging the spine discs with flexion motion. The load associated with the squat and clean on long body levers really exacerbates this situation. So the original injury mechanism was repeated flexion bending of the spine under load. Subsequently, they are limited in the number of bending cycles their spine can undergo – this is their capacity. It is compromised. Now consider the player who brushes their teeth or ties their shoes with spine flexion. They just used up some of the tolerable bending cycles performing a non-BB activity. Discipline of movement form off court allows more of the capacity to be available for BB training. This is a concept that can be extremely important in getting nagging injuries better, and in enhancing on-court performance. Coaching this goes beyond BB specific training! 

I often find most freshmen college athletes are not able to disassociate their backs and hips when arriving on campus to start a training program.  Can you discuss the importance of the “Hip Hinge” in the basketball athlete and how you would teach it to an incoming athlete or someone rehabilitating from injury?

Answer: Athleticism comes from having great athletic hips – jumping, running acceleration, and cutting are all enhanced. However, for the hips to fully express their athleticism, the spine or core must be stiffened. Consider the vertical jump off a single leg takeoff. Here the power comes from explosive contraction of the hip extensor. But the core must be stiffened at this instant to prevent an “energy leak”, and a loss of power that should have been projected into the floor.  So, the ability of the athlete to train hip motion with a stiffened core is paramount for enhancing on-court performance. This is also essential for off-court strength and speed training, where emphasis on hip power generation with a stiffened core enables a higher training load with more safety. Thus, the fundamental movement pattern we call the “hip hinge” is needed.
Here we start standing, the palms are rested on the front of the thighs. Stiffening the core to prevent spine motion the athlete begins the squat motion with the hands sliding down the front of the thighs, and the hips travel back. As the hands reach the knees, carry the upper body weight down the arms resting on the knees. Now the knees should be over the mid foot. If they are not, pull them back by moving the hips back.
Now when standing up, simply slide the hands up the thighs and pull the hips forward. But ensure the  knees remain over the mid foot. This ensures a perfect hip hinge. It enhances performance and safety!

In your video, The Ultimate Back: Enhancing Performance you discuss the importance of an Anchor Point or in Latin a “punctum fixum” – can you discuss exercises in which basketball athletes must be clearly proficient in prior to engaging in rotational medicine ball exercises?

Answer: This also goes back to the previous question. Explosive hip motion requires the core to be stiffened or locked. Try a lateral stepping drill with a soft core and the hips are slow. But then stiffen the core and the hips are able to snap and explode. This is because the core is now the “fixed point” for the hip muscles to pull from.
For me the rotational med ball exercise is a slightly different issue. I have been brought in as a consultant to Pro teams after the players started with back pain. A previous consultant had them throwing med balls sideways explosively, into a wall. They damaged their discs with repeated twisting. They did not understand that the discs will damage doing this. The only way to protect against this is to rotate about the hips and not the spine. The core muscles are designed to stop motion, not create twisting motion. The hip joints and muscles are designed to be the power generators.  So here, a fixed core prevented injury and allowed a higher tolerable training capacity. But it also increases athleticism too.
In general, what logical progression that you would follow when dealing with a freshmen basketball athlete based on the above? (example: front bridge then front bridge with 4-point lifts, to prone touches, etc).

Answer: This really depends on the athlete and as you know I can only decide this after I have performed an assessment to determine the balance between their various fitness attributes. I need to see if any movement flaws exist which need correction. Then work on hip mobility and power generation and stability in the core. Then move on to endurance, strength and full power and speed production. This process is detailed in my “Ultimate back fitness and performance” book.

You mention the importance of the latissimus dorsi as a stabilizer throughout the video, yet many strength coaches and basketball athletes train them primarily as a pulling muscle through chin-ups and not as the massive lumbar stabilizer that you make them to be. Can you expand on their importance in preserving the spine during strength training?

Answer: This is an interesting question and one of culture. In Russia you would not be even asking this question because emphasis on the lats is ingrained in their training culture. For example, when performing a bench press, “bending the bar” through the sticking point with latissumus dorsi is common in Russia yet I have to coach this in North America. The same can be stated when squatting with a bar across the shoulders. At the bottom of the squat the athlete focuses on hip abduction together with lat contraction. This stiffens the spine, adds back extensor torque, and facilitates the hip extensors. It results in a higher lift with less risk of injury. Again, this is not well practiced in North American training but is a staple in Russia. This is just one technique where performance is enhanced together with a reduced injury risk – a real win-win.

