Archive for the ‘ basketball workouts ’ Category

Dre Baldwin: No Excuses

If you haven’t heard of Dre Baldwin, prepare to be impressed. Dre, known to his Twitter followers as @DreAllDay, is a self made professional basketball player and trainer, who went from barely making his high school team as a senior to playing on several pro teams in multiple countries just a few years later. Dre has written about of all his experiences and philosophies on his site,, and you should definitely check it out.

This week we caught up with Dre to get his thoughts on his own career but also to pick his brain on playing pro ball outside of the NBA.

Dre Baldwin

You have written extensively about your playing career overseas, and you’ve also written about how you didn’t make your high school basketball team until your senior year, and only got a little playing time. Can you pinpoint a moment or point in time when you felt that you could play professionally?

Definitely. In my senior year of high school (after basketball season), I went to a tryout for a team in the Sonny Hill League, the biggest and best amateur league in Philadelphia. This is the same league Kobe played in when he & his family returned from living in Europe, same league Wilt Chamberlain dominated, Dajuan Wagner, any big-name player form Philly or the surrounding area, played in Sony Hill in high school, guaranteed. All of the best players in Philadelphia were there at this particular tryout which was more like a practice for all of them, these were the guys who never got cut from basketball teams. There were so many of us that they actually had to split it up into two teams. The club was sponsored by Philly legend and former NBA player Aaron McKie. This team was so talented, you could’ve grabbed the newspaper, ticked off the names on the all-city hoops teams and used it for roll call at practice, seriously. I wrote about this experience in my book Buy A Game (which is free in PDF version) One of my teammates on this team was Eddie Griffin, who (at the time) set the Philly scholastic scoring record, went on to Seton Hall and the NBA as the 7th pick — he died in a car crash a few years ago while with the Timberwolves. Eddie was so dominant that coach Joh Hardnett (another Philly legend in coaching who died a couple years ago) brought in Kevin Freeman — then a power forward at UCONN — to guard Eddie all practice.

Anyway, playing against those guys, I was making plays — dunking, getting a steal here or there, making a jumper — to the point that even though none of them knew me, I was respected to some degree. I didn’t even play much and we didn’t practice often once the games began, but the experience of just being there, amongst players so good, so confident, was huge for me. David Thorpe of ESPN talks about this: the best way for a player to improve is to be playing with/against guys better than him, every single day. Almost all of those guys went D1 the following fall. That experience was my turning point. Their energy, their confidence, rubbed off on me.

Knowing what you know now, what is a piece of advice or information that you wish someone had given you when you before you started trying to be a professional player?

Nothing really. I knew what I was up against — D3 school, no great video, unimpressive stats — I knew I’d have to hustle my way in the door, sell myself to the fullest, and then deliver. But I’m better at hustling and selling than I am at hoops! Haha… so I knew I’d end up where I wanted to be, one way or another. Players these days need to understand these realities and know that no one gives a damn about what you want or need or are dreaming about. Pro sports is an adult business, so be an adult and take 100% responsibility for your outcomes. No hand-holding here.

What is the biggest misconception you see from players who want to be professional basketball players?

That playing overseas is like their local LA Fitness pickup run, weekend pickup game, or that because they scored 30 in some rec league (against a team who had an overseas player, even), that they can go play overseas. If that were the case a lot of ball players would be playing for money, if that’s all there was to it. First off it’s a business — you have to get in the door before you get on the floor (which is the real hard part). And once you’re in, understand that every country and league is unique — some leagues, like Mexico, want Americans to go wild, scoring 30-40 points and shooting every time marks you as “good” even if you team gets killed. I know because I did it: I once led a tournament in scoring — shooting every time, EVERY TIME — playing center for my undermanned club, and was an absolute star out there, even though my club didn’t come close to winning a game. In Montenegro, on the other hand, the team is the star. One on one play is frowned upon — it will get you benched immediately. your job is to help the team win, regardless of your stats (or if you even play much). I was clearly the best player we had in Montenegro yet never started a game.

