Mike Roncarati is not only an awesome coach and physical therapist, but a good friend as well.
And when you get the opportunity to interview an NBA-caliber coach/therapist, you jump at the opportunity!
In the interview below, Mike and I talk in-depth with regards to his philosophy, off-season and in-season programming, as well as the role and value of recovery.
Mike, thanks for taking the time to be with us here today. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
I really appreciate you having me, Mike. I currently work as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Golden State Warriors, with my boss, and good friend Keke Lyles, who is the Director of Performance.
Prior to working in the NBA, I was a physical therapist at an outpatient, physician-owned clinic in my home state of RI. We were also the sports medicine provider for all but one of the URI athletic teams. There I treated the gamut of patients, but the majority of my caseload were athletes and “weekend warriors.”
Outside of the clinic, word of mouth also afforded me the possibility to do a lot of my own rehab and training/coaching at Next Level Athlete Training Center and out of my home. I definitely “hustled” my first two years out of school with clients and continuing education, but I saw it as an opportunity to practice my passion, expose myself to a wide variety of people and athletes with different backgrounds, injury histories, and goals, refine my craft, network, and help people achieve and exceed their expectations in the process.
Before “real life” I received my DPT at Northeastern University in Boston, where I was lucky to be exposed to some awesome people who have remained good friends and people I really respect in the field. I had a handful of great professors, was lucky to be introduced to Art Horne and the rest of the Strength and Conditioning Staff at NU, and a small group of awesome classmates, one of whom I owe my current job in the NBA to.
The pinnacle of my education, however, was completing my last clinical rotation with Bill Hartman, in Indiana. Bill is the most knowledgeable person I have ever worked with and is always pushing the envelope with himself and his students. I do not know a professional who spends more time learning, attending continuing education, and honing his skills.
I feel like the amount of young people in this field that have spent time with Bill or yourself in the clinic or at IFAST, many of whom are doing great things in this industry, is a testament to the expertise, tutelage, commitment to education, and the environment you both have cultivated since opening.
I’m in total agreement with regards to Bill – the guy never ceases to amaze me with his dedication to his craft.
Tell us a little bit about your background, because you’re unique in the fact that you’re both a physical therapist AND a strength/performance coach.
I always loved sports and I grew up in a household with an athletic background. Both my father and younger sister were full scholarship, Division 1 athletes who had short stints in professional athletics but being a chubby, 5’6’’ and 165 pounds as a junior in high school meant that I was the furthest thing from an athletic specimen.
Thus, I devoted much of my time throughout my sophomore, junior and senior years in the weight room with my dad just trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster, so I could play a lot more during my senior year.
By the time I graduated high school, I had grown 6 inches and gained 30 lbs. Obviously puberty and genetics had a big role, but I felt like I owed much of that transformation to my training and diet. I had always been interested in science and human physiology, so I knew I could blend my love of science and training to study this in college and make a career out of it.
I originally planned on an Exercise Science major at Northeastern and then as a strength and conditioning coach in the NFL.
However, fate kind of took over.
The school got rid of that major in favor of a focus on Clinical Exercise Physiology. I was placed in the entry level DPT program. It had a good reputation and I noticed that much of the coursework included a lot of general sciences, exercise physiology/ kinesiology classes. I also had enough foresight to realize that obtaining a clinical degree could never be a bad thing, so I decided to see it through, forging my own path along the way.
During school my freshman year, I got certified as a personal trainer and I started training clients at the campus gym and also delved much deeper into my own training and conditioning over the next 4 years.
I loved T-nation, Elitefts.com, and became exposed to Coach Boyle, Dan John, Berardi, Chad Waterbury, Thibedeau, Poliquin, yourself, and Cressey. It exposed me to “in the trenches” nutrition, training, and applied science that I never would have been exposed to in school.
I really have yourself and Eric to thank for making me see the connection between performance and the rehabilitation process. Seeing 2 performance coaches who actually lifted heavy things, but wrote about anatomy and biomechanics, really fulfilled both the nerd and meathead in me.
