Here at Hoops we’re committed to bringing you the most informative and motivational content possible – after all, we want you to love sport as much as we do! But we don’t know everything. So we’re going to be enlisting the help of regular columnists to help us fill in the gaps.
This week Hoops ambassador and Manchester Giants power forward Richard Bell talks us through his pre-season routine, all the way from the USA! To catch up on Richard’s career to date, and his relationship with Hoops, read our interview with him from January.
I pretty much start making an off-season plan towards the end of my regular season.
As my season comes to a close, I start to think about next year and what I need to improve on and get better at, so that when the season is over, I know what I have to do.
After the season is done, I take one or two weeks off then I start getting back to training.
So far I’ve had a few things to focus on this summer.
I’ve been working a lot on my body – I want to get bigger and stronger, especially in my lower body. I want to come back next season more explosive and with better balance.
I want to be more dominant out on the court, so that means I need to develop my upper body strength as well.
But that doesn’t mean that I’ve neglected my skills. I’ve been working on my shot and getting up lots of repetitions so I can be more consistent with my shooting.
I’ve also been working on my ball handling skills and working on areas on the court where I can most be most effective scoring, and really trying to utilize that.
“It’s great to come back to the US”
The level of competition and facilities in America is fantastic, probably the best in the world.
I came to university here, and played college level basketball.
I still have a lot of contacts such as trainers and coaches that I can work with, so it’s great to come back and train here with them, and make use of that high standard coaching and facilities.
Another massive positive are summer Pro-Am tournaments here where NBA players and other pros compete alongside amateurs, which is obviously a great experience.
The workout plan
I have been putting in two workouts a day in order to get myself to the level that I want.
I usually do a weights session in the morning and then come back to the gym in the evening and get a basketball workout in with my trainer Paul Cantwell, who is the head coach of Combine Academy Atlanta.
Sometimes I’ll lift weights again in the evening before I get a basketball workout in too.
I then play games in a Pro-Am called the AEBL (Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League) on weekends.
The workout diet
My aim with my body is to not bulk up. I want to get stronger but I also want to be lean and reduce my body fat percentage in order to help with my performance.
I’m supposed to still feel hungry after I’ve eaten, so the idea is to eat small/medium sized meals every 2-3 hours.
Breakfast is usually a bowl of granola and yoghurt with fruit, strawberries or blueberries and I might add a banana or an apple to go with that.
After my first workout I try to consume some protein. Usually I will make a large omelette and fill it with tuna or chicken, as well as things like peppers, onions, tomatoes and a bit of cheese.
Before my second workout I go for something like a piece of steak and a side salad, still focussing on that protein.
After my second workout I eat something with plenty of carbs like a chicken curry with rice or fish with rice, or perhaps shrimp with pasta.
I do all my own cooking too so I don’t buy any fast food, which in America is pretty hard! I don’t drink soda or anything other than water, orange juice and isotonics like Gatorade for performance and recovery.
“I want to be the best I can be”
It isn’t hard to motivate myself in the off season because it’s what I love to do, but as well I’m still surrounded by people who are pushing me like Paul, my trainer.
I know that I don’t have to be here, I could be relaxing on the beach all summer.
I’m here because I want to give myself the best possible chance to improve and get better.
So in order to do that, I knew I had to come out to America and train. But I love it.
As a basketball player, and as a competitor, I could do this 24/7. I love the grind, and I love working on my weaknesses because I want to maximize my potential as a player.
I want to be the best I can be.
“This year I want to step up a level”
I’m very much looking forward to the new season.
I was really pleased with how I did last season, establishing myself as a first-team player for the Giants despite it being my first season in the British Basketball League.
This year I want to step up another level, and really dominate matches consistently. All of the work I’m putting in right now is geared towards that.
I can’t wait to put all my hard work the test.
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