basketball conditioning

2-12-2018 League Championship Update

This has been a very busy couple of months since my last post and I have some great news for the readers of this site. Ontario has proved that player development and hard work does pay off. For the first time in 25 years Ontario Varsity Girls Basketball has won a league championship.

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In what has been quite a stunning turnaround, Ontario went from being a doormat in league to the top team in just 5 years. Here is where the team stacked up just before I took over:

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After implementing a very rigorous player development program and working to create a system on offense and defense that would create success, I noticed that we were playing at a much higher level. Here are the final standings from this season:

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We are now currently preparing for our first home playoff game in 15 seasons and hope to get a playoff win in the 1st round as we face San Gorgonio. This has been an incredible season and I look forward to continuing to see my team make history.

Hope to give another update in the coming weeks.

12-14-2017 Coaching Update

This is definitely a busy time of year. We have played 10 games in a very short amount of time and my players and I are all exhausted. We have gotten off to a great start with a 10-0 record to start the year. This is the best start at Ontario since the early 1990’s. At this point in the season we have played a fairly weak schedule but our confidence is now sky high.

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Our work that we put in during the offseason is definitely paying off and all of the things that I have blogged about are working. Here are the scores of our opening 10 games:

Ontario 61
La Puente 8

Ontario 68
Glenn 50

Ontario 70
Price 17

Ontario 74
Sotomayor 13

Ontario 55
Montclair 25

Ontario 70
Saddleback Valley Christian 25

Ontario 56
Jurupa Valley 53

Ontario 56
South El Monte 24

Ontario 39
Lennox Academy 10

Ontario 72
Mountain View 40

We are currently in a week and a half period without a game and we are putting in some very hard work during practices. In spite of a 10-0 record, I believe that we have a long way to go to maximize our potential. By drilling down on defense and running to stay in shape, we will hopefully be more than prepared for our next game on Wednesday December 20th against Pomona.

My priority is my team so my next blog post will probably be in January. Have a very happy holidays and may the new year bring your teams all great success.

11-18-2017 Coaching Update

This was a great week for my team. The weekend had us playing 2 fall league games against both Rosemead and Fontana. We finished up with a short week of practices on Wednesday due to a pep rally on Thursday night. The pep rally was introducing all winter sports teams at the school.

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The first fall league game against Rosemead started out a bit slowly with us out to a 2-19 deficit to start the game. Instead of losing my temper, I called a timeout and refocused our offense and tweaked our press break. By halftime we had cut the deficit to 5. By putting the focus back onto our defense, we ended up taking a lead and holding onto that lead for a 36-31 victory. I am encouraged by the fact that we held a very solid Rosemead team to just 12 points in the last 30 minutes of a running clock game. However, we need to be better to start out games and be focused on not digging a hole.

After a one hour break, we then played Fontana High School and had the opposite start of the first game. We led 36-2 starting out the game and were much more focused. After the huge start, I allowed everybody on the bench to get in for extended minutes and pulled off our press. Had this been a regular season game I think that I would have pushed a little bit longer just to ensure that the game was out of reach. This was a great opportunity to allow those players who probably won’t see the court as much to play a lot and get opportunities to score. We ended up winning this game by a final score of 49-12.

In practice we had a focus on conditioning for the first 30 minutes of practice and then spent another 2.5 hours on getting better on the court. Monday and Tuesday went exceptionally well, so I presented the team with a challenge. If they all turned in grade checks on Wednesday and at least half of the team had over a 3.5 GPA, we would have a light day on Wednesday. On Wednesday I found out that 9 of my 13 had a 3.5 GPA or higher and 3 of the remaining 4 had a 3.0 or higher.

Because of the excellent work that they had put in on the court as well as the excellent work in the classroom, I prepared a scavenger hunt as a team building activity for that day. We spent an hour running around campus to solve riddles and find clues. The team enjoyed the activity and also had a great time doing something different from the typical practice. It was an excellent week to close out the week and to prepare for the season.