Your Neanderthal No More Series and Feel Better for 10 Bucks, made me realize I could do both and blend my degree with my love of the weight room and performance enhancement and paved the way for my subsequent learning.
I continued on the educational road, spending much more time training clients and reading outside of the classroom, and trying to observe people I felt were at the forefront of the rehabilitation and strength and conditioning fields.
It led me to reach out to three great professors of mine; Paul Canavan, Larry Cahalin, and Dave Nolan, the director of Athletic Care at NU, Art Horne, Eric Cressey, and eventually Bill Hartman for a clinical.
Northeastern also afforded me the opportunity to meet Charlie Weingroff, who quickly became another clinician I highly regarded. The writings of Shirley Sahrmann, Gray Cook, Stuart McGill, and Robert Panariello also made me realize rehabilitation was indeed much more than I was exposed to during much of my curriculum.
Frank, Lardner and Page’s Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance, was a game changer for me in that it really underscored the role of the nervous system and neuroscience in musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
Thanks to these mentors and resources, I caught the “rehab bug”.
I saw PT as a place I could leave my mark and bridge the gap between the highest levels of performance and fundamental human deficiencies, many of which cannot necessarily be ameliorated through a “strength and stretch” intervention often championed in the traditional, allopathic PT model.
Continuing education the first 2 years after school centered on rehab. PRI, DNS, SFMA, Fascial Manipulation and regular seminars kept the juices flowing. I read more about pain science and was exposed to Butler, Moseley, and the NOI group.
My new position has forced me to delve deeper into the performance spectrum and re-familiarize myself with the texts of Verkoshansky, Issurin, Bondarchuk, Charlie Francis, Mel Siff, Atku Viru, Tudor Bompa, Louie Simmons, and Joel Jamieson.
The past 3 years have also afforded me the opportunity to meet tons of like-minded, progressive people and my current position has allowed me to reach out and make connections with people who have influenced me and humbled me from afar for some time now.
There are so many people who drive me to be better and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Eric Oetter, Zac Cupples, Sam Leahey, Doug Kechijian, Connor Ryan, Patrick Ward, Mark McLaughlin, Chris Chase, Eric Schmitt, and Mark Torok, as people who have continued to foster my learning in person and from afar.
I also competed with Northeastern’s powerlifting team, NUPL, for 2 years. That provided me an outlet to experiment with my own training, my own rehab and recovery efforts, and provide the tangible competitive outlet that I had been missing the prior 3 years.
That competing also allowed me to connect better with my athletes. I can relate to dieting, training, waking up really early, balancing a social life with training and preparation, the camaraderie of being part of a team and an entity bigger than yourself, and fully investing in something.
Prior to competing, my training centered around experimentation with different things I was reading for use on the clientele I was working with and myself. Work, travel, education, and clients have since consumed the majority of my schedule over the past 3 plus years, but I am training enough that when I get a 9-12 month period that offers enough stability to really dial in my training, I will get on the platform again. It is hard training in hotels with Nautilus equipment or dumbbells that don’t go over 50 lbs.
I hear ya – I know how hard it is to find the work-life balance, especially when you’re traveling a bunch!
Tell us about your gig with the Golden State Warriors – most specifically, how did you get set-up with an awesome job like that?
I owe my current position to my boss and great friend, Keke Lyles. Keke and I were classmates at Northeastern and always shared the same clinical and professional interests, ambitions, and drive.
We were always like-minded in principle, talked shop during school, dropped ideas about training and performance related topics, and surrounded ourselves with people that we knew would foster our growth. We both worked crazy hours during our college years.
Starting during our 3rd year in school, Keke worked with Art and became the head women’s strength coach during our senior year. He also traveled with the Men’s basketball team for 2 years as an assistant strength coach. I worked between 20-30 hours a week training clients for 4 years at our campus gym, in addition to helping out occasionally in the athletic weight room.
Because we both had been simultaneously studying and working, we were able to experiment with lot of what we were thinking and learning about in school and our extracurricular endeavors, be they seminars we attended or things we were reading. Our clients/athletes became our lab, so we were able to connect on this level.
