Mike Nilson on Leadership and Becoming a Complete Basketball Player

Mike Nilson eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball.

From junior high through college, Mike has performed on the court – playing for the Gonzaga Bulldogs during their Sweet 16 and Elite 8 runs where he earned the WCC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Unfortunately, during his senior year, Mike experienced an Achilles injury which forced him to reconsider his career path.

With his passion for training, nutrition, and leadership unhindered, Mike decided to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach, a licensed sports nutritionist, and a Fellow of Applied Functional Science.

Today, Mike is one of the owners of U-District PT and Sports Performance, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for his alma mater, Gonzaga University, and the owner and founder of Hoop Commitment, an online resource for basketball players, coaches, and parents.

Mike has trained NBA athletes as well as college and high school basketball stars throughout his career, but his all-time favorite ‘ballers’ are his three kids – Carter, Memphis, and Ella.

In today’s episode, Mike and I discuss how to develop a complete basketball player. We discuss the three levels of leadership he teaches to his athletes and how this roadmap helps players improve their leadership skills and on-court performance.

We discuss his training philosophy and the common misconceptions many coaches and players have about training for basketball as well as how Mike develops his training programs for basketball players.

And finally, we chat about how he shifts his focus when training basketball athletes during the off-season, pre-season, and in-season periods.


The foundation of all leadership is synergy. – Mike Nilson


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Mike’s Eat, Train, Lead philosophy when training basketball athletes
  • How to teach basketball players to be great leaders and how it can impact their on-court performance
  • Mike’s 3 Levels of Leadership Roadmap and how it helps players hone their leadership skills
  • The biggest misconceptions he sees when training basketball players
  • How he creates training programs and how he assesses his athletes to address their needs
  • How Mike’s focus shifts during the off-season, pre-season, and in-season training period when working with basketball athletes
  • What he wishes he knew about sports training as a young athlete
  • Mike’s advice for young basketball players


Connect with Mike:


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