Well it is that time of year for the San Antonio Highland Games. Head out to the Helotes Fairgrounds and cheer on these athletes. We've got some of the best men and women in the world getting after it.
Saturday will have Masters World Champion and former NFL player Mike Baab, Masters World Champion and oldest Professional Highland Games competitor Mike Dickens, Masters World Champion Dean Ross at the age of 70+ still on the field competing!!! Anthony Lordi traveling from Switzerland to compete as well as many others in the Masters Class. The Women's class will have Brittney Boswell fresh off competing in her first Women's World Championship last weekend.
Sunday will have the Amateur Classes doing battle to see who's the best!! There are 3 levels of amateur then our Novice Class which is the beginner class.
These athletes will compete in 7-9 events depending on their level.
It is always a fun and exciting time for the whole family!! Come on out and cheer them on and visit the entire festival with fun, food, music, and shopping.
Check out this video of Mike Dickens throwing!! Think you're STRONG...Think you're POWERFUL....come give the Highland Games a try!!!
And some thoughts on Strength Training for Basketball. Today Sally and I went over to Memorial Park to do a little running!! That's right after all I've been though with my infections and surgeries the last year+, I've finally been cleared to do a little running to strengthen up my Achilles (or lack of) and heart. I have to say that it went better than I had expected!!
When we had finished I saw one of my favorite NBA players from long ago. Think I scared the crap out of him when I got out of the car to say hello!! Clyde "The Glide" Drexler I met him and a couple of other Portland Trail Blazers way back during the 1989-90 NBA Championships while I was training David Greenwood, a member of the Detroit Pistons, who would go on to beat the Blazers!! I was blessed 10 years later to coach 2 of those Blazers' players Jerome Kersey and Terry Porter.
Well during the conversation of guys we both knew we spoke on the importance of strength training in basketball...WHAT YOU SAY!! A player from that era who understands the importance of strength in basketball?? Well he does and spoke to me about the program that was at University of Houston where he played his college ball. Clyde has his degree in Kinesiology so we speak the same language and he told me the importance of "putting up" some shots after strength work to get the muscle memory back and how crappy the first shots (sometimes all of them) would be!! I told him that I learned that from David Greenwood way back when I met him in 1987 and it's always stuck with me.
So I began to think of the path of acceptance of proper strength training for basketball. When I first met David Greenwood at the gym and on the track where he approached me about training him. He explained that when he played at UCLA John Wooden forbid the players from weight training that it would make them "muscle bound". Of course this was back in the late 70's so....I thought about when I was with the Spurs and was stretching Jaren Jackson who played at Georgetown and his old coach John Thompson, who was doing the TV broadcast remarked how much flexibility work we were doing. I asked him how much they concentrated on strength and flexibility during his tenure at Georgetown and his answer suprised the hell out of me...NONE he says!! WOW I said!! How about during the 1999 NBA Championships Jeremy Schaap from ESPN comes over to me as I'm sitting before practice watching the media frenzy that is the NBA Finals and he sticks his microphone and camera in my face and begins to tell me how NY Knicks Coach Jeff VanGundy says too many basketball players are spending too much time in the weightroom and not enough time working on fundamental skills of course I answer...."You've got to be kidding me...what a dumbass!!" I then do my schpeal about the importance of strength training as well as the importance of skill work but I look at Jeremy and say...."what do I know I'm just the assistant, let's see what my boss says" and Brungy says the exact same thing!! Of course you never saw that interview because Spurs Head Coach Greg "Pop" Popovich saw myself and Brungy being interviewed and sent Media Director Tom James over to cut that interview off...haha!! He asked us what was going on over there and I told him....and being Pop he quickly forbid either of us to talk to any media!!! I complained it was my one shot at greatness and he stole it from me!! Of course I can't say what he told me in response!! ;-) I also told Clyde about how I once asked Houston Rockets Head Coach Rudy Tomjanovich what he thought of strength training in basketball as I was having some difficulties at UTSA getting guys to believe in what I was doing and he told me that if they didn't believe in strength training that they would never see his level and he then introduced me to Robert Barr his Strength Coach. That has always stayed with me as well.
Bottom line....there are some old NBA players out there that were instrumental in paving the way for the acceptance of Strength Training in Basketball. I've been around long enough to see the transformation. Unfortunately, now most NBA basketball strength programs are a joke having lost sight of the real purpose of why they are there. Maybe we'll explore that next!!
My thanks to guys like Clyde Drexler, David Greenwood, Karl "The Mailman" Malone, and Kobe Bryant to name a few. If not for them I would not have had the experience of a lifetime as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NBA!!
Some time ago I posted a picture and a blog about our in-season strength training and while most of the responses I recieved were great I had a few of the normal BS comments like; just how strong do you have to be, I don't need to be that strong to be successful, he didn't squat deep enough and a couple more. Watch the video from 3 News in New Zealand of Ben's try score against the Highlanders and tell me again that you don't you need to be strong or that you are strong enough already. Ben's score starts at the :15 second mark and watch him destroy the Highlander trying to tackle him at at :20 second mark. Pure Strength and Power!!! So now ask yourself does your training stand up to this test??
Play Hard...Train Harder...NO EXCUSES (it's a way of living your life not just a saying)