Keke always knew he wanted to work in professional sports, especially the NBA. He used his skill set, work/clinical opportunities and network to make this happen. He interned with the Celtics during school, extended his third clinical rotation and worked as a student PT/assistant strength and conditioning coach with the Pacers.
After graduation, he was the head strength and conditioning coach with the Timberwolves for 2 years. Last July, Keke accepted a job with the Warriors, and he was given the opportunity to bring an assistant on staff.
While I was always interested in working in pro sports, I was also privy to the negative stigma surrounding them from some people I really admire in the field. Because of this, working in this realm wasn’t necessarily a make or break career aspiration.
However, in the right situation, I knew it could be an awesome gig. Resources are much less finite, you have ample time with your athletes, and with a good team, you can immerse yourself in all facets of their care.
With a progressive, like-minded individual like Keke at the helm, I knew this could be that right situation. After about 1 minute of deliberation, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up; I moved west.
Very cool – now let’s start with the basics, such as assessment and intake. When you get a new athlete in, what do you want to look at or examine?
We always start with a quick sit down with our athletes. When we first got there, we wanted to know about their training history, injury history, what they liked/didn’t like, what they felt like were their strengths and weaknesses, and what they thought they needed to do to make themselves a more skilled, resilient player.
In the beginning, we saw this as an opportunity to meet them and try to develop rapport with the players as “the new guys” in the organization. Obviously, it also provides valuable insight to what the player is thinking and helps us make more informed decisions about their programming.
We really value subjective insight and the role of the past experience in the training process, so educating our players is a huge priority for us as a staff. If they are coming from a different team or the D-League mid-season, we do the above, but we will also reach out to the previous team’s strength coach to get a feel for the environment the player was coming from and the stimuli they were exposed to.
After this, we take resting heart rate, pulse ox, and perform a biomechanical assessment; that is very PRI based in nature. We also perform an FMS and Y-Balance test to get a baseline of objective data.
If I suspect any joint derangement or provoke pain with the above, I will perform a more thorough neurodynamic assessment, special tests and joint assessment and make our athletic trainers aware of the situation. Shoulders, knees, ankles/ feet and the lumbar spine back are specific areas of interest I usually will proactively investigate- here is where my clinical experience really augments the programming and coaching process.
After the above, we have our players perform a max vertical jump with a countermovement, a 4 jump, a max single leg jump on each leg, and a single leg hop on each leg. We will do max pull ups and a conservative 3RM with a trap bar deadlift for the strength portion to appraise. We will collect ¾ court sprint times and have them perform the Lane agility test used during the combine.
Finally, we have been doing the beep test this summer as our assessment of aerobic fitness. During the past year, however, if we got a new player, or we were returning an athlete to the court, we would use a 1 minute sprint test or modified Cooper as our fitness assessment. We measure the results of the above tests, and also record max heart rate, average heart rate, and 60 and 180 second heart rate recovery for the fitness testing.
Upon the conclusion of the performance piece, we will disseminate our findings to the athlete and give them a rough outline of our goals in training based on their weaknesses and strengths. This provides a forum for them to ask questions and delve a little deeper in to our training philosophy and the subsequent plan of attack.
As a physical therapist, do you feel that influences your philosophy with regards to the performance piece?
I don’t think you can ever downplay past experience and how it molds the way in which you attack the present or future. My rehabilitation background, my own injury/ pain history, and my experience in patient care certainly influences my performance philosophy and shapes my thought process.
Obviously, I feel more qualified to perform more in-depth biomechanical or joint assessment due to my clinical background. I also feel very comfortable working with a painful population.
Even as a PT in the clinical setting, after my manual intervention and non-manual PRI/ DNS resets, my exercise selection very much resembled what you would see from “a strength coach” or with athletes. We deadlifted, squatted, lunged, did push ups, pull- ups, Get Ups, jumped, skipped, and threw things.
Motor ability and proficiency determined the how the exercises were implemented and progressed. Parameters like range of motion, volume, intensity, and complexity were individualized based on the capacity and skill of the patient.
