It may not be time for the NBA to hit the spotlight, but it is never too early to prepare for the best season of all. In fact, elite level basketball players are preparing for their seasons 24/7 and it doesn’t all happen on the court.
So how exactly do they prepare for their seasons? The answer, according to media outlets and research in the realm of Sports Science, is actually pretty simple.
There are three key pillars to their success: eat, sleep, practice. Although it is simple, it certainly isn’t easy or else everyone would do it.
It has been touted that 10,000 hours of practice are required to become an expert. Though the exact number of hours is debatable, the truth is that deliberate practice does lead to excellence. Elite athletes have many thousands of hours of practice before they reach the upper level of their sports. NBA players have been in countless games before they even make it to the draft. This habit of practice doesn’t stop once they get on a team.
NBA athletes leverage practice as a necessary component of their off season training. In a report by CNN, Dwight Howard explained how he practices using video games to simulate training on the court. He isn’t the only player to do so. The human body can only spend so much time training for athletics, and sometimes it is the creative solutions like this that give players an extra edge.
Once an athlete reaches the elite national level, they are going up against the best of the best. To prepare for this they need to do everything they can to help them stand out. Everyone at that level is talented and putting in the work.
One of the ways athletes set themselves apart is through nutrition. They fuel their athletic machines with high quality foods. The NBA has a published set of guidelines for their players which states,
“Remember – your goal is to eat to:
1) Improve your overall quality of life
2) To optimize recovery, energy levels and performance
3) To practice good nutrition habits.”
Good nutrition habits are defined as high quality lean proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables with moderate amounts of healthy fats. Not only do athletes eat quality foods, they also increase their performance, recovery, and energy with additional methods. Many add bodybuilding supplements to their daily regimen for that reason. It aids in performance and recovery, allowing them to “optimize” as needed.
Food isn’t the only next level action. Sleep and proper rest incite gains as well. Most elite athletes get an average of 10 hours of sleep per night. For example, Lebron James credits his 12 hours of sleep a night as one of the things that keeps him performing at a high level.
While sleeping, the body and the mind, two key elements for peak performance, recover. It is a time when muscles repair themselves and build back up. Along with proper nutrition and consistent training, rest is an essential piece of preparation.
Rest includes more than just a good night of Z’s. Taking time to care for the body through stretching, massage, chiropractic care and other therapeutic measures maximizes the body’s potential. Players even take naps off the court to keep them awake on the court!
These same preparations are used by athletes of all levels to bring their A game. Preparation starts early and never stops. It is a part of everyday life. With all of the eating, sleeping, and practice going on, this year’s season won’t be one to miss!