I’ve now passed at the halfway point of my personal training camp here in Las Vegas, and I’m definitely starting to see results through the first seven weeks.
I’m on schedule -- if not a little bit ahead -- in terms of where I feel my body should be athletically and physically, and how much it has changed. I have noticed significant improvement in my workout performance. My overall athleticism — in terms of my flexibility, my leaping ability, speed and things of that nature — is better.
My trainer is charting all of those things statistically, but for me, it’s about personal feel, how many reps I can do and how my conditioning has changed from the state I was in when I first started working out. Based on those things and the numbers he’s recorded, I’m doing pretty well.
I think I’m getting the most out of the conditioning during weight training. The boxing that I’ve been doing has been good for conditioning, stamina and coordination. So is the swimming, which also tightens up a lot of my muscles, and helps me with some breathing techniques. But the basic strength work, from a conditioning angle, has been the most productive. I’ve been able to increase my reps when weightlifting with less rest in between sets.
Although physical appearance doesn’t necessarily equate to more productivity on the court, it does symbolize that work is being done.
The confidence is there for sure. I can feel the strength. I’ve noticed changes in my physical look -- I can see the muscle definition in parts of my body that I haven’t really seen it before. Although physical appearance doesn’t necessarily equate to more productivity on the court, it does symbolize that work is being done. I plan to use it.
Once you get in the habit of working out daily for a month or so, you’re mentally into the routine. But I think physically, it’s still taxing every morning -- having to get up early and then again in the afternoon -- and go through a grueling workout. I don’t think that’s something you can ever get used to. But I understand that I’m doing it for the benefit of my body and my game. It’s important because to do the things I want to do this year, personally and for my team, I have to be in the best physical condition of my life.
I’ve also gotten accustomed to healthier eating. I’ve got catered meals coming in every Monday and Thursday, and I’m doing my best to stick to it. Because I’m training so much, I had initially lost a little bit of weight, so there were some opportunities to get some extra normal meals in there, which I always enjoy. I do have the occasional cheat here and there just to keep me refreshed. My cheats aren’t really food, but I’ll have some candy or some type of sugary snack that it’d probably be best if I stayed away from. Sweet Tarts are my No. 1 cheat food.
FOCUS ON THE COURT
While we’ve been picking up the pace in the swimming, running and weight training workouts, I’m also starting to focus more on basketball activities and court work as we approach September. I can only see so much based on physical workout measurements, so now it’s time to see how it translates onto the court. I think here in the next few weeks to a month, I’ll be able to gauge how much things have changed for me as a player.
For that reason, my workouts have changed a bit. Each day, we’ll do 45 minutes of something. Maybe three days a week, I’ll do pool work and some exercises with my actual athletic trainer. Sometimes, we’ll be at the track or in the weight room before the court, but the emphasis is on the court work in the morning.
From there, I’m on a 90-minute to two-hour basketball workout schedule every morning, five days a week. Then at nighttime, we’re still focusing on strength and explosiveness.
The key is to be consistent at the level you feel you should be playing at, not just have good games periodically.
Swimming as much as I was early this summer was definitely different. I’ve never been in the water as much as I have this summer. I understand the benefits of that in particular. At the same time, it will never be a substitute for basketball conditioning. I still do some pool work, but my priority is definitely shifting to the court, to building up stamina, and working on my skills and conditioning there more than in the pool or on the track.
The court work that I do is pretty specific. I work one-on-one with a basketball trainer. We work from four areas of the court that I feel very comfortable with, and where my team can utilize me in a positive way.
Always wanted one in my house so i got it (kid dreams).... they said if you want it bad enough you'll live in there (current dreams)
One is down on the post, so I’ve been doing work in there to improve my post moves. Another is being able to hit the open three at a high percentage, so I’ve been getting a lot of threes up because I really want to get back up over 40 percent if not higher on threes. I’d like to shoot a career-high from there. The next station involves quick, one-dribble or two-dribble moves that are effective for me when I get into isolation situations. The goal of that is to be as effective as I can within tight spaces at about 17 feet with one-on-one moves. I want to become real efficient in there. And the last station focuses on being more effective finishing around the rim.
One of the things I’m focusing on is being more consistent. As a player, your goal is to be able to perform at a high level every night. Part of that is staying healthy. Part of it is being in the physical condition to take on the role. Then it’s a matter of your skill level, and being efficient with what I know I can do really well. With those three things in mind, I anticipate being able to perform every night.
I can look back on games when I performed well either for one night or for an extended period of time, but the key is to be consistent at the level you feel you should be playing at, not just have good games periodically. You need to be able to do your job at a high level every single night despite the atmosphere or how your body may feel, and fully have the understanding of how to get it done every time that you step foot on the court.
Experience alone is a great learning and teaching tool for next season, but my overall strength and the confidence I have in what I can physically do out there on the court is important. It’s no longer just what I mentally want to do or have a passion for. I’m reaching a point where I can physically get out on the court and do it while guys are trying to stop me from achieving that goal. That’s something I’m more confident with at this point in the summer than I ever have been, and I plan to progress even more as the season gets closer.
I have to take that next step. I anticipate growing as a player as it relates to my overall ability on offense and defense. That’s something I’m definitely looking forward to. I will be prepared for it.