I recently started strength training the girls basketball team. I'm super stoked about the opportunity -- the girls are high energy, dedicated, and WANT to lift weights. The coach asked if they wanted to lift weights, with me standing there, and they all yelled and screamed like they had just won tickets to a Jonas Brothers concert.
Unlike the boys basketball team, most of these girls are new to basketball. As a result, here are three things we will work on to help them succeed and stay healthy on the court.
FIRST -- Building Tendon Strength
SECOND -- Developing Change of Direction
THIRD -- Developing Proprioception
These will all be IN ADDITION to getting after it in the weightroom. So don't worry ladies, we'll still hit back squats, single leg squats, single leg explosiveness, heel elevated work for the feet and ankles, RDL's for the glutes hams and back, rows for pulling power, presses for pushing power, and lots of dynamic core work.
Increasing Tendon Resiliency
Throughout the course of a game and season, the muscles get tired. Muscles protect joints by helping absorb force that comes through the joints and tendons when someone jumps, lands, sprints, or changes direction. So as muscles get tired, the body will figure out how to absorb & redirect force through compensation elsewhere (hopefully not in a way to leading to injury).
Here are some exercises that help increase tendon strength:
Isometric Holds -- ISO Holds are awesome and help increase tendon strength but also help increase neurological pathways for the brain to fire muscles properly. If you'd like to read more about it, check out this article from The Basketball Docs on Iso Holds. Here are three iso metric holds we'll do.
SQUAT HOLD -- great for control of joints of the leg, from the ankles all the way up to the hips.
LUNGE HOLD -- Great for the petalla tendon and quadricep tendon
LONG BRIDGE HOLD -- helps with hamstring tendon and mind muscle connection for the glutes and the posterior chain: SUPER IMPORTANT FOR ANYTHING ATHLETIC
Depth Drops -- Depth drops are basically ISO Holds, except with adding gravity to increase the amount of force the joints have to absorb. We will do depth drops from squat and split stance position as featured below. I'll have our athletes hold that land position for 3-5 seconds so the body has time get in true isometric hold position.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION
Change of direction is both a skill thing and a strength thing. It takes the mind to recognize the need to move and the body to be able to carry it out. This is what makes basketball such a difficult sport -- lots of moving parts, especially if you're dribbling the ball!!
To CoD well, you've got to be strong and be able to sprint. You need to be strong because you have to absorb force in a different direction. Say you're moving left, then you need to go right. All that momentum left must first be stopped then you must create energy to go right.
SHADOW DRILL -- this drill done several times throughout the course of a lift can have some big time carry over to their performance in the weight room by ramping up their central nervous system and will have big time carry over to games by increasing their lateral abilities.
ARC SPRINTS or CURVED SPRINTS -- these are excellent at teaching the body how to produce force forward while making the joints work at turning the body. Want to create strong ankles and knees? Look at the velocity these runs have on this guy's joints. It also teaches the body how to control centripetal force.
What is proprioception you may ask? It's basically the human body's version of SPIDEY-SENSE. You ever see freak athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Venise Williams, or Steph Curry make plays that seem virtually impossible? Avoiding a sack, knowing exactly where a ball is going to be on their blind side, or making a no-look pass? That's proprioception and it can be increased over time.
Here are some drills we will do to increase proprioception
INFINTY WALKS -- These drills force the eyes to focus on a target while relying on peripheral vision and BRAIN TRIGONOMETRY to know where the cones are on the ground to be avoided. These walks can be made more difficult by adding in dribbling, partner passes, and verbal cues. These literally grow the control center of the brain and are really awesome.
TWELVE POINT LUNGES -- the 12 pt lunge forces the body to be in positions it's not used to being in in every day life. But sport is not every day life, so, say a lady gets shoved while going up for a rebound; all the vectors and calculations her brain made during the jump change with this new information to land in a safe manner; if the body hadn't landed in that position before, it will have trouble organizing itself; this drill helps with that :-)
I'm stoked to have these ladies train with me. They've got a ton of energy and potential for success. They've got a long road to walk with starting a new team flat out, but with their hard work ethic, these drills, our regular lifting and their team practices, these ladies will crushing souls and balling out of control in no time!! LETS GOOOOOOO!!!