More poignantly, though, my rehab experience, made me appreciate the entire continuum of human performance and pathology.
Prior to my first clinical affiliation in a skilled nursing facility, I had only worked with relatively healthy, active individuals whose main goals were performance or aesthetically based or to ameliorate minor injuries that really only impaired recreational physical activity.
The nursing home was a whole different ball game. It exposed me to people with a host of differing medical conditions and different functional capabilities. This was rehab at a fundamental level.
I was immediately exposed to sensitivity and fragility of the human body. For some people, rolling over in bed was arduous therapy, taxed their system, and might be the only viable active treatment option in a forty-five minute session.
On the opposite end, I was also exposed to the resiliency and plasticity of the human body. There were also patients that were left incapacitated because of stroke, MI, or a neurodegenerative disorder some short time earlier, that were determined to walk so they could return home to their spouse or loved ones, or just so they could independently ambulate, eat or bathe again.
During my second rotation, I would have to initiate rehab on some very fit, strong athletes only an hour or 2 out of shoulder, knee or ankle surgery. These patients had so much protective tone and edema that they couldn’t move their joints more than 10 degrees, yet they were expected to reach certain ambulation or motion milestones within 5 days.
It was eye-opening to see these patients struggle and succeed, and endure both extremes of the human condition in the form of severe vulnerability and functional achievement.
The clinical setting also sensitized me to the wide variety of personalities I will come across and interact throughout the lifespan. You wouldn’t believe the diversity in personality and experience expressed among a relatively homogeneous demographic population.
Past experience is a huge influence on how the patient presents and it is imperative not to underestimate the power of the patient’s history, diction, mindset and how one can influence that patient’s neuroception, cognitive processing, and internal physiology solely via our interaction and delivery.
Fostering a safe environment, educating patients, and listening to what the patient says, not to distort or minimize their goals or feelings, is an integral aspect of care often overlooked. Our job is less about doing more, but more about removing the noise that hinders our patients and athletes’ progress, and accompanies whatever we label as their “dysfunction or disability”. Creating a positive environment for our athletes in the weight room and giving them a forum to speak with us privately and directly with office hours, is how we have tried to take this approach in our current model.
Wow that’s an awesome answer! So when the off-season rolls around, do you have any specific priorities or focal areas you want to touch upon with your athletes?
It is our goal to first maximize the health and resiliency of our players. They need to be rested and ready, but they also need to be exposed to the stimuli they will be subjected to throughout the year.
At season’s end, we have exit interviews and tell our guys to leave the area, go on vacation, and give themselves a mental respite.
We advise them that its not a time to forego training with unlimited latitude to drink and eat themselves into oblivion, but as a time to clear their head and get away from basketball.
We suggest during these 2-3 weeks, they remain active but not with anything regimented-the season and our training is regimented enough. Hike, bike, swim, snorkel, wind surf, do bodyweight and callisthenic type exercise, yoga, etc are perfect options.
The first 2-3 weeks of organized training has an emphasis on regeneration and actively addressing any injuries they may have accumulated over the long season in an effort to prevent problems from manifesting later on in the summer or during the season.
During this phase very low intensity (nder 120 bpm), longer cardiac output work, body weight exercises, stabilization drills and some targeted manual therapy is executed. We will use assisted patterning and isometric positional holds of our main exercises in the upcoming phases to prepare the body.
The next phase involves improving work capacity and building a base of fitness with longer cardiac output sessions in the 130-140 bpm range, and introduction to more intense aerobic- based methods including tempo runs, HICT, HRI, and explosive repeats.
We then focus on a 3 week maximum strength phase, where conditioning is still maintained but only 3 sessions a week. This is followed by a more intense, 3 week aerobic power phase which we do 3-5 sets of 2-3’ runs at 90-110%vVO2 max (as determined by the Beep Test results) 1-2 times/ week with other aerobic-focused strategies also implemented
We also did a proportionately high volume tempo/ oxidative work during this phase in the weight room after 1 or 2 exercises performed between 50-70% at max speeds for 2-3 reps and 3-5 sets.
