T Nation

Playing Division 1 Ball

Hey everyone, I’ve recently decided to try out for my school’s (D-I) basketball team. I haven’t played since high school and I’m a bit rusty. Let me give you a little background info.

I’m a 6’8" 235 lbs college sophomore (my school is 5 years so eligibility wise I’d be a freshman). The reasons I didn’t try out when I first came to school were A. I was battling injuries sustained during my highschool basketball season and B.

I wanted the “normal college experience.” However, I spent one year of partying and having a good time, and I’m done with that. I discovered the iron game and really love the discipline, and rewards that it offers.

With that said, tryouts are at the end of August I believe, and I’d like to be ready to play when they come around. Here are some things I know that I need to work on, and any other comments would be greatly appreciated.

A. I’d like to get to a weight of 245 and about 10-12% BF; right now I’m at 235 and about 15%.

B. I’d like to get in basketball playing shape, something I am certainly not in

C. I’d like to get stronger in general

D. I need to become a better shooter, because in highschool I was a 5, and I’m likely going to move to a 4

E. I need better handling skills because of the aforementioned reason.

F. I need to better my agility, kind of goes with basketball playing shape, but I thought it might be worth its own category.

Basically guys, I would like your input on how I should arrange my training for the next 9 months, as well as any drills you have found effective for my goals. Also, a little postscript, in highschool i was one of the more uncoordinated people one has seen, and only in my senior year did I get to normal levels of coordination, and that year I avgd 13ppg, 6reb, and 4 bpg off the bench.

Oh yeah, I should mention that I never lifted a weight and had a mediocre at best work ethic; something I can say has changed for sure. Sorry for the long ass post

Id look at prob West Side for Skinny Bastards the way its laid out with the just one lower bosdy day gives plenty of time and energy for the Sport specific work you will need the agility, stregnth endurance etc. LOTS of sports related stuff as well as allowing you to get Strong and bigger.

Phill

[quote]Phill wrote:
Id look at prob West Side for Skinny Bastards the way its laid out with the just one lower bosdy day gives plenty of time and energy for the Sport specific work you will need the agility, stregnth endurance etc. LOTS of sports related stuff as well as allowing you to get Strong and bigger.

Phill[/quote]

I agree. Work on this program and the other stuff will come. This + your size will go a long way.

You say your not very coordinated. The big problem you will most likely have is form. I definitely would not recommend someone of your height goes and tries to start deadlifting and squatting on your own.

However, in your case deadlifting will has the potential to be the cornerstone of your program. Have someone take pictures or video of you deadlifting and post them here. We will tell you how they look. The reason I say this is that someone of your height will have a hard time maintaining correct form on the core lifts, especially a neutral lower back.

The other lifts such as bench press etc… are fine on your own. I think a bigger guys tendency would be to do the exercise with bad form because it is really hard to get the proper form, at least at the beginning. After that we can talk about the rest of your program.

But man let me tell you, if you can get to the point where you have a modest deadlift, you will be throwing people around as tall as you are…

Have you talked to the coaching staff? Try to get an appointment with someone and show them some film from H.S. so they can judge your strengths and weaknesses. If your real lucky, maybe they’ll set you up with someone from their training staff to give you some lifting instruction and share the team’s offseason training program. Good Luck.

Why not look into the ultimate offseason?

Surely you’ll learn a bunch from there

Thanks for the responses, I’ve basically doing something similar to WSSB for the last 6 months or so, and am seein pretty good results.

About contacting the coaches, I’m doing that when i get back to school in mid January. Deadlifts are one lift I do in every training block, singles up to sets of 6. Could someone direct me to “ultimate offseason?” I can’t say I’m familiar with it.

Do you go to Duke?

Damn you are LeBron’s stats.

But can you jump out of the gym?

Give Eric Cressey a ring:

www.EricCressey.com

I know he trained a lot of the UConn players… and now even some of the Duke players…

Cough, traitor, cough.

Nah I don’t go to Duke although they have been my favorite basketball team since I was 5. I go to Drexel University in Philadelphia.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Drexel is in the CAA and would probably be defined as a “mid-major.” The team is doing really well this year, something that doesn’t have an effect on my desire to play, but I’m sure it’ll probably come off like that to most people.

[quote]DukeBoSox wrote:
Nah I don’t go to Duke although they have been my favorite basketball team since I was 5. I go to Drexel University in Philadelphia.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Drexel is in the CAA and would probably be defined as a “mid-major.” The team is doing really well this year, something that doesn’t have an effect on my desire to play, but I’m sure it’ll probably come off like that to most people. [/quote]

I know Drexel. There is some good basketball in Philly. Good luck and kick some ass.

What are your actual strengths as a player? I mean you played 5 in high school because of your size, but at your BF%, height and weight, if you got into playing shape, you’d really coming into camp lighter, not heavier, and be about the ideal dimesions for a 3, not the 4 or 5.

The lack of coordination bit a little problematic for a 3, but its possible you could be a 3 along the lines of a Luke Walton/Nocioni/Dunleavy/Matt Harpring. So I’d say the first thing is figure out what you’re good at. If you really are a good rebounder, good at throwing your body around in the paint, good in the low post, sure, you want to add weight. You can certainly play 4 at 6’8" (is that bare foot btw?), and a rock solid 245.

