Hard to believe the NBA players disbanded their union. Thirteen years ago when the NBA had a lockout, it cost the season 50 games per team and the All Star Game was canceled. The NBA lockout of 2011 has cost 324 games to be canceled, which is 26% of the season. Currently the players have filed two anti-trust lawsuits against the NBA and its owners. It has been 5 years since David Stern, NBA Commissioner first met with the union leaders to begin settling the various points of contention (according to a ESPN report). The labor dispute between the players and the owners so far is costing the average player over $220,000, according to CNBC. With this type of financial loss and an unlikely quick resolve, players have a lot of free time on their hands.
Do you wonder how these athletes are staying in shape while they sit idle? I have had the pleasure of working with several professional athletes throughout my career from MMA to hockey to pro-tennis. But the NBA lockout has given me a little extra business in that I am working with basketball players again. Since I am not fighting Bulls traffic in my West Loop neighborhood (I am located down the street from the United Center), I also have a little extra time to train Philly 76er Andre Iguodala. Although he is not my first ball player, he is actually the most athletic one I have encountered.
Iguodala is a fairly well-rounded player. At 6’6 and a little over 200 pounds he has taken up boxing as a mean to stay in peak shape and diversify his training. I was pleased when I first met Iguodala earlier this fall. He was up for anything. He was honest that he needed help with his flexibility and was open to more than just boxing. He wanted to do a lot of the balance drills which I have routinely used with my athletes to help with overall joint stability which in the long term prevents injuries.
Iguodala is positioned inside of the negotiations; he has been present at many of the meetings and legal proceedings. But he is staying prepared with hopes that he cold be playing tomorrow.
Iguodala was referred to me through his PT David Reavy. Reavy said Iguodala wanted to mix things up and loved boxing workouts. I figured he wanted a little athletic challenge for entertainment, but turns out Iguodala really embraces the technical aspects of boxing. Our training consists of bosu drills, flexibility, abs galore and non-stop boxing drills and conditioning. Although we stop to address technical aspects of punching and footwork, Iguodala wants to be in ‘ready-to-go-shape.’
With all his free-time, Iguodala is not just sitting around. He is the gym with his various trainers, many of them located all over the US, mixing up his workouts. But he is not the only player that is trying to make the most of their costly time-off. I have had 2 other ball players with the same intentions as Iguodala.
My mini consensus all express the same goal – ‘make me work, keep my legs strong, kill my abs and teach me to box.’ There are several places that offer boxing in the US that have rock solid trainers. When you find a trainer/gym that can do all of this in a 45-60 minute session you will get the most efficient workout. The nature of the high intensity intervals and the total body application of punching mitts or bags is an ideal workout for professional athletes who seek cross training. As you add sport specific conditioning like heavy ropes, medicine balls, bosu, tire work and pulleys, it elevates boxing to one of the most perfect workouts available.
So basketball fans should know that Iguodala, like a lot of basketball players, are not just taking vacations. They are aware of the repercussions of the NBA lockout, beyond the fans and the loss of a paycheck. As finely tuned athletes their bodies rely on the rigorous training of the season to maintain their athletic skills. Sitting dormant is not beneficial to their personal game. Although I am enjoying the extra privates that have come my way as a result of the NBA lockout- I too want to see the season start by Christmas.