Finally, we try to have a 2-3 week intensification phase in which we focus on sport specific conditioning with more intensive jumping, sprinting, bounding and skipping on the court, and weighted movements with fast accelerations, accommodating resistances, and high speeds in the weight room on our intensive days.
During this phase, non-intensive days are very low volume and intensity. We will do KB drills, crawling and varying bodyweight drills, or low volumes/ duration of tempo work.
At the conclusion of this phase, we perform a short 7-10 day taper/ unloading week before camp starts. As the summer progresses, there is more volume of basketball work, and overall less work in the weight room.
We had a few of our players who followed this template throughout the summer because they stuck around. Training adjustments were made based on objective and subjective readiness and physiological data/ testing results.
Other players go home, have their own trainers, or do their own things to prepare themselves. We’re in touch with these players and their trainers throughout the summer, and will visit them at least once or fly them back to Oakland for a few days to make sure they’re comfortable with what they are doing and that everything is going alright.
Also, the front office/ coaching staff will provide us with their own analysis of a player’s needs to aid in their skill work and performance on the basketball court and this will be taken into account for their individual training programs.
The in-season in the NBA is obviously a massive grind. How different is your program between the off-season and in-season?
My first season took a toll on me, and I was merely traveling, not playing in a high-pressure environment 3-5 nights/week. Its hard to appreciate what these guys are subjected to, they really are the cream of the crop.
Thus, the in-season is more about maintaining qualities we attempted to build during the offseason, monitoring workload, and keeping our players healthy.
We use OmegaWave monitoring, daily performance measures such as vertical jump, and subjective measures, and a weekly sub-maximal fitness test, to determine our athletes’ current physiological state.
From there, we prescribe individually to the athlete. Some of our athletes objectively need to get stronger, some could be more elastic or powerful, some need more aerobic fitness, all need triplanar mobility, and all need to ensure they have adequate CNS function and ANS balance from the demands of the sport, schedule, and travel.
We try to intervene in some capacity 5-6x/week. This includes lifting, conditioning, and recovery days.
For players who play a lot of minutes, recovery and maintenance is the name of the game. We try to keep the stimuli variable with “flush” bike rides, easy cardiac output work, low threshold stabilization drills, unilateral Lower and Upper extremity work/KB drills 2-4 days a week depending on schedule.
These are the sessions of choice for these players when playing a lot of games during the week. We do a lot of bodyweight and light-moderate weight strength circuits in season with our guys who play heavy minutes.
Once every seven to twelve days, we may program a speed focused day where we use 3-6 sets of 2-4 reps with 40-65% of a max on deadlift, squat or press variation like a KB deadlift, Box squat, or floor press, accelerated at max speeds to maintain alactic power without overloading their musculoskeletal system.
We may also choose to do a low volume of work over 85% 1RM to maintain maximum strength qualities and recruit high threshold motor units that way. For fitness maintenance we might perform 3 to 5, 2-3 minute bouts of Aerobic Power intervals on bikes or gravity assisted treadmill at 85% bodyweight once every 2 weeks for our fit players who play a lot, based on their sub-max fitness results, to maintain cardiac fitness when we get a few days off and don’t have a high game volume.
For those who play less, we will incorporate more intense strength training sessions, higher total lifts above 85%, or more volume during those speed days between 50 and 65% of their 1 RM.
In between the CNS intensive sessions, we will program more general/moderate strength sessions and program intense fitness work once every 5-8 days. These players will also be more likely to perform a moderate volume of higher intensity aerobic methods such as tempo runs, threshold runs, HICT, HRI, or incline sprint intervals during the year to maintain fitness, with occasional higher intensity anaerobic conditioning if we deem it warranted.
Many will condition after games if they didn’t play. If guys feel like they need to do anything particular on a specific day out of routine or, “because they just need to, or this gives me my edge”, we are open to that as well. We will certainly do our best to dictate the volume and intensity.
Lastly, all of our guys have recovery protocols (see next section).
