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Why you need to start Squatting in your workout.

If you are looking to get stronger legs and develop total body coordination, then you need to be squatting.

Many of us are just finishing up our High School seasons and starting to think about getting ready for what’s to come next. This means starting our off-season training to get us to the next level. If you are looking to get faster, jump higher, and simply just develop lower body strength, then we need to work on building a foundation. This means developing not only our big muscles like our quads, hamstrings, and calves, but also improving our ankles, hips and the rest of our leg muscles. The greater we can develop these areas the better chance we have at developing more force which will optimally lead to faster sprint times and a greater ability to jump into the air. Squats are considered one of the most functional and efficient weight bearing exercises whether an individuals goals are sport specific or are for an increased quality of life (2).

Squats are a movement that we do everyday and we often are not doing it correctly. Think about how many times you sit down in a chair. Do you crash down? Does your chest fall over your knees? If this is how you are teaching your body to move then what do you think you are going to revert back to when that movement happens in a game? Learning the proper way to squat will help you develop your lower body muscles in motions and angles that lead to more power and also help keep them protected while playing. Moving to free weight allows the athlete to learn to coordinate their movements to be successful in the exercise and helps teach awareness. Wirth et al., found that the squat increased performance in the squat jump, countermovement jump, and drop jump more effectively compared with the leg press in short-term strength training (6). Machines will dictate your movement path making it harder to recruit muscles that will need to involved and work in sync with the leg muscles.

Squatting is not overly difficult. Simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slighting point your toes outward. If your legs are locked out and straight up and down, simply unlock your knees and allow them to bend slightly. The next movement will be at your hips. Push your hips back slightly then sit down. Think about sitting into a chair and you do not know where it is. You are sitting your hips back trying to find it. Your feet should remain flat on the ground and drive through your heels. Go down until the tops of your thighs are parallel with the ground. Rise back up to a standing position.

With younger athletes picking the right squatting techniques is huge. Start with goblet squats to teach the movement. Once the athlete becomes efficient at that transition them into a front squat in a rack. These movements teach the athlete that the upper body needs to be active in the movement and not relax. These movements also require more activation from the abdominals to keep the chest up and weight over the bodies center of gravity. There are multiple variations of the squat that we will go into in future posts that benefit the athlete in many different ways.

Incorporating other forms of squatting is also beneficial to athletic growth. Doing single leg squats will help reinforce ankle strength and balance that will set optimal positions for the knee in athletic movements. Nunez et al., found that just 6 weeks of unilateral/bilateral training with an eccentric overload training, improved limb muscle volume, power, countermovement jump performance, change of direction at 90-degrees and decelerating change of direction at 90-degrees in sport athletes (5). Learning to control our movement in these positions is also very beneficial as we learn to reabsorb and then redistribute forces in another direction. Unilateral (single) limb training provides a better change of direction at the 90-degree transition phase than did bilateral (multiple) limbs training (5). Controlling our descent and lowering ourselves slowly for a set time will aid our ability to transition from one movement to the next and gives us that agility and change of direction that make us unstoppable on the court.

Squatting is a movement that we cannot overlook or put on the back burner. These exercises teach the athlete to control their body while also strengthening the lower extremities. Developing lower body strength is crucial if you want to run faster and jump higher. Your body must be strong enough to produce the forces that will help you fly through the air for a dunk. Incorporating squats into your workout routine will not only help you develop as a basketball player but as an athlete overall.

Reference:

1. Esformes, J. I., & Bampouras, T. M. (2013). Effect of Back Squat Depth on Lower-Body Postactivation Potentiation. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 27(11), 2997-3000. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e31828d4465

2. Gullett, J. C., Tillman, M. D., Gutierrez, G. M., & Chow, J. W. (2009). A Biomechanical Comparison of Back and Front Squats in Healthy Trained Individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,23(1), 284-292. doi:10.1519/jsc.0b013e31818546bb