Obviously with basketball athletes there is a concern with long levers and subsequently tall spines, what exercises should strength coaches either avoid or be very strict when prescribing and coaching?

Answer: Again, I have to state that I could only answer this after assessing the athlete. But as a general approach I would probably avoid deep squatting a 7 foot tall center and focus on creating hip power off one leg over the short range to mimic a foot plant with a single leg takeoff. Again – this is short range hip extensor explosion with a stiffened core. That’s how the great ones take off from the top of the key and dunk a BB!

Thanks for your questions Art – keep up your great work. Remember I learn from you with your “on the court experience” as much as you learn from me with our mechanistic investigations.

For more information, or to order McGill’s dvd’s and books, visit

Topics: Art Horne, Health & Wellness

Seeing The World Through The Hole In A 45 Pound Plate

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:40:00 AM

By Art Horne 


It was first described to me during the summer of 2005 when I visited my good friend Mike Potenza, who was working at the time as the S&C coach at the University of Wisconsin for both the men's and women's ice hockey teams (by the way, both teams won national championships that year).  He introduced me to Steve Myrland, a former strength and conditioning coach at both the professional and collegiate level and a guy that I now describe to others as simply "the strength Zen master."  While having coffee one morning, Steve was describing to Mike and I the frustration he was having with a college strength coach who only "saw the world through the hole in a 45 pound plate," and the coach's inability to see and embrace the importance of movement, function and anatomy.  Now, all of us have taken a 45 pound plate from the rack, lifted it to squat bar height, peered through the tiny 2 inch hole and loaded it up onto the bar.  The view just prior to loading is exactly what Steve was talking to me about.  The world, (or weight room or even more simply your athlete's performance continuum) has a very limited offering if only viewed through this hole, compared to the massive area that the plate encompasses, which basically equates to the entire rest of his or her development.

Up until that point in my very young career, I considered myself a "strength" guy.  If it wasn't heavy, it wasn't training. If it didn't have chains hanging off of it, or if your training partner didn't have to pull the bar off your throat, then you simply weren't working hard enough.  About two minutes into our conversation I realized that I was one of the strength coaches that Steve was talking about.  I guess the hole in the plate which I was coaching through at the time never allowed me to see the epidural injections that some of our athletes were getting due to their back pain, or the multiple ACL injuries our female athletes were incurring on a yearly basis.  Steve challenged me to remove the dense piece of iron that obscured my vision and allowed me to evaluate and prescribe a training program that reflected the whole athlete (with respect to his/her sport, previous injury, movement impairments, volume at practice or games, current and future goals and yes, even strength development) and not just the athlete I once saw through the hole in the 45 pound plate.

Now, I'm still a strength guy, but my view on strength development (what really matters - a future blog) vs. numbers improvement (by any means necessary) has changed dramatically.  The next time you load the bar and you peer through that tiny hole, I simply challenge you to think about athletic development in its totality.  If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail; if all you do is load plates, then the window in which you have viewed the world, and the development of your athletes have been limited.  Believe me, the world looks a hole lot different when you begin to look at it with a pair of fresh eyes; or at least a pair not obscured by only iron.

Topics: Art Horne, Health & Wellness

Training With Tires: Developing On Court Speed

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:22:00 AM

by Art Horne

Ray Eady originally told me about using tires instead of speed sleds on the basketball court a few years back after visiting Matt Herring at the University of Florida.  Since that time it has become a staple in our speed training development.

everything basketball


- Carpet on metal sleds slide off and cause marks on gym floors and need constant checking and maintenance.  With the tires you may have to change the t-shirt once a year depending on the amount of external weight added or amount of tread still left on the tire (if you can choose, pick tires with little to no tread left.)  We still have a few in their original t-shirts!

- We all know a big guy with an XXL t-shirt (you work in the weight room right?), so outfitting these is easy.

- Cost is low: just go to your local dump or ditch and you can find them for free.  Junk yards are more than happy to give you old tires to avoid the cost of disposing them themselves.

- Besides the cost of clips, belts (which you already have) and some rope, it’s relatively inexpensive.

- Need more weight? No problem: we add medicine balls on top of the t-shirts. The weight of the ball sags in the shirt and rarely pops off the back. 