Thus, we use the general guidelines of residual training adaptations to ensure we are doing just enough to maintain the qualities we are seeking in addition to analyzing trends in the data we are collecting.
The goal is to not compromise on-court performance and basketball skill acquisition, but we also do not want to lose fitness, especially in those guys who don’t play a lot of minutes. This certainly is an art and done on an individual basis, but these are our guidelines and it is why we try to collect as much information as possible to paint a more holistic picture of athletes.
Age, playing time, injury history, needs analysis as determined by our skill coaches, and our assessment all goes into this. Daily readiness assessment always dictates the training loads. Keke and are I always tinkering with these protocols to better maximize our player potential and performance.
That may be the most thorough and in-depth response I’ve ever gotten to a question!
And following up on that point, are there any go-to modalities or strategies you guys use with regards to recovery to help guys stay healthy and fresh?
I think it was Bill Sands who said something along the lines that you can’t out-recover stupid programming and coaching. So obviously 90% of our recovery efforts are embedded in our training decisions.
We spend a lot of time with low-threshold, stabilization drills, body weight circuits with moderate to slow tempos, low end of the spectrum cardiac output work on our off days, or days following higher intensity/volume training days.
I have been lucky to have been exposed to PRI principles of using respiration, position and movement patterns to modulate balancing ANS tone and enhance the CNS while alleviating musculoskeletal tension and compression and restoring triplanar motion. I am still progressing through the coursework, but exposure to this line of thinking drives a lot of our daily intervention, and comprises the majority of our post-practice, off- day, post-game recovery protocol.
We also monitor practices and workloads with a player monitoring system. This essentially allows us to collect mechanical variables such as distance covered, estimates speeds achieved, amount of linear and angular decelerations and accelerations during a practice, and how much force is being applied to the ground in each direction. We collect various heart rate data as well.
We then summarize all the data and create visual representations or disseminate information to players or our coaching staff.
OmegaWave is a big piece in monitoring the training loads for our athletes. We also just started to trial a technology that uses a patch to collect HR data, skin temperature, and respiration rate during sleeping hours to provide us with a physiological representation of our athlete’s sleep quality and duration.
Being in Silicon Valley makes us a target for a lot of companies in trialing their new technology. Obviously some of it can be useful, some of it not so much.
For passive modalities we use intermittent compression, sauna, steam room cold/hot tubs, electric stimulation, and foam rollers. OmegaWave has some interesting recovery protocols based on the athlete’s presentation in regards to ANS balance.
How the aforementioned modalities are utilized is contingent upon whether the athlete is currently in a state of parasympathetic or sympathetic hypertonia. Additionally, this year we are going to try to promote better travel habits when we are crossing time zones by leaving cities earlier after games, and planning our departures for road trips a little more scientifically so sleep and rest can be optimized.
Of course, hydration and Nutrition can’t be downplayed. Players also have regular access to a sports nutritionist/RD, masseuse, chiropractor and acupuncturist. A lot of our players enjoy yoga, so we bring in a yoga instructor once a week.
Excellent. Now obviously most of us reading this will never be a strength/performance coach in the NBA, so it’s cool to read stuff like this (especially with the level of detail you’re providing).
What is one thing that people reading this may not expect or think about when it comes to the life of an NBA strength/performance coach?
I definitely underestimated the amount of moving parts in a professional sports organization.
There is so much going on all the time and everybody has needs. Players have specific needs and have lives outside of basketball.
Agents have needs, the coaching staff has needs, we have needs as a performance staff, the training staff has needs, different medical professionals are outsourced and involved.
The front office has needs.
The PR department has its own expectations and requirements of players for media outlets and corporate sponsors.
The CBA outlines regulations and provisions that must be adhered to during our offseason.
Every person in the organization is subjected to this at some level, but the players take the brunt of this. Imagine playing 82 plus games a year over a 6-8 month span, in 27+ different cities while juggling the above.
Establishing a viable working system for our players with all of this going on was definitely the hardest part for me when I started, especially because Keke and I began working right before the season started.