3. Williams, M. J., Gibson, N. V., Sorbie, G. G., Ugbolue, U. C., Brouner, J., & Easton, C. (2018). Activation of the Gluteus Maximus During Performance of the Back Squat, Split Squat, and Barbell Hip Thrust and the Relationship With Maximal Sprinting. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000002651

4. Askow, A. T., Merrigan, J. J., Neddo, J. M., Oliver, J. M., Stone, J. D., Jagim, A. R., & Jones, M. T. (2019). Effect of Strength on Velocity and Power During Back Squat Exercise in Resistance-Trained Men and Women. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 33(1), 1-7. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000002968

5. Núñez, F. J., Santalla, A., Carrasquila, I., Asian, J. A., Reina, J. I., & Suarez-Arrones, L. J. (2018). The effects of unilateral and bilateral eccentric overload training on hypertrophy, muscle power and COD performance, and its determinants, in team sport players. Plos One, 13(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193841

6. Wirth, K., Hartmann, H., Sander, A., Mickel, C., Szilvas, E., & Keiner, M. (2016). The Impact of Back Squat and Leg-Press Exercises on Maximal Strength and Speed-Strength Parameters. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(5), 1205-1212. doi:10.1519/jsc.0000000000001228

Spring Academy Part I 5th/6th Girls Test Results

Here are the test results for Part I (March) of the 5th/6th Girls class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Part I 5th-6th Girls (March)

Name

Around Rt Leg

Around Lt Leg

Figure 8

Scissors

First

Last

Begin End Begin End Begin End Begin

End

Sydney Berndt 16  18 14  15 9 9 30  39
Lily Christiansen 13  14 8  12 6  9 26  36
Akyla Cole 19  19 15  17 11  9 22  28
Addison Kane 20  12 15  19 13  6 26 29
Reese Kinney 15  11 12  12 15  17 27  30
Anna Mayer 14  16 12  11 6  8 25  17
Avery Orinion 13  13 12  12 6  8 19  27
Julia Pappas 14  15 11  13 13  12 41  41
Morgan Roberts 20  21 18  18 11  11 48  49
Hannah Schulz 16  16 17  17 10  10 42  52
Mina Spreitzer 10  17 9 15 6  8 23  35
Campbell Tavernier 20  23 19 14 13  12 33  32

Spring Academy Part I 7th/8th Boys Test Results

Here are the test results for Part I (March) of the 7th/8th Boys class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Part I 7th-8th Boys (March)

Name

Scissors Continuous Behind Spider

Circle

First Last

Begin

End Begin End Begin End Begin

End

Jake Benefiel  58  49  71  75  28  31  26  31
Kahmi Bracey  60  62  57  71  20  28  23  24
Gavin Bramel  62  63  49  62  19  19  21  27
Preston Bush  57  53  58  50  17  18  25  17
Peyton Daniels 50  54  46  60  15  23  20  24
Jaden Davis  65  72  43  30
Evan Federspiel  43  38  27  19  18  22  20  15
Justin Grant  58  52  23  31
TJ Lumpkin  54  64  53  68  27  27  24  17
Alex Lumpkin  46  45  40  48  38  26  16  18
TJ McWilliams  66  64  59  65  18  17  28  25
Terrell Robinson  47  48  22  30
Jason Thomas  53  57  43 51  20  27  20  23
Jack Wors  60 64 50 56  24 28 30  34
 Sam Dawson  55  57  22  28

Fall Academy Part II Middle School Girls Test Results

Here are the test results for Part II (September) of the Middle School Girls class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Part II 6th-8th Girls (September)

Name

Scissors Continuous Behind

Back/Forth Between

First

Last Begin End Begin End Begin

End

Sydney Berndt 26  18  47
Hadleigh Cherry
Akyla Cole  21  14  37
Alexia Cole  18  25  50
Carenzie Fischer  21 14 44
Sophie Hosei  38  36  82
Alyssa Kim 38  30  60
Anna Mayer  18  14  32
Leah Petty  43  45  81
Morgan Roberts  40  45  38

Fall Academy Part II 4th/5th Boys Test Results

Here are the test results for Part II (September) of the 4th/5th Boys class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Part II 4th/5th Boys (September)