Given that the U.S. minor league basketball system is often considered inferior for players who want to earn money outside of the NBA, what are your thoughts on the NCAA and the current thought that the lack of a true farm system for basketball is due to the collegiate teams serving this role, and what are your thoughts on whether players in the NCAA should be compensated beyond scholarships?

We could go back and forth on that topic forever, but the fact is this: The best way to get to the NBA, for an American basketball player, is through the NCAA. And until someone comes along with a better option, the NCAA will be the route most will take. Personally I think a 2-year minimum should be the requirement, which indirectly mandates players be real students: you can’t BS through 3 semesters of college courses and still be eligible, but you can BS through one semester (like a one-and-done player could do now, since the last spring semester wouldn’t matter when you’re leaving early). On top of a 2-year requirement, allow high school-to-the-NBA again. Baseball players, gymnasts, and golfers skip college routinely and no one cares. The fact that these are young Black men making the NBA millions is a factor, whether one wants to admit it or not. If an individual wants to enter the working world at 17 or 18, so be it, who’s to say (s)he can’t? You mess up, you mess up. Live your life and the choices you made.

Do I think NCAA players should be paid? Not until some system that makes sense comes along. Understand that basketball and football are, for the most part, the only two sports that turn a profit, they pay for the other sports to even exist. The volleyball and golf team should not be paid a cent. And some players contribute more than others. So that must be factored in, LeBron should get more than Joel Anthony. All players are not equal. The most capitalistic solution: pay players based on performance and have negotiations. Leave straight from HS if you wish, or stay for 2 years.

Further, look at what they do in Europe: when a player expresses interest in a sport, he’s put into a basketball program at age 14 or 15 and thats where he stays for 5-6 years until college or the NBA comes calling, or the pro club he’s been with in Europe. You specialize early in Europe, unlike our one-size-fits-all educational system which is at the root of all of this, actually. An entire other discussion, haha…

One thing that’s obvious from the writing on your site and in your book that you are a prolific reader and an excellent communicator. Do you feel this has been an advantage in your professional pursuits?

Thank you and very much yes. I honestly don’t use anything I was taught in college in my current life — basketball, online, marketing, anything. And I have a business management/marketing degree from Penn State University. The American educational system is designed to create employees, nothing more. The world we are in now is nothing like the 60s and 70s, when this educational system was created. There’s no school for creating a website and marketing yourself, or using social media to get your message out, or handling competitors in business, or sales of any sort. Schools can’t or don’t teach any of this. But all of those things exist — heavily — in our current world. Again, another topic…
To answer your question, I read a lot. Websites, blogs, magazines, books. That’s been my real education, along with real-life experiences and human interactions. School cannot teach you how to communicate a message clearly, or how to explain a complicated concept in a way anyone can understand, or how to sell to a person who didn’t even know they needed what you’re offering. Those are life skills. School teaches employee skills. Books and life are the real educators.

Is there any person or persons outside of the world of sports who you admire, or see as influential?

I look to business people, not athletes. Since I have grown up with hip hop — my dad blasted Public Enemy and Poor Righteous Teachers as far back as I can remember — I look to the moguls and the business they do, Not the moves themselves, per se, since I’m not a musician — but the principles. Sean Combs (Diddy), Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), Curtis Jackson (50 Cent), Russell Simmons come to mind. Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, Robert Greene, Tucker Max are others, either from their lives or their writings or both. As far as athletes, not really. Becoming a superstar athlete is like winning the lottery and not everyone can win it, no matter what efforts you put in. Can you game-plan to do what Michael Jordan has done with Jordan Brand? or LeBron or DWade or Kobe or Beckham? No. They didn’t plan it, or strategize, until they realized they’d won the lottery. So I don’t look up to any athletes.

You’ve written about how players can balance school and sports, something we’ve written about on Basketball Elite quite a bit. Do you feel this is an area that is lacking in how we approach high school athletics?

No, I think people using that “finding time” excuse are just lazy. Fact: there are 24 hours in a day. You don’t “find” time for things, no one in history has ever had a 25-hour day. You make time. If it is important, you will get it done. If not, you will find excuses. Simple as that. How much TV are you watching, video games are you playing, how long are you hanging with friends doing nothing?