 

11-9-2017 Coaching Update

We are a couple of weeks put from the start of the regular season and we have started to really ramp up practices. I am a strong advocate for making the two weeks prior to the regular season a very difficult challenge both with conditioning and basketball skill work. The reason behind this is that it help your team improve and also gives them a sense of accomplishment when they’ve finished what they have set out to do.

This week I had practice just Monday-Thursday but they were some solid practices. We did 30 minutes of sprints, defensive slides, and burpees, followed with 2.5 hours of basketball work. My team worked hard and did an excellent job of showing tremendous growth. As a reward, I gave them Friday off from practice which they were excited about because it’s a non-school day.

One of the best signs from this week was when we scrimmages against our freshman boys basketball team. In the past we have scrimmages this team and never gotten a victory. On Wednesday we beat them in two out of the three games that we played. The team is starting to really come together and I have come up with a fun team-building activity for next week as a reward.

Lead By Example

If you are going to ask your athletes to do something it truly helps to lead by example. I have learned through experience that if your athletes see you as the hardest working member of the team, it makes it hard for them to question what you are doing or complain. This has been a great area of growth for me over the past couple of years, especially when it comes to strength and conditioning. I first want to preface that although it helps if you have been around the game of basketball, it is not crucial that every coach have played the game of basketball growing up.

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My first couple of seasons at Ontario, I was horribly out of shape and it was difficult to get my athletes to completely commit to our strength and conditioning program. A couple of years ago I committed to fitness for myself and lost over 150 pounds and am now in the greatest shape of my life (shockingly, diet and exercise actually works). Now when we have conditioning before or during practice, I will get out there and do the workouts with my athletes and I no longer get any complaints and notice a guilty look from students who sit out a conditioning workout that I am doing with the team. This is just one example of a way that I have been able to lead by example.

Another great way to lead by example is make sure that you are at the gym before any of your athletes and you are the last one to leave. I make an effort to be in the gym reviewing game film when my athletes arrive and stay in the gym after practice to meet with my assistant coaches. Athletes notice these things and will respect you more if they see that you are committed to working hard and devoting time to the program. Being knowledgeable about your offense and defense will help them respect your knowledge of the game as well. Whenever a question gets brought up about something we are doing on offense or defense, I make an effort to give a solution or answer that has depth and shows that I am in complete understanding of what we are doing, how we need to do it, and what the expected outcome is.

Overall, it’s a great idea to lead by example because you are a role model to these athletes and it will help you be more successful as a coach. I am always open to suggestions so if you have any ideas, suggestions, or questions, please feel free to comment on this post or send me an e-mail.

Conditioning

Having your team in top physical shape is also an excellent way to increase your performance on the court. However, I am also opposed to overtraining and like to limit when conditioning takes place. To help clarify, I consider conditioning to be improving the aerobic fitness of athlete by increasing stamina, quickness, and energy. Tomorrow, we will focus more on weight lifting and strength. I want to preface this post with the fact that I am not a doctor and encourage every coach to consult with a doctor or athletic trainer when designing their program.

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In order to maximize efficiency with conditioning, I like to focus on conditioning during just two segments of the year:

Fall- I like to really push my players to get better through a tough but realistic program that starts out slow and gets to be very tough toward the end of fall.

Winter- A lack of emphasis on in season conditioning has sometimes doomed teams. If you lose the conditioning that was built up during the preseason partway through the year, you will be at a disadvantage.

A couple of key focuses for your program are to incorporate distance running, sprints, and balance work. Here is a rationale behind each of these choices:

Distance Running- You do need to build up your overall cardio conditioning and running laps is an excellent way to do this. In the fall I will spend one day a week on the track. During the season, I will not spend any days on the track.

Sprints- We add on sprints every week and during the fall we start small and work our way up to a large amount of sprinting by the end of fall. During the season, I will incorporate a sprinting aspect into each practice.

Balance- I am a huge advocate of yoga and other balance work. If you incorporate this into your workout program it is beneficial to contract with a skilled professional to guide this part of your workout.

Teams who are in shape and able to continue an up-tempo pace for the duration of a game have a huge advantage over their opponents. It does not come without hard work though and you need to put the work into the preseason conditioning program in order to see the benefits.