However, the off-season provided us an opportunity to really start honing in on how we would implement our system and prioritize the direction we want to take this. The travel and the amount of idiosyncrasies in our daily schedule was definitely a little overwhelming at first, but I definitely feel more suited to handling the demands of the season after organizing throughout this off-season and after having been exposed to what the job entails throughout last season.
Many play for other countries, leave the Bay Area to go home, host camps in other states, or train with other trainers. This makes organizing training a little more difficult and means we are less involved in their preparation for the upcoming season. It makes the job we do during the season that much more integral to ensure their health and preparation.
Mike, you’ve been incredibly gracious with our time, so I just have one last question and then I’ll let you go.
What is one mistake you’ve made along the way, and how have you learned from that going forward?
Wow, Mike, putting me on the spot, huh?!
Bluntly, I have probably made more mistakes than I have made non-mistakes; I’ve gotten better at using the right tool for the job, and not necessarily trying to put a round peg in a square hole-more specifically, that a vast variety of modalities can be used to acquire the physiological adaptation we seek.
Athletes are not power/weightlifters and sport is much more than maximum strength. Fitness and biological power play enormous roles in resiliency and sporting success.
I also have a better appreciation for the nuances of periodization and the pitfalls of trying to concurrently develop a plethora of physical qualities at once, especially with advanced athletes.
I also think time, experience, and insight has allowed me the ability to better appraise different philosophies, ideas, or interventions. The fitness/ performance industry is often one of trends and fads that often distort science.
Studies get extrapolated and physiology misconstrued. Rationales for clinical decision-making are often especially horrendous.
While I have definitely fallen victim to this and have followed the crowd blindly during my early years, I feel like my work experience and time spent around some really good coaches and clinicians, especially Bill, has given me a better filter of what is valid and what flirts on the lines of BS.
Still, I’d say my two biggest mistakes are probably as follows:
#1 – At the very beginning of my training experience working with clients, I probably did not put enough emphasis on the desires of my clients, and I probably tried to put them more in my box and give them my idea of what I felt they needed.
I pushed everybody like I pushed myself and in hindsight I probably did a really good job at making people tired and sore while only minutely improving their strength or fitness.
#2 – More recently, I think my own fervor, passion, and desire to push the envelope sometimes has the tendency to leave me impatient, scatter-brained, and overwhelmed.
I think that I often fluster myself trying to decide what to include and withdraw during specific times in the programs of my athletes. Having been involved in both ends of the performance continuum, I see the value of all aspects of performance; maybe too much that it muddies the water at times.
I know it sounds like common sense, but you cannot seek to improve or include all aspects of physical preparation with different exercise modalities or behavioral intervention simultaneously.
Not only would that create physiological noise, but there are not enough hours in the day or cortical real estate in the brain to undertake such a daunting task. It is not realistic to expect a player who didn’t come from a solid training or conditioning background prior to the NBA, sleeps 5 hours a night, and enjoys In-N-Out 3x/week for the past 5 years to change his diet, training, and sleep hygiene, while undergoing the rigors of the season.
Deciding what to include and exclude can be tough sometimes so I just have to remind myself that behavioral change and physical adaptation is an ongoing process and implementing a system takes time.
Being thrown into the proverbial utopia that is the NBA, with nearly unlimited access to resources and “stud” athletes, led me to believe that change could occur overnight.
While possessing this quality may prevent complacency and accepting mediocrity, I need to understand that implementing a viable system and promoting an environment for our players that we could be proud of is a long term process.
Respecting that this process takes time, requires constant evolution, and tinkering, was a big step for me. Patience was THE virtue I really strived to harness this past year.
Okay Mike, that’s all I’ve got man. Thanks a ton for being on here, and where can my readers find out more about you?
I do not have a personal website at this point, but it is on my long term “to-do” list.
I’m also in the process of trying to step up my Twitter game, which will mostly comprise of retweeting quotes or ideas of something I am reading or people in this industry who I look up to.
Thanks again Mike!
Thanks for having me, Mike, and special thanks to your readers for taking the time to listen to me ramble!