The Article is by “Coach Troy from The Jim Huber Show”
On a recent Jim Huber Show Podcast, Jimmy and I had the great pleasure of speaking with Stronger Team’s Alan Stein about strength and performance training. Every coach want’s a stronger team, every player wants to be strong enough to allow their skills to dominate. Read on to find some answers to these desires.
As a kid 30 years ago, I spent most of my time with my face buried in comic books. Fantastic Four, Spiderman, you name it. I can remember Mom scolding me occasionally to take my nose out of those comic books and go outside and do something! I was a skinny little runt, a late bloomer and probably the weakest kid in my class in seventh grade. Then I saw the advertisement that changed my life!
Mac buys the “Charles Atlas” solo flex machine, and in a few short weeks he’s back on the beach, beating up the bully and of course, getting the girl.
It’s one of the most iconic advertisements in history. It was successful because it found my pain, and offered me hope, offered me a solution. I was being bullied on the football field, the basketball court, the lunch room, etc. Now fortunately for me I was a funny guy, and believe you me, I did my best to make people laugh as that was my coping mechanism. I got along, but I hated being skinny. Hated my ribs showing. Hated being, “the 98 LB weakling.”
Now I didn’t have enough money to buy the Charles Atlas “SOLOFLEX” machine, but I did scrape up enough to buy some weights, the cheap kind that were plastic and filled with concrete inside. I bought a bodybuilding book by Ah-Nold and went to work at home in my room. It took about a month to see real results (just as Ah-Nold told me it would). But from that first half inch on the ole bicep, I was hooked. I became dedicated, started eating better, was constantly reading anything I could find on the subject, and by high school I had caught and ran past most of those middle school bullies. In the old black and white ad, “Mac” was THE HERO OF THE BEACH!” I grew up in Kansas and we didn’t have beaches, but I settled for surviving lunch and actually starting to excel on the court.
We recently spoke to the maybe the greatest basketball strength and performance coach on planet Earth, Alan Stein. Alan coaches with one of the nation’s top high school programs, DeMatha and has trained and strengthened thousands of players including Victor Olidipo and Kevin Durant. In high school at Montrose, KD looked like the kid in the ad. Alan who was at Montrose at the time, went to work on KD and together they began his journey to become the “HERO OF THE BEACH.” Now KD doesn’t look like Vin Diesel, but, he has gone from 180 LBS at Montrose to now 235 LBS for the Oklahoma Thunder.
Alan laid out for us how he helped KD transform his body on the latest of our weekly podcast of “The Jim Huber Show” I’ll summarize in this blog, but I strongly encourage you to click this link and hear the entire podcast, as Alan gave fantastic info a variety of basketball and strength topics.
Alan gave most of the credit to diet. “I told Kevin, if you eat like a bird, you’re going to look like a bird.” He went on the say that eating more frequently helps, and that you want to look for calorically dense foods that kids want to eat. This is important, it needs to be things kids want to eat. He gave a great example, “Take a Nature Valley Granola bar, load it up with a scoop of peanut butter and follow it with a glass of chocolate milk. Most kids would think that would taste pretty good. They won’t have to “muscle” it down.” Bottom line, find the good calorie dense foods that your players want to eat. That’s step one.
THE POWER OF INCREMENTAL GAINS
My son is a late bloomer as well and has been trying to gain in strength and weight. We hired a personal trainer and who instantly upped his caloric intake (almost doubling it) in order to gain weight. What we ended up with was a guy who ate and drank so much that he ceased enjoying eating and drinking. The personal trainer I’m sure was under pressure, “Hey I’ve got blank number of sessions, this guy expects weight gain, so lets double this kid up calorie wise” Terrible mistake, as Alan taught us.
“You want to make incremental gains. If you can bench press 100 lbs ten times today, I don’t put 150 on the next time you work out. I put 105 lbs on the make a small incremental change. Same with eating, if a player is eating 2000 calories a day now and you figure they should be eating 4000 calories in order to gain weight, going from 2000 to 4000 is not recommended. But if you could go from 2000 to 2200, that is one extra piece of fruit and greek yogurt. The next week add another 200. After 6 to 8 weeks, they are where they need to be.” If only I had known that I could have saved a few hundred dollars and a few belly aches for my “Mac”. We live in such an age of instant gratification that sometimes it hard for today’s players to grasp the concept of increments and delaying gratification over time to reach our goals. I was guilty here for sure. If only someone had done a podcast to educate me!
DO SUPPLEMENTS WORK?