- Still need more weight? For other sports, or the rare basketball athlete that needs a bit more, we’ve added scuba weights permanently inside the tire.  These heavier tires can be separated from the lighter ones by dressing them in say red t-shirts, the regular tires in black and if you can find some smaller tires put them in white t-shirts.   This will help distinguish different weighted tires if your goal is contrasting weights/runs, but also allow you to easily point those athletes who don’t have the strength to handle the heavier tires to the right ones.

- Typical run progressions include:

o Lean fall run
Tire only run x 6
o Tire with Medicine ball x 6
o Body weight sprint
o Groups of 3 usually work together (each athlete has their own belt on) to ensure enough rest to adequately give max effort on each sprint.  If you feel as though this is not enough, put 5 athletes in a group (3 on one end, sprint court, switch tire to next in line, next athlete sprints back, repeat.  This will give you a work to rest of 1:4 plus change time)

Topics: Art Horne, Conditioning-Agility-Speed

Training With Tires: Part II

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 21, 2010 7:19:00 AM

by Art Horne

Basketball requires athletes to move in multiple directions and from various starts positions.  Training with tires can enhance not only straight ahead speed, but can also assist strength coaches and those athletes lacking starting strength build the necessary strength to start from multiple positions and movement patterns and transition quickly into the traditional forward sprint.

The same work to rest ratio can be used as discussed in the previous article with groups of 3 working together on opposite ends of the basketball court (“A” athlete and “B” athlete at one end, and “C” athlete at opposite baseline.  “A” athlete sprints or back pedals the desired length to athlete “C”, unclips and athlete “C” returns to opposite baseline. Repeat and continue.)

Movement Patterns often forgotten about with traditional sleds:


Side Shuffle to Sprint

Multiple Cross-over Steps

Cross-over Step to Sprint

Back Pedal to Sprint


Topics: Art Horne, Conditioning-Agility-Speed

The Talent Code by Daneil Coyle: A review for coaches

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 6, 2010 7:58:00 PM

by Art Horne

Like many coaches and athletic trainers, finding time to relax and devour a novel is a real luxury and one that I don’t overlook.  For those that can’t find time, I hope the summary below of Daniel Coyle’s The Talent Code provides a glimpse into his work and its relationship to basketball. 

Deep Practice

Throughout the book, Coyle travels to “hotbeds” around the world where masters of skill have evolved to dominate their sport and particular skill.  Coyle recounts his travels to the Spartak Tennis Club in Moscow, a club which has produced the likes of: Anna Kournikova, Marat Safin, Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina, Mikhail Youzhny, and Dmitry Tursunov.

“Walking up, I could see shapes moving behind clouded plastic windows, but I didn’t hear that distinctive thwacking of tennis racquets and balls. When I walked in, the reason became evident: they were swinging all right. But they weren’t using balls.  At Spartak it’s called imitatsiya – rallying in slow motion with an imaginary ball. All Spartak’s players do it, from the five-year-olds to the pros.”

“It looked like a ballet class: a choreography of slow, simple precise motions with an emphasis on tekhnika – technique.  Preobrazhenskaya (the lead coach) enforced this approach with an iron decree: none of her students was permitted to play in a tournament for the first three years of their study.  It’s a notion that I don’t imagine would fly with American parents, but none of the Russian parents questioned it for a second. “Technique is everything.” Preobrazhenskaya told me later, smacking a table with Khrushchev-like emphasis, causing me to jump and speedily reconsider my twinkly-grandma impression of her. “If you begin playing without technique, it is big mistake. Big, big mistake!””

Back to Basketball

This brought to mind my contention with summer pick-up games amongst college teammates.  Many coaches feel the need to have their athletes play these games as way of developing their basketball skills. However, I have encountered not skill development, but instead the exacerbation of knee pain, a continued emphasis of conditioning in the off-season rather than a pure strength focus among the number of problems that go along with summer play.  The main issue in my mind is this: many schools have incoming freshmen attend summer school in an effort to get them up to college speed, attend voluntary workouts and relieve some class load prior to the busy basketball season. With that said, the NCAA does not permit coaches contact with these freshmen until the start of school and thus anywhere from 6-8 weeks of pick-up games (2-3 times a week to be modest) including 6-8 weeks of poor habits are engrained in these young athletes.  Instead of pick-up, I propose that athletes are encouraged to immerse themselves in deep practice where priority on specific skills for specific players would be emphasized.

