We have been working with Tyler Mitchell who plays point/shooting guard for Independence Home School in Lawrence Kansas. One of the key factors to performing well in basketball is explosiveness and lift. As athletes fatigue, their shooting form tends to deteriorate. The ability to maintain a consistent and repeatable motion is paramount to a high shooting percentage.
Tyler approached and expressed that he was interested in improving his performance. He didn’t feel like he was getting the level of attention and expertise he needed from his previous training methods. We started Tyler off with a structural balance assessment to establish a baseline. This also gave us the ability to track his progress.
Based on what we saw from his structural assessment, we designed a program specifically for him and the areas he needed improvement in. After working with us for several months, we began to fine tune his training for in-season play while also being respectful of recovery time between games and practices. In addition to improving his overall strength, we also focused on developing lower body power.
THE TRAINING PROGRAM: A DEEPER DIVE
Tyler’s training started with first identifying his primary weaknesses, which was overall upper body strength and a slight imbalance of strength and flexibility between legs.
He initially tested poorly in the biacromial bench press so his upper body training was centered around primary pressing exercises with dumbbells and a lot of shoulder and scapular stabilization work. We focused on dumbbell work to improve unilateral (e.g. single-arm) strength and shoulder stability to better prepare for the follow-on barbell training.
His lower body training initially also focused on single-limb work using exercises like Split Squats and Step-Up variations using different implements (cable, dumbbells, barbell). Focusing on unilateral leg work allowed us to improve single-leg strength and flexibility of the hip flexors. The improvements in single-leg strength and flexibility better prepared him to perform the squat than if no unilateral work was performed at all.
We also worked on developing his posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves). The posterior chain is frequently underdeveloped in many athletes. Increasing Tyler’s posterior chain strength was paramount to helping him achieve his goal of being able to dunk a basketball consistently, which he can now do.
The approach we took to Tyler’s training is the the approach we use with everyone we work with.
We first identify what’s holding them back from performing well:
- Are they weak overall?
- Are they extremely tight?
- What faulty movement patterns do they have?
A comprehensive plan to address those limitations should be the first step when developing a training program because even the slightest weakness or tightness can lead to injury that could be otherwise avoided. Once these issues have been thoroughly addressed the athlete can then be progressed to more traditional training methods.
Tyler is now getting significantly more lift on his jump shots and he is able to maintain great form throughout the course of the entire game. Even when fatigued he is still performing well above the national averages. Quite simply this translates to better stats (note graphic below).
If you are a high school or college athlete or the parent of an athlete, we invite you call us today and schedule an appointment. We’d love to show you how we can make you perform better on game day.