Alan was straightforward on supplements. “I don’t believe in using anything that claims to enhance your performance.” A supplement like Creatine would fall in this category. A lot of high school and college players use Creatine because they think it allows them to workout longer and stronger and create bigger and faster gains. Alan said steer clear to any substance that claims to enhance performance. He did say that he sees no problem with using a natural whey protein powder, which is the similar to eating a piece of chicken. He then went on the define the word “supplement”, which means “in addition to,” and not recommend them unless a high school kid is already eating a perfect diet (which none of them are). The danger comes when kids believe the word supplement means, “in place of” and think that they can skip meals and drink a couple of shakes a day and be okay. “They won’t be, because there is not enough calories in those shakes to gain weight.”
Two Other Smoothie Recipes That Alan Stein Recommends:
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 cup of Orange Juice
- 1 Orange Dream flavored Greek Yogurt
- 1 scoop of vanilla Whey Protein
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup of plain Almond Milk
- 1 huge scoop of peanut butter
- 1 scoop of chocolate Whey Protein
THE BOTTOM LINE BASICS
Alan brought it together with this, “Get quality sleep, train hard, train smart, train consistent, eat real foods consistently throughout the day. Make it the healthiest food you can find, and on top of that if you want to take something extra like a whey protein I have no problem with that.” What I got from Alan is that there are no real shortcuts. Ads promising things like “double your vertical leap” or “lose 40 lbs in a 2 weeks!” are generally false. As an adult, you kind of know that about ads in general, but some of them are put together so well, they target individual’s pain so well, that they are often hard to ignore. They really hit you where it hurts and suck you in and a lot of dollars are wasted by a lot of honest folks to be sure. If you’re trying to gain weight, instead of buying the latest fad, reread that quote above and take it to heart. There are no shortcuts, although there is no end of folks trying to sell them.
DO YOU NEED TO LIFT WEIGHTS TO BECOME BASKETBALL STRONG?
Coaches want stronger teams, players want to be stronger so they can score, rebound and defend on a higher level. Nobody likes being picked off on screens, having rebounds ripped away or being called, gasp, “Soft”.
Alan had some interesting thoughts on conventional weight training in programs. While not against traditional lifts, he was bigger on the power of the human body itself.
“Weight training and using conventional weights like dumbbell, barbells and kettle balls and so forth. That is a subset of strength training. But is not the only way to get a player basketball strong. In fact I am at the belief that the human body is the best piece of equipment that you ever need. You can put your body in different positions, different angles to create leverage. Just using your own body weight can get someone really strong. The most basic ones are pushups, pull ups, lunges, body weight squats, step ups and holding plank positions. For most youth and high school players just doing this by itself can be very challenging to do them correctly when they first start. But even as you progress as you get stronger you can change the angle or do a hand stand on a push up. You can do lunges from a variety of different angles not just the forward lunge. There are so many ways to challenge a basketball player.
You can also do some partner resistance work where you partner provides the reisistance. “At DeMatha we definitely do strength training a good portion of what we do is body weight and partner resistance. The ultimate test is not what someone can bench press or squat. The ultimate test is how they play. Can they box out, set screens effectively, do they get knocked off the ball on a pick and roll, can they go to the basket and finish through contact?” As he elaborated on this, I couldn’t help but picture Herschel Walker, a man that has done nothing but pushups and sit-ups from crazy angles to build a body that can only be described as “THE HERO OF THE BEACH!” So I know that it can be done.
Below Are Links to Stronger Team Strength Videos:
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I’m a typical Parent/Coach and my podcast partner Jimmy, he’s been a college coach and a has about 20 plus years of coaching kids that have gone to the very highest levels of the sport. 40 plus D 1, and several kids in the NBA that Jimmy coached and mentored. In this years NBA draft, Jim had coached what seemed like half of the lottery picks! (Stanley Johnson, Willie Cauley Stein, Kelly Oubre). Jimmy is bringing a lot to the table in terms of his knowledge and he is working his tail off to bring great guests like Alan Stein to the show.
As I edit and put together each weeks podcast, it has been like attending a master’s class in basketball and life. Listening to each episode has truly been a blessing to me. I’m a better coach and a better sports parent for having listened to the first 7 episodes we’ve produced. I wasn’t sure how effective a podcast was going to be going in, as I’m 47 and had never really listened to one! They’re great! Not saying our podcast is great, you will be the judge of that, but in general, they are a great tool for learning and it’s so easy.
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Take Care and Have a Blessed Day,