Name

Scissors Continuous Behind

Back/Forth Between

First

Last Begin End Begin End Begin

End

James Craig  50  49  89
Jeremiah Hankerson  36  50  46
Myles Houston  50  46  63
Carter Murans  57  51  88
Omari Thomas  40  48  94

Fall Academy Part II Middle School Boys Test Results

Here are the test results for Part II (September) of the Middle School Boys class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Part II 6th-8th Boys (September)

Name

Pound F8 Reverse Pound f8 Continuous Bowtie

Circle

First Last Begin End Begin End Begin End Begin End
Jake Benefiel 31 21 43 21
Xavier Booker
AJ Branigan 37 32 43 30
Preston Bush 35 26 38 25
Kamea Chandler 32 23 42 26
Tae Davis 32 34 55 28
Sam Dawson 27 25 31 23
Tilman Etchison 38 27 51 29
CJ Gunn 33 34 54 28
Jacob Hinton 34 25 43 23
Ryan Kim 41 32 41 23
TJ Lumpkin
Tyler Marcinko 36 26 22 22
Dylan Murans 42  28  40  24
Terrell Robinson 38 24 50 19
Brady Schmidt 28 15 49 27
Jack Wors 33 29 44 22
Sean Kasper 28 27 32 19
Aidan Zimmer 33 25 36 19

Part I 4th/5th Boys Test Results

Here are the test results for Part I of the 4th/5th Boys class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Fall Academy Test (4th/5th Boys) August -30 seconds
Name Around Rt Leg Around Lt Leg Figure 8 Spider
  First Last Begin End Begin End Begin End Begin End
1 James Craig 17  20 13 18 8  8 15  27
2 Myles Houston 8  22 5  19 8  12 6  15
3 Carter Murans 20  22 20  20 12  12 29  45
4 Omari Thomas 17  15 17  15 10  10 26  32
5 Jeremiah Hankerson 11  13 14  18 8 8 0  29

Part I Middle School Girls Test Results

Here are the test results for Part I (August) of the Middle School Girls class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Fall Academy Test (6th-8th Girls) August -30 seconds

Name Around Rt Leg Around Lt Leg Figure 8 Spider
  First Last Begin End Begin End Begin End Begin End
1 Sydney Berndt 14  20 13 18 8  9 16 18
2 Hadleigh Cherry 14 11 12 12
3 Akyla Cole 15  19 10  13 9  8 0  14
4 Alexia Cole 16  22 11  15 10  10 10  21
5 Carenzie Fischer 11  12 10  17 9  8 11  10
6 Ryleigh Gee 13  23 11  17 8  9 5  10
7 Alyssa Kim 13  18 8  18 9  9 10  20
8 Anna Mayer 6  13 5  14 7  10 9  20
9 Julia Munkholm 11  20 10  18 9  12 16  26
10 Leah Petty 13  24 9  18 6  12 17  17
11 Morgan Roberts 16  17 10  14 9  11 19  25
12 Campbell Tavernier 11  20 15  18 9  11 26  27
13 Sophie Hosei NA 15 NA 12 NA 4 NA

23

 

Part I Middle School Boys Test Results

Here are the test results for Part I (August) of the Middle School Boys class. We encourage all players to see their results and try to beat their scores at the end of the month.

