It has been a while since my last update regarding the progress of the Men's Basketball Team at Montrose Christian (Rockville, MD). Currently the team is 15-0 and ranked Top 10 in the nation amongst numerous ranking agencies (#5 USA Today and #8 ESPN). Within the next couple of weeks we play a number of great teams. This week we have three tough games on our schedule that will be a battle from start to finish. This Wednesday Feb. 3rd we play Oak Hill Academy. For those of you who are not familiar with Oak Hill, they are another High School Hoops powerhouse. This Saturday Feb. 5th we play TC Williams, a VERY good team from Alexandria, VA. On Sunday Feb. 6th we play one of the best teams in the Baltimore area, St. Frances Academy. Lastly, be sure to tune in to our game against Findlay Prep (Las Vegas, NV) on Feb. 12th. The game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2. Check your cable provider for game time and information.
Perspectives from the Strength Coach
Since the first game, our guys have come a long way. Not only in terms of basketball but attention to their strength/conditioning and recovery. I believe I have engrained the importance of these two areas into every member of our team through consistency and education. My players simply don't feel comfortable if they fail to foam roll, weight train or stretch each week. Due to our attention and time spent in these areas, our guys are healthy, prepared and confident for every game.
I have received a number of emails asking what I do with the team during the in-season. During the season I believe every strength coach should be focused on three areas.
1. Maintenance 2. Injury Prevention 3. Recovery/Regeneration.
If you are a strength coach and not doing these things, I encourage you to reevaluate your approach. When considering training objectives for your team, put yourself in the shoes of your athletes. What is their class schedule? When is practice? How many games a week do you play on average? Doing this will help you evaluate the essential needs of your team and prevent against wasting time on areas of lesser impact.
Training high school athletes is difficult, it challenges your coaching, methodology and philosophy to the greatest degree. It all boils down to time. Here in lies my point, pick three areas and place all your time and effort on accomplishing them during the season. Below I will explain how I strive to accomplish each area of importance for the team.
Maintenance- Depending on our game schedule we will lift one to two days a week. Our lifts are short in duration (30-45 minutes) and train the total body. I do not lift legs heavy or include plyometrics in our in-season program. However, I do include body weight/sandbag/medball/low/mod. Lb. DB lower body exercises in all planes of motion and in various bases (deficit, Rear Leg Elevated, Single Leg, Bilateral).
In games and practice, players perform a TON of plyometric exercise. This is why I do not include any in my in-season program. They simply get enough of it day in and day out during the season. However, I still include other neuromuscular demanding exercises (explosive movements) such as Kettlebell swings and med ball throws/slams to train the hips to be fast and explosive. Jumping capability is all about creating a connection (primarily neuromuscular) between the upper and lower body. These movements do just that! Kettlebell swings aren't just for Dragon Door enthusiasts or RKC Leaders. Basketball players can do them too and jump better by performing them!
Injury Prevention- During our training sessions we will perform a number of stability and mobility drills. To keep the ankles resistant to injury, I implement various manual resistance and band exercises at the end of each training session to strengthen the ankle complex and glute medius. Soft tissue quality is also an area I tend to focus on. At the end of every session we perform a foam roll series to improve circulation, range of motion and localized tightness/soreness. Click HERE to read more about our foam roll program. The article appeared in last months issue of Dime Magazine.
Recovery/Regeneration- To touch on this area we team stretch after every practice and game. Foam rolling also falls into this category. When we have the time, once a week I will encourage our guys to do a bit of contrast treatment by icing and heating. If you have had the chance to talk to any of our players I am always keeping tabs on them. On off days, I put calls/text messages into players I feel need the attention of our Athletic Trainer's (EJ Scofield) clinic to receive stim, ultra sound and cold/warm tub treatment. Lastly, I am continuously staying on top of the nutrition and sleep patterns of our players. Quite possibly the two most important factors to keep your athletes healthy!
Media on the Team
I have included a number of articles and videos from our past games this season. I am extremely proud of each member of this years team and take every advantage to acknowledge their successes. Be sure to read/watch and extend your support in the comments section.
If you are at any of our upcoming games be sure to say hello! Follow me on TWITTER if you would like to receive daily training and game updates on the basketball team at Montrose Christian. Hopefully the remainder of the season will bring us many more shining moments. Thanks for your continued support!
Matt Johnson, M.S
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Montrose Christian