“For most of the last century, many educational psychologists believed that the learning process was governed by fixed factors like IQ and developmental stages. Barry Zimmerman, a professor of psychology at City University of New York, has never been one of them.  Instead, he’s fascinated by the kind of learning that goes on when people observe, judge and strategize their own performance when they, in essence, coach themselves. Zimmerman’s interest in this type of learning, known as self-regulation, led him in 2001 to undertake an experiment.”

Summary of Experiment:

Question: Is it possible to judge ability solely by the way people describe the way they practice?

  • The chosen skill to observe and test was the volleyball serve
  • Experimenters gathered volleyball players of all levels and asked them how they approached the serve – goals, planning, strategy, etc, - twelve measures in all.
  • They then predicted who would be the best at that skill and then had them execute the serve to test the accuracy of their predictions.
  • Result: “90% of the variation in skill could be accounted for by the player’s answers.”

“”Our predictions were extremely accurate,” Zimmeran said. “This showed that experts practice differently and far more strategically.  When they fail, they don’t blame it on luck or themselves. They have a strategy they can fix.”  “Through practice, they had developed something more important than mere skill; they’d grown a detailed conceptual understanding that allowed them to control and adapt their performance, to fix problems , and to customize their circuits to new situations.”

Back to Basketball

How many of your basketball athletes attempt foul shooting with the same organized and strategic approach? Is their routine the same whether alone of in front of millions on TV? How many have a clear goal before they step foot in the gym? How many become upset when that goal is not reached or simply wandered out happy they’ve completed their allotted number for the day?

Repeat it

 “There is no substitute for attentive repetition. Nothing you can do – talking, thinking, reading, imagining – is more effective in building skill than executing the action, firing the impulse down the nerve fiber, fixing errors, honing the circuit.”

“Repetition is invaluable and irreplaceable. There are, however a few caveats. With conventional practice, more is always better: hitting two hundred forehands a day is presumed to be twice as good as hitting one hundred forehands a day. Deep practice, however doesn’t obey the same math.  Spending more time is effective – but only if you’re still in the sweet spot at the edge of your capabilities, attentively building and honing circuits. What’s more, there seems to be a universal limit for how much deep practice human beings can do in a day.  Ericsson’s research shows that most world class experts – including pianists, chess players, novelists, and athletes – practice between three and five hours a day, no matter what skill they pursue.”

Sweet Spot

Can be described as, “that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it’s about seeking out a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.”

  1. Pick a target, 2. Reach for it, 3. Evaluate the gap between the target and the reach. 4. Return to step one.

Back to Basketball

How many of your athlete’s lace up their sneakers thinking about finding the sweet spot? Thinking about pushing themselves to the edge of their own comfort? About failing and then implementing a plan to resolve their failure, then going back and pushing themselves further again?  It’s been said you should try, fail, try again, fail better.  Someday you’ll get it right. There is a clear difference between working on your shot and working on your “post up -up fake - drop step and kiss off the glass while getting bumped by a defender.”  Good players work on their shot; players that get paid work on the latter.


Take Home

  1. Master the basics. Technique is king. This is hard in American culture where high flying dunks and trash talk seem to dominate the hard wood. The nice thing about mastering the basics is that it can be done by oneself and does not require another person. Immerse yourself in Deep Practice.
  2. Develop a comprehensive plan when approaching skill development: this is most difficult since it requires athletes to first see themselves, and their skill set honestly.  Many avoid post moves because it’s simply not as sexy as the three-point splash. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen big men out in three point land jacking up shots for hours during the summer even though they’ll never get out of the paint during the basketball season.  Your plan must come with honest self-monitoring, goals, strategy, planning and adaptation. Simply “putting up shots” will only make you better at “putting up shots” and never translates to making a mid-range jumper coming off an up screen on an in-bounds play.
  3. Enjoy the process. Your athletes need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. I don’t mean while running a suicide during practice when you’ll yelling at them, I’m talking about pushing themselves to near failure during their own independent skill development time. Pushing themselves to find their sweet spot time after time after time.

Now go get some shots up or get better today.  The choice is yours.

Topics: Basketball Related, Art Horne

Mood Questionnaire - Tracking Fatigue in the Collegiate Basketball Athlete

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 4, 2010 5:22:00 PM

by Art Horne

Recently, many strength coaches have been concerned about preventing CNS fatigue and thus overtraining.  But how many are tracking their athletes over the course of a year or season?  Below is Mood Questionnaire and Dot test portion we utilize over the competitive season. 