Fall Academy Test (6th-8th Boys) August -30 seconds

Name Scissors Continuous Behind Back/Forth Between

Spider

  First Last Begin End Begin End Begin End Begin End
1 Jake Benefiel 56  66 55  67 73  84 26  33
2 Xavier Booker 41  51 41  44 61  88 17  19
3 Preston Bush 50  55 52  62 79  90 17  17
4 Kamea Chandler 60 52 79 14
5 Sam Dawson 46  53 47  59 61  92 15  19
6 Tilman Etchison 47  59 52  69 90  69 28  30
7 Kendrick Gilbert 52  NA 53  NA 68  NA 14  NA
8 Jacob Hinton 59  49 56 54 80  114 30  29
10 Ryan Kim 57  66 56  60 71  109 28  38
11 TJ Lumpkin 70  62 62  72 89  72 27  39
12 Tyler Marcinko 56  64 42  49 37  62 27  27
13 Dylan Murans 52  45 54 51 87 75 30  35
14 Terrell Robinson 46  52 39 54 74  92 3  22
15 Jasiah Rogers 44  NA 62 NA 61  NA 30  NA
16 Brady Schmidt 56  61 50  69 92  102 20  23
17 Jack Wors 54  58 47  57 82  75 24  23
18 Sean Kasper 45 56 51 45 62  82 16 25
19 Aidan Zimmer 55  60 51  61 75  80 18  27
20 AJ Braningan 63  60 70 79 70  103 19 31
21 Tae Davis 60 59 41 44 81 86 29 27
22 CJ Gunn NA 61 NA 68 NA 100 NA 22

10 Things College Coaches Look for

As we near the end of July, we are in the middle of a live period. A live period is when college coaches can come out and evaluate perspective players. Per NCAA rules, college coaches are limited to how often and when they can evaluate players throughout the course of a year. As a result, a player might only get five minutes to gain the attention of a college coach. With so little time to impress, it is imperative that a player has a good showing. In order to help a player make the most of their five minutes, I’ve put together 10 things that college coaches look for when they are evaluating.

 

  1. Passion

Passion is what drives work ethic. When you are passionate about something, you desire to become great at it and you are willing to spend as much time with it as possible. Being passionate means you work, even when no one is watching. I can’t remember a time ever hearing my college coach say, “work harder”! The truth of the matter is, if a coach has to motivate you to give effort toward something you love, that is a big issue.

Basketball players with passion are the ones who:

  • Are ‘gym rats’! The ‘gym rat’ will spend an unlimited amount of time working on their game. ‘Gym rats’ get to practice early and stay after to work on their game.
  • Are enthusiastic about the game of basketball. They are a person who enjoys talking about the game, players and basketball topics.
  • Get excited to practice
  • Look forward to getting better

 

Passionate players are culture guys, they are infectious, they are grinders, they are workers, and they have winning habits. When other players see that passionate ‘gym rat’ working day in and day out, it becomes infectious and creates a working culture. Culture is everything to college coaches. When they are recruiting, they are looking for players that will fit in their culture as well as add to it.

 

  1. Winning Habits: Intangibles

How do you contribute to winning? How much of your game will transfer over to the collegiate level? These are questions that college coaches have to answer in their post tournament recruiting meetings when making a decision on who they are going to offer a scholarship. Putting up 30 points in a high school or AAU game may sound good, but stats can be misleading. College coaches are evaluating you through a college lense, so of that 30 points, only 10 of it may transfer over the college game. Since 10 points will not be enough to earn you a scholarship, how else can you garner the attention of college coaches?…Intangibles!

What are intangibles?

  • Motor
  • Toughness (check out the Toughness blog)
  • IQ
  • Multiple efforts: loose balls, offensive rebounds, etc.

Intangibles often times get overshadowed by 20 point games, double digit rebound games, and flashy passes, but not by college coaches. Players like Tristan Thompson, Draymond Green and Kenneth Faried are great examples of players who excel in the intangible category, and are being paid nicely for it. Before selecting Draymond Green in the draft, the Golden State Warriors had a question they needed an answer to, “what position does Draymond play?” So the Warriors staff decided to call his college coach Tom Izzo to ask his thoughts. When asked, Tom Izzo replied, “He plays winner that’s what he plays, *explicit* winner!.” Fast forward to five years later, Draymond has helped lead the Warriors to 4 consecutive NBA championship appearances, won 2 NBA titles, earned 3x NBA All Defensive awards, earned 2x All NBA awards, and the 2017 NBA Defensive player of the year award.

In the NCAA, there were only two players that averaged over 25 points per game. Scoring 20 points per game is not going to be enough to get a scholarship offer. Start excelling at the intangibles.