Another consideration is what the teams needs. I haven’t seen Drexel play this season, but I see from the roster that you don’t have any big guys at all. Elegar is your best player, and he’s 6-9 and 220. You’ve got 2 guys on the roster around 240 and everyone else is light weight. What sort of tempo does the team play? What kind of offense and defense? If you go in at 240ish you’re competing with Tribbett and Formbor–can you do better than them, or would you do better dropping weight and competing against Neilser and Oveneke?

Most importantly, I’d worry a lot less about adding weight and a lot more about conditioning and basketball skills. Coaches expect first year players, even forwards, to get pushed around a bit–but they absolutely expect them to hit shots, to handle the ball, make passes, and to be able to run all day. You’re going to make the team based on your basketball skills, period–not on whether or not you have the best body among the guys tring out. Which isn’t to say you ought to neglect the weights, but I’d focus way more on actual basketball skills until you make the team. Once you’ve crossed that hurdle you can always concentrate on adding weight the following off-season.

Just my two cents. Good luck though.

Yeah I totally agree with you, and I appreciate the in depth analysis. In highschool I was a great shotblocker and great around the rim even though I was far from the strongest player down low. I am more inclined to look at playing the 4 next year, and compete as a forward, because I’ve never had experience at the 3 position, and I don’t think my handles or quickness warrant it. Although I rarely used it by virtue of my position on the court, I possessed a decent to good shot for my size, although my shooting technique left some to be desired.

Right now I’m focusing on getting bigger and stronger, and two days a week or so I’m either playing pickup basketball, or working on skills, like handling drills, shooting drills, etc. As the time goes on, I will gradually shift from focusing on strength and size to working on conditioning and technical skills, I think about 5 months out I really start shifting my focus.

I live in Wilmington, DE, and what I’ve been doing over break is going with a couple of friends down to a community center in for lack of a better term the projects, and we’ve been playing ball there. I’m quickly shaking off all my rust, and am pleasantly surprised at how much more explosive I have gotten and quicker off that first step.

You have come to the right site in my opinion.

Defranco and Cressey would be the two that I would look into.

I’ve recently started this program from elitefts.com. Although it is constructed for hockey players, it is very easy to change it around for various sports.

http://www.elitefts.com/documents/strength_program_hockey.htm

I definitely agree that West Side for Skinny Bastards is a great place to start.

Also, do a ton of plyometrics. And, if at all available, talk to some boxing trainers about getting a footwork regimen down. Being able to muscle and jump high are worthy goals, but if you can show quick feet and good lateral movement, you can make a spot for yourself.

Also, practice jumpshots with a high release and strongly consider getting some good post moves. Nobody - and I mean NOBODY - seems to have basic drop steps and post moves under control. It is a lost art that could distinguish you from other frontcourt players.

Best of luck.

I kinda disagree with the plyos. I mean, I think plyos are great, but jumping straight into heavy duty plyo work at a 240ish weight is NOT good for joints etc. Work into them slowly, use them well but be careful not to overdo it. Cycle them in and out of your training if you decide to work them, don’t just stick them in and leave them for months on end. Your body will thank you. Work more skill and conditioning to running.

You say you’re playing pick-up ball 2 times a week or so, and I don’t think that’s going to cut it for skill work.

Skill and technique practice is best done perfectly and frequently. Doesn’t really matter if you are only going to practice for 15 minutes or for 2 hours, the two most important things in hardwiring skills and techniques to your brain are 1)perfection every time and 2) frequency of exposure to stimulus. Practice doesn’t make perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect. A close 3rd thing is variety in training. Say, different dribbling drills that still work the same skill (crossover, hook/drop step, whatever) in a different way, stuff like that. Take something and make it the same, but new.

Lastly, and this is kind of a weird thing to say, but just try it: take a basketball with you wherever you go on campus or class or even sleeping (Pete Maravich, anyone?). There’s something psychological about it. Familiarity with feel of the ball, keeping your goals on your mind, I don’t know what. I just know it works.

I’M IN THE SAME SHOES as you man.

but i’m a guard, first semester i partied. but now i’m just starting to lift weight again.

what i’m 6’2 170 point guard. what i’m doing for next 4-5 months is work on strenght, if u work on strenght u will get size. and just play ball. But for me its hard to lose my skills, so i’m doing more weight lifting (ME adn DE) WSb is best for that and it helps alot.

good luck

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Lastly, and this is kind of a weird thing to say, but just try it: take a basketball with you wherever you go on campus or class or even sleeping (Pete Maravich, anyone?). There’s something psychological about it. Familiarity with feel of the ball, keeping your goals on your mind, I don’t know what. I just know it works. [/quote]

At least do it around the house. Apparently Steve Nash used to practice dribbling around campus with a tennis ball.

Thanks for all the responses, I’ll be updating this every once and a while to tell how my progress is going. When i get back to school in a couple days, I’ll probably be lifting 3 days a week, playing pickup bball twice a week, and working on technical skill work probably 5 times a week, even if it means a half hour session or something. Come March or so I’ll probably shift to lifting three days a week, pickup ball 3 days and technical skills 6 days.