There are only three games left in the season, crazy how fast time goes by! The pro season is a lot more strenuous than High School or College. You begin pre-season in September and play up to three games a week all the way through May.
At this time of the year, I'm always reminded of the biggest lesson I've learned as a pro - You have to make looking after your body a top priority. If you want to perform at your best consistently you have to stay healthy. The crazy thing is, I didn't understand how to go about this until my first pro season. My first season I played for CSU Sibiu in Romania and we had the best trainer in the league, Pepe Silva. He left the following year to train with a Alba Berlin in Germany, one of the top clubs in Europe. Anyway, all of this is to say he gave me great insight into the type of routine it takes to keep my body in top form, even in the harshest of seasons.
Here’s a look at my "30 min recovery routine" I do on a daily basis.
1) 15 min of banded distraction (look up Kelly Starlett hip mobility Rom Wod - Youtube)
2) 10 min foam roll. Calf, Hams, Quads, Back.
3) 5 min smash hip-flexors + piriformis with lacrosse ball.
4) 3-5 min sitting in a deep squat to open up hip and ankle mobility.
All of this happens outside of practice or training times. So typically the best time would be in the morning after taking a warm shower used to warm up the muscles.
I say all of this and wanted to write this journal because I wish I knew this lesson earlier in life. If you want to be a better athlete learn this lesson before you become a pro. One of my greatest regrets in my athletic career is not investing more in my health from ages 16-21. I didn't stretch, didn't ice bath, shrugged off trainers and physios that told me to work on mobility. I was a dual-sport athlete in college with All-American accolades that was seriously hampered by small injuries and lack of mobility. Why did I push through jumper’s knee, ankle sprains, hip pain when I could have been doing mobility work from the start that would literally remove all of those injuries from the equation?
If you are interested in a specialized mobility routine, please don't hesitate to contact me. Also, the book "Supple Leopard" by Kelly Starlett is life changing... Anything done by Kelly that you can find on YouTube as well is amazing for developing power, speed, and mobility.
Now that you have read this post, don't let your stubbornness or laziness hold you back from being as healthy as possible. Everyone has time to start putting 20-30min of mobility work and stretching in to your daily routine. Some of the biggest push-backs I get when telling this to younger athletes are:
"It's too much work... It wont really do that much... It's not cool."
But think about it... most high school and college kids walk into a gym for practice or tryouts and start immediately warning up with shooting, dribbling, joking with their friends etc.. But there's always 1 or 2 guys who are more serious. They pull out their lacrosse ball to do some trigger point, or get out the band and hook it up to stimulate the quads and front load the ACL (exercises used for ACL injury prevention and to control jumpers knee). If I was a high level coach or pro you know what I would think? These kids are preparing themselves both physically and mentally before even touching a ball. They are already 1 step ahead of the curb. That kind of evaluation is the edge you might need, and to me that alone is worth it... that's cool.
The little things turn into big things, so if you want to be a pro, start taking care of your body!
You can follow Marek and his professional journey or ask Marek any questions at @marek_klassen. Vancouver Basketball wishes Marek and his team best of luck in the final stretch of the season and into playoffs!