By Brendon Ziegler
The off-season is upon us; it came a little quicker this year than we would have liked, so back to the drawing board. The off-season is a great opportunity for skill acquisition which our players and coaches will do a great job with on court. We will have nine solid weeks before the guys will go home for a month in June.
In the weight room we will begin this off-season much like all the others with a steady diet of volume. The first three weeks, we will re-establish work capacity, with high repetitions in our lifting. We generally use 8-10 reps on our strength work which for the first cycle will include exercises like front squats, snatch liftoffs, RDLs, step downs, overhead presses, pull-ups, etc. We will also power clean and power snatch in reps of 4-5. We will do stop versions of these exercise, since I am not a huge fan of doing block or hang work with the basketball players who have been previously lifting off the floor. So we will add a pause above the knee or mid-thigh to remove momentum and really work on accelerating the bar through a very short range of motion. The thought behind this is to increase the rate of force development and the ability of the athlete to accelerate from a completely static position.
In our movement drills we will scale our progressions back to the earlier versions. Starting the off-season with simpler versions of our movement drills helps reestablish the physical qualities we mean to effect. By introducing advanced drills, especially since many of the drills are removed during the in-season we would see poor movement pattern and speed. We revert back to static versions of our jumping drills, static broad jumps, vertical jumps, medial lateral hops, lateral bounds etc. Sprinting drills are pretty simple: wall drills, ankling, A-skips, build-ups, 10-20 meter sprints, and some alternate leg bounding. Change-of-direction drills are limited to activities such as slides, resisted slides and some basketball specific agility drills.
Work Capacity is further developed with activities such as slide board, medicine ball circuits and tempo runs. This increased capacity for work will help us get the body and its tissues through difficult workouts later in the off-season. We really won’t perform any high intensity conditioning until late summer.
Finally it is this at this point in the year that we will re-address some of our foundational training methods. Although these exercises serve us in some capacity throughout the year it is at this stage they are most prevalent. Planks, clams, hip flexion, hip extension and internal and external rotation exercises are taken back to earlier progressions to shore up movements. We will progress these exercises and the hope is that they gain complexity and intensity and thus become functional.
What we do throughout this first month is far from innovative. We put emphasis on quality of movement; it has to be done right.
All Credit is due to: Al Vermeil, Erik Helland, Jeff Macy, Roger Neilson & Don Chu