It costs nothing, is easy to administer and provides both the strength coach and athletic trainer specific discussion points on how they may help each particular athlete.  For example, two athletes may score the same (total of all questions) but one may be suffering from the flu while the other suffering from a lack of sleep, and thus require two totally different intervention strategies.

We look for scores to remain high in both the mood quesitionnaire, dot testing along with other test measures including VJ, and grip strength.

For additional information on Overtraining and Recovery, Dr. Bill Sands discusses his experience HERE.


Bounciness (1- 10)          
(10 most bounce, 1 no bounce)          
Soreness (1-10)          
(10 not sore, 1 extermely sore)          
Focus (1-10)          
(10 very focused, 1 mind is wandering)          
(10 very sharp, 1 flat)          
Joy of Competition & Training          
(10 can't get enough, 1 want to quit)          
(10 crushing, 1 very weak)          
Sleep Quality           
(10 best night ever, 1 didn't sleep at all)          
(10 feel great, 1 flu like sickness)          
(10 = ate 21 meals past 7 days,       
1 = do not feel like eating)          

Dot Test

On the bottom of this sheet please tap as many dots as possible with the provided marker in 10 seconds. 

Topics: Art Horne, Sports Pyschology & Mental Training

Questions To Ask Yourself

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Sep 4, 2010 4:58:00 PM

by Art Horne

I received an email from Jim Snider (University of Wisconsin and speaker at the First Annual Boston Hockey Summit )- he's a hockey guy now but he did work basketball when he was at MN so we'll let him slide) just before the July long weekend reminding me to ask myself a few simple, yet overlooked questions prior to the beginning of our summer training program. 

Below you’ll find those very questions.
- Thanks Jim

Questions you should answer when PLANNING:

• where are we in the training calendar?
• what is the technical-tactical nature of the position?
• what are we philosophically committed to?
• what geometric position does his body initiate movement from at the snap, jump or defensive stance?
• what directions might he initiate movement in and in what way might he change his direction?
• what muscles are involved?
• what is the speed of contraction?
• what amplitudes of movement are involved in the work?
• where in the amplitude are the greatest forces generated?
• what percentage of his technical-tactical responsibility necessitates that he overcomes or resists external resistance?
• what is the magnitude of resistance he must overcome or resist against?
• what are the geometric positions of his body when he overcomes or resists against external load?
• over what distances does he cover on average?
• what role do speed, reactive/elastic ability, power, strength, and joint mobility play in the execution of his competition maneuvers?
• how many possessions does he average per game?
• how long is the average play?
• how much time transpires between most plays?
• how might I construct drills to be performed under alactic and aerobic conditions?
• how will I sequence the change and introduction of training stimuli into the training load?
• how will I utilize the time available during the off-season?
• what will the contents of the training blocks consist of?
• how will I regulate the sequence and nature of the bioenergetic training?
• how will I regulate the sequence and nature of the biomotor training?
• how will I structure individual training sessions and consecutive days and weeks of training?

• and the list goes on…

Questions from the Late Dr. Yuri Verkhoshansky.  It is a shame such a great person of influence is gone.

Topics: Basketball Related, Art Horne

Art Horne, Northeastern University

Posted by Kate Gillette on Aug 17, 2010 5:13:00 PM

everything basketball, dunk shot 

Art Horne 

1. How did you get into the field of sports medicine / strength and conditioning?

I originally started working at Northeastern University in the summer of 2003. At that time I came on as the athletic trainer working with Men's Soccer, Men's Basketball and Baseball. Needless to say there wasn't a lot of time to hone my skills as an athletic trainer, let alone become a strength coach.  However, during that time I became good friends with the strength coach for Men's and Women's Basketball team, Ray Eady, who I will forever be indebted to for teaching me the ropes at the Division one level.  Ray did such an amazing job with our team that he was hired on at the University of Akron as their basketball Strength Coach and now works at the University of Wisconsin with the women's program there.  With Ray's departure from Northeastern, the door was left open for me to step in and continue Ray's programming while implementing some of my own philosophies.  Since that time I have been able to merge both athletic training and strength training into one performance philosophy with our basketball team and now have the opportunity to do so with our entire student-athlete population in my new position of Director of Sports Performance.

2. Who in the field has influenced or helped you the most? Influence your training philosophy? What have you learned from them that you can you share?

