As we begin the 2008-2009 season, the UCLA Athletic Performance Department would like to provide an inside look at the training and intense work our basketball program put forth this summer. Many people underestimate the strength and conditioning needed to compete in a basketball game against the top teams in the nation. The off-season training program here at UCLA is vital in preparing our basketball players to the physical demands leading up to the grueling schedule spanning up to 6 months a year. Without a proper year-round training program, an athlete could peak at the wrong time during the season, and not be able to endure the demands of the toughest part of season - the NCAA tournament. Because basketball is a game of brief, intense and repeated bursts of action with short rest periods during timeouts, free throws, and out of bounds, the ability to recover is vital to the success of the team. With understanding these demands, both the men's and women's basketball teams went through a voluntary 12-week off-season training program which incorporated developing speed, strength, power, conditioning and functional movements. Both the men and women's teams put forth unprecedented efforts this off-season to enhance their overall performance on the court.
The men's team had tough-minded upperclassman here this summer to challenge themselves, and the five incoming freshman, to get stronger both physically and mentally in hopes of achieving the rank as one of the top teams this season. The men's team trained four times a week with an emphasis on maximizing strength and power. Two days were focused on intense upper body training, while the other two days were used to develop leg strength and power. Darren Collison and James Keefe spent much of their time in the weightroom and have both added 10 lbs since the end of last season. Josh Shipp and Mike Roll spent most of the summer focusing on conditioning, flexibility, and increasing leg strength for the long season ahead. In addition to our rigorous training, each of our players were encouraged to play up at Men's Gym where many professional players from the NBA and overseas play to work on their game during the off-season.
The five freshmen moved to the UCLA campus during the summer to get a head start on both their class work and their training program. They have all made great improvements this summer with a 3 day a week full body-training program. All heavily recruited freshmen came in with a strong work ethic, intense competitiveness, and an eagerness to improve. These characteristics allowed them to make strides in gaining strength, increasing power, and also developing mental toughness for the upcoming demands of pre-season practices.
Women's basketball, with their leadership from four returning starters, spent the last 12 weeks training 3 days a week with a large emphasis on basketball specific movements and conditioning. Each session contained a 20-minute dynamic warm-up with basketball specific movements, 40 minutes of full body strength training, and 20 minutes of conditioning. Much of the conditioning took place on the basketball court and consisted of short intense sprints with a decreasing rest time. Both freshmen, Atonye Nyingifa and Rebekah Gardner, also began their college career at UCLA this summer to start school and begin their training in preparation for the upcoming season.
During the preseason, each team will continue a 3-day per week training program with two additional days of conditioning leading up to the first day of practice. The preseason conditioning will take place in Pauley Pavilion and consist of short, intense sprints and basketball movements (defensive slides, closeouts, sprinting the lanes) with minimal recovery times to mimic the demands of a basketball game. Once practice begins on October 17, we will start an in-season training program consisting of two training sessions a week. These in-season trainings will have an emphasis on maintaining strength, preventing injuries and also focusing on recovery from intense practices and games.
Both the men and women's basketball teams went above beyond this off-season - pushing themselves daily to continually improve individually and as a team. This dedication and the understanding of what it takes to be successful at this high level of competition has prepared each of our athletes the opportunity to have a successful 2008-2009 basketball season.
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