 

  1. Confidence & Attitude

Coaches cannot instill confidence in a player; they can only inflate what is already there. Self-confidence is what allows a player to overcome the adversities of basketball. College coaches watch to see how you respond when things don’t go your way. Do you put your head down after a missed shot? Do you hustle back on defense after turning the ball over? Do you yell at your teammates for making mistakes? Basketball is an emotional game; so keeping your emotions in check and remaining calm, are very important in the heat of the game.

 

 

  1. Academics

You are a STUDENT athlete, student first. Every college institute has academic requirements that have to be met in order to gain acceptance into that school. It does not matter how talented you are or high you can jump if your grades and test scores are poor, you will not get accepted. Poor grades keep a lot of talented players from even being recruited. Visit ncaa.org and find out the NCAA requirements for athletes to make sure you are on the right track academically.

 

  1. Fit

When recruiting, college coaches have a specific profile for what they are looking for. Sometimes the right FIT can be out of your control. For example, that program could be looking for a specific position, skill set or body type. With this being said, it is important that you excel in the right FIT categories you can control.

Right FIT…

Academics

Leadership

Coachable

Good Teammate

Character

  1. Defense

Unfortunately, for some players you have to play both sides of the ball in basketball. At M14 we tell our players, no coach wants a 30 for 30 player (score 30 and give up 30). Most AAU/Travel teams do not get much time to practice before tournaments, if any. Consequently, the defense is poor and basic defensive principles like help-defense, off the ball positioning, and defending screening actions are non-existent. In the midst of this bad defense, this can be a great opportunity for a player to get noticed by a college coach. If you are a point guard, pick up the opposing point guard full court and turn him/her three to four times. Post players hedge hard on a ball screen action and force the ball handler to give up the ball. When you are two passes away, get to the help line and slide over to take a charge. These are great ways to get a college coaches attention.

 

  1. Skill Set

To play in college your skill level must be high. The game of basketball has evolved over the years and is very different from when your mom, dad or coach used to play. With the addition of the three-point line, the heavy influence of the European style of play, and the huge emphasis on floor spacing. The ability to pass, shoot and dribble at a high level is at a premium right now. College coaches are looking for players with skills sets that fit a specific mold for their system. By developing a broad skill set, like your ability to handle the ball, shoot from the perimeter and defend multiple positions, you can showcase versatility that can fit into any system.

 

  1. Character

A scholarship can be worth more that $15K which makes each player a huge investment. To ensure their success, college coaches want to fill their team with high character players. Qualities of a high character player:

  • Respect for their coaches, teammates and the game of basketball.
  • Accountability- Not a finger pointer, but a player who looks themselves in the mirror.
  • Team first mentality- College coaches want selfless players.

Anthony Davis is a shinning example of a selfless player. While at Kentucky, Anthony Davis led the Wildcats to the 2012 National Championship, won the National Player of the Year award and was selected number one overall in the NBA draft. David accomplished this by only taking the fourth most shots for his team that year. By putting his individual success to the side and making the team a priority, Kentucky was able to win a national championship. Coaches long for this type of player.

 

  1. Performance under pressure

What do you do in the big games, when competition is intense, and when the game is on the line? Do you hide or shy or away? Or do you have the refuse to lose mentality? College coaches are attracted to players who show up in big games.

 

  1. Coachable

A coach cannot help a player that does not want to be coached. College coaches look for players who can take constructive criticism. Accepting constructive criticism is very important on the next level as you will be challenged and pushed to your limits daily. No matter the level (D1, 2 or 3), the teams’ success is tied directly to the player’s willingness to be coached. In the heat of battle, that coach needs to know that you will be able to take the criticism and apply it as each possession can be critical to winning and losing.

Characteristics of a Coachable player:

  • Eye contact- Players that look their coach in the eye when being coached is a great sign of a coachable player.
  • Body language- Do you put your head down when a coach gets on you? Do you run to the end of the bench when you’re subbed out?
  • Understand your role
  • High Basketball IQ

Parents, share this information with your player. Players, apply these things in your games for the rest of July. Coaches, share this information with your players and parents to use as a tool to help your players gain the attention of college coaches and get closer to making their dream a reality.