As I mentioned previously Ray Eady had a tremendous impact on the way I evaluate and train the basketball athlete.  Prior to Northeastern, I was fortunate enough to be mentored by four of the smartest athletic trainers in the business, Pete Koehneke, Andy Smith and Mike Dolan at Canisius College and Mark Laursen, Director of Athletic Training Services at Boston University.  While I was at Boston University I was able to take graduate courses with Mike Potenza, (current strength coach for the San Jose Sharks), and learn from current Director of Strength and Conditioning Glenn Harris as well as Mike Boyle.  Most recently, I have been fortunate enough to be able to discuss training concepts with Dr. Stuart McGill with particular focus on the basketball athlete.

For anyone that hasn't read McGill's work, stop reading this and go get anyone of his books or dvd's! 

McGill brings an evidence based approach to both his evaluation process and training programs.  If you've worked with a basketball athlete you've surely observed the very tall spine of the basketball athlete and have discussed with friends whether this body type has the ability to handle various exercises without causing problems.  Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on with regards to the front squat, back squat, Olympic lifting or other, McGill's stabilization exercises are a must for all basketball athletes looking to preserve their spine health.  In personal communication with Dr. McGill, an emphasis in frontal plane stability may very well be of paramount importance while planning a training program for this sport and ultimately performance on the court.

To illustrate this concept, simply think about a guard crossing over a defender and the need to rapidly and efficiently contract, then relax his left lateral line (Obliques, Quadratus Lumborum and Glute Medius) to push from his left to his right, followed by the same rapid and efficient contraction followed by relaxation of the right lateral line as he plants his right foot and crosses back over to the left to beat his defender. 

I've made a number of changes in our programming to not only address, but emphasize the frontal plane, especially for guards by including asymmetrical kettle bell lunges, farmer carries and a variety of side bridges to name a few.

3. Name 3-5 books every professional working with basketball athletes should have in their library and why?

In a recent post entitled, "Must reads that have nothing to do with strength" I outlined books that I think every strength coach should have in their collection, but this certainly holds true with athletic trainers, physical therapists and anyone who cares for the basketball athlete.  The normal list includes the following:

  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairments by Shirley Sharman
  • Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers
  • Low Back Disorders by Dr. Stuart McGill and
  • Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook to name a few. 

The two that I make special mention to however related to professional development, a concept many involved in athletics sometimes forget about due to travel with teams, administrative duties and pure number of hours engaged at work.  If you get a chance during a plane ride this coming season, or during this summer vacation time check out Good to Great by Jim Collins and Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
For a complete review of both books visit "Must reads that have nothing to do with strength"

4.  What assessments or evaluations do you use with your players during pre-season?

Besides the traditional screening protocol and questions that all athletic trainers and sports medicine departments put incoming athletes through, we have utilized the following examination with all of our Men's Basketball athletes in previous years:

Vision Screening: we've found that many of our athletes either have never had a full eye exam, or the lenses/glasses that they currently use are not up to date.  After evaluation, a minor tweak in their prescription makes a significant improvement both on the court and in the classroom.
Concussion Screening: establishes a baseline to help determine return to play if a concussion were to happen.
Functional Movement Screen: We test all basketball athletes anywhere from 3-4 times per year with scores of either zero or one being referred to the Sports Medicine department, (and ultimately me) for a full orthopedic evaluation.  Corrective exercises are then prescribed and inserted at the beginning of training sessions and/or given as "homework" for the athlete to complete on their own time.
Goniometry measurements: including ankle dorsiflexion in prone position, passive knee extension with hip at 90 degrees, passive knee flexion in modified Thomas test position.
Tender Points Evaluation: lateral gastroc, lateral hamstring, glute medius, lateral quad, thoracic spine, and adductors.  We then address these globally with foam rolling, stretching or other soft tissue work. Some individual active release techniques may have to be incorporated on a one-on-one treatment program within the Sports Medicine Department.
Left/Right single leg broad jump discrepancy: hands on hips, single leg jump and hold - looking for difference in strength and ability to hold landing. Differences over 10% are noted, with differences over 15% given special exercise programming to address this deficiency.
Previous Injury: we make a special effort to exam and address all previous injuries, even those that are not causing any pain or disability during examination - regardless of how minor they may have been.  If an athlete has been injured in the past, evidence supports that they are more likely to be injured again in the future. This holds especially true for those incoming freshmen who may not have properly rehabilitated their injury at their previous high school or prep academy.

Topics: Art Horne, Q&A