Brad Harris is a former professional basketball player and three time collegiate all American. He also has two years head coaching experience at Notre Dame Catholic High School in Chattanooga. In these two years his team won a district title and two State tournament appearances. Coach Harris has a passion for seeing players improve through hard work and fundamental instruction.

This camp will be held at Tennessee Temple University on July 23-26.

We at Basketball Elite highly recommend Brad’s camp and suggest that players looking to move to the next level check it out.

For full details, download the camp flyer by clicking here.

Brad Harris Basketball Camp 2012

By Jimmy Lamour

Basketball Training Exercise
Photo Source:Flikr/Connade

A basketball season can be grueling with the large amounts of jumping that is performed. It is expected that many athletes have to play multiple games and sometimes during the same week. Let’s not even mention the amount of athletes that do not absorb force correctly or use improper movement patterns during activity. This often leads to trauma to the joints and nagging injuries. The last thing you should do is start playing another season with a more competitive league. Unfortunately, that is what occurs in the high school world. The better option is to perform a recovery phase working on the muscle imbalances that have been created, build relative body strength, and improve your ability to recover.

The best way to attack muscle imbalances during the off-season is to do an assessment to find out where one limb might be stronger than the other limb. We do not believe in spending a week to assess these weaknesses as our clients have a limited time to spend with us. Our test usually involve a squat with a PVC pipe to detect any ankle mobility issues, thoracic spine stiffness, and hip flexor tightness. Also, I like our push up test as it detects weakness in the core immediately. What we define as the “core” is the abdominals, hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors.

We address these imbalances individually by adding some foam rolling, mobility drills, stretching, and activation drills. This is where individualization is key as you do not want to stretch the hamstrings of an athlete that already has proper flexibility in his hamstrings. As sometimes, that might increase the athlete’s dysfunction and increase their chance of injury. For instance, many of our athletes have tight hip flexors that is most likely related to the amount of time that athletes sit or are in the hip flexion position. The best way to improve the flexibility of the hip is to do a hip flexor stretch. We advise our athletes to do this on our off days as well. The increased flexibility in this region makes a quick impact in the speed, movement efficiency, and back pain of our athletes.

Relative body strength is defined in my own words as being strong in relation to your weight. For instance, a person that weighs 170 lbs that can squat 340 lbs. That is twice the size of the athlete. This type of relative strength usually means the athlete can manipulate his body weight very easily. This base of strength builds a solid foundation for developing speed, quickness, and conditioning. The pull ups and the glute ham raise have been two great indicators in our program of relative body strength. The faster kids in our program can do glute ham raises and pull ups as easy as water flowing from a faucet.

The ability of being able to recover must be a priority in every basketball player’s program as well. The quicker you recover the more maximal speed efforts you will be able to repeat and less you will be beat up after a game. Some strategies we use is you guessed it, sleep. You must get at least 8 hours of sleep to give the body time to repair it self. Athletes that are unwilling to do that are just not mentally tough enough to deserve success. Also, eating for performance will speed up your recovery. The body functions properly when fed the right amount of carbs, fats, protein, vitamins, water, etc…I am in no way saying that you can never eat a burger and some fries. But you have to make eating healthy and wholesome meals as a normal part of your life and eating junk as a interruption in your routine. Also, I like using temp runs on your off days at low intensity to flush out the bad blood and nourish the body with nutrients for recovery.

Sample Workout Session:
Warm-Up- 10 Minutes
Foam Roll Upper Back
Foam Roll Pectorals
Foam Roll Hamstrings
Foam Roll Quadriceps
Foam Roll ITB Band
Foam Roll Groin
Foam Roll Calves
Foam Roll Shins
Jumping Jacks
Light Skip Forward
Light Side Skip
Light Backward Skip
Forward Leg Swing
Side Leg Swing
Push Up Plus
Band Upper Back & Shoulder Traction
Thoracic Mobility Drills
Hip Circuit
Glute Activation Drills
Ankle Mobility Drills
Lunge Matrix
Push Ups
Jump Rope

Strength Workout

Power Matrix
1A) Med Ball Forward Pass x 5
1B) Box Jump x 3

2A) Box Squat 3×5 75% Perceived Strength

3A)Inc DB Press 3 x 6
3B)Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 5 ea leg

4A) Pull Ups 4×6
4B) Glute Ham Raise 3×8
5A) Ab Circuit Matrix

Speed Workout

Short Sprint- 10 yards x 5 linear with 1 minute rest between sprints
Short Sprints- 10 yards x 4 Lateral with 1 minute rest between sprints

Recovery Portion
Active Isolated Stretching with Band
Post Workout Drink- GI Nutrition Recovery/RSP Nutrition Glutamine, Arginine, H20 Pro
Post Workout Sauna- 20 Minutes/ Plenty of water

For more information on conditioning and training for specific sports programs, visit Lamour Training Systems

7 Questions With…Alan Stein

By James Blackburn

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the Head Strength & Conditioning coach for the nationally renowned, Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School boys basketball program. He spent 7 years serving a similar position with the Montrose Christian basketball program.

Alan brings a wealth of valuable experience to his training arsenal after years of extensive work with elite high school, college, and NBA players.

Alan Stein Kobe Bryant

1. Who are some of the NBA guys you will be working with this year or have worked with in the past? Are there any thing other camps or other ventures that you will be doing this year that you have not done in the past, that you would like our readers to know about, or any new clients?

It is too early to know what NBA players (or players preparing for this year’s draft) will be in DC this off-season. I have had the great fortune of working with several current NBA players when they were in high school and college – Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Tywon Lawson, Michael Beasley, and Greivis Vasquez to name a few. While I certainly enjoy working with pros, my main clientele are junior high and high school age players. I am in the process of finalizing my summer schedule, but am looking forward to being a part of several new camps – in Englad, Jordan, Canada, and maybe Italy! I will certainly continue my staple of events in the US – the NBPA Top 100 Camp, the Nike Skills Academies, and the Chris Paul Elite Backcourt Camp. But I am excited to use basketball as a vehicle to take me all over the world. I am overwhelming thankful to do what I do for a living.

2. How did you break into the business?

I have always loved the game of basketball and became fascinated with strength & conditioning in high school. I decided this was what I wanted to do for a living my junior year in college. Basketball specific strength & conditioning was almost non-existent then (late 1990’s) so I saw this line of work as a unique niche. I haven’t looked back since!

3. What is one of the main things players need to improve on/work on when they make the jump from HS to college or from college to the pros? What area do you think most players struggle to translate to that next level.

Every time you go up a level the players are stronger, faster, and more explosive. Those are the areas players need to improve to compete at the next level!

Alan Stein

4. Do you ever turn players down that want to work out with you? If so, is it because of your schedule or players attitude, or a little of both?

As long as I can accommodate schedule wise, and as long as the player has a great attitude and is committed to their own development – I don’t ever turn away players.

It doesn’t matter to me if a kid is trying to make his JV high school team or he is a McDonalds All-American – I want to work with them if they meet the aforementioned criteria.

5. Do most players that come to you for help come with an agenda of what they want to improve on?

Yes, most of the players come to me with set goals in mind…. Which is GREAT! And for 99% of basketball players they are the same goals – get stronger, gain weight, improve vertical jump, improve quickness!

6. How is your team doing at Dematha Catholic this season? Any player who is under the radar that we should keep an eye on?

I am so thankful to be at DeMatha and surrounded by such great kids and coaches. We have an outstanding team this year. We suffered our first loss of the season this past weekend but are confident that it will serve as a valuable learning experience. We are currently ranked #14 in the nation by ESPN and have upcoming games against St. Anthony’s (#3) and Norcom (#6) – in addition to our intense WCAC schedule. We are a fairly young team and have tons of potential talent. I say ‘potential’ because they need to stay focused and keep working if they want to be as good as they can be!

7. What is next for you and where do you see yourself and the business going next?

The next major things for me after our season is over is the McDonalds All-American game (Chicago) and the Jordan Brand All-American Classic (Charlotte)… both are always tremendous events. As for my business, I just want to keep being a resource for players and coaches of all ages… all over the world.

To learn more about Alan’s work, check out Stronger Team online and you can follow Alan on Twitter or Facebook.

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