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Raptors Look To Improve Conditioning (Alex McKechnie)

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  • #16
    I think this applies to the thread:

    Embry, a consultant for the Toronto Raptors, is prohibited from discussing any lockout. But in his book, "The Inside Game: Race, Power and Politics in the NBA," he wrote about 1998-99 season:

    "Whatever teams were in the best shape would definitely have an advantage in the short schedule. We were not one of them. We were all disappointed in Shawn's physical condition. With the money we were paying him, we had every reason to expect him to stay in shape. It was not as if he could not afford to hire people to help him do that.

    "The Cleveland Clinic nutritionist put him on a diet, but Shawn did not have the discipline to adhere to it. We even offered to have a chef go to his house and prepare meals for him. ... I told Shawn the same thing I told Mel Turpin years ago, 'I don't want anyone playing for me that weighs more than me.' That did not work either."

    Kemp still produced strong numbers, averaging 20.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, but his dynamic leaping ability was compromised. He was sometimes heckled by the shrinking crowds inside the arena. The Cavs averaged 14,119 fans in 1998-99, a 16.7 percent decline from a season earlier.

    Kemp sprained his left foot and missed the final eight games. The club also lost Ilgauskas, who had signed a six-year, $70.9 million extension before the season, to foot surgery after just five games. Injuries mounted. So did the minutes for the remaining Cavs, who sometimes had to play three games in three nights due to the compact schedule.

    "I don't remember a season when more players ordered room service," Newman said. "Guys would usually go out, get a bite to eat or whatever on road trips. But we would be so tired after playing so many games guys were like 'You know what, I'm just eating in the room.'"

    As this year's lockout lingers, the former Cavs said they hoped owners and players recalled the damage created from the 1998-99 season.

    As Boykins said, "No one wants to be the next Shawn Kemp."
    Source: Cleveland.com

    Let's hope that when the guys show up they've already been in training so that Alex McKechnie doesn't have more work than is reasonably expected.

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    • #17
      I recommend Bill Simmons article this week on things he is disappointed in missing the NBA season. This one got me thinking:

      28. Either the inevitable "a re-signed Greg Oden for Roy Hibbert and Dahntay Jones" trade or the inevitable "a re-signed Greg Oden for Marcin Gortat" trade, followed by the inevitable "Going back to Indiana could save Greg Oden's career" or "Phoenix's training staff could save Greg Oden's career" stories that will make me say, "You know what? I'm in on the Greg Oden comeback!"

      http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...y-mourning-nba
      Did the Raptors hire the best trainer in the world to take a stab at Oden?

      I'm about 13% serious.

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      • #18
        McKechnie wastes no time getting to work

        TORONTO — Officially, Alex McKechnie’s title with the Toronto Raptors is director of sports science. In layman’s terms, he is the team’s new strength and conditioning coach.

        Small forward James Johnsson finds neither of those descriptions acceptable.

        “You really can’t call him a strength coach. I’d rather just call him a weakness coach because that’s what he finds: He finds what’s weak about you and what you need to do to get stronger,” Johnson said Tuesday. “All of the things I did over the summer – crossfit training, the martial-arts training – and I come here and find out I’ve still got a hundred things for me to get stronger and make me a better player and to make me a snap or a wink faster.”

        The Raptors hired McKechnie over the summer. He spent the last eight years with the Los Angeles Lakers, who chose not to renew his contract among a series of money-saving moves during the lockout. Give the Raptors some credit: They spent money where they could during the labour dispute.

        Strength and conditioning coaches, of course, do not do much to get fans worked up. But McKechnie could prove to be important this year, more than in others. The compressed schedule, released on Tuesday evening, will have teams play an average of 3.9 games per week, up from 3.5 in a normal season. That might not seem like a big deal, but it will necessitate back-to-backto-back games and spurts of five games in six nights.

        “It’s a massive challenge,” McKechnie said Tuesday after working out Johnson, Jose Calderon and Ed Davis, as well as free-agent centre Jamaal Magloire, who was taking advantage of the NBA allowing any player to work out in any NBA facility before training camps open. “The biggest challenge you face is recovery. Certain players are going to be playing lots of minutes in back-to-back-to-backs in some cases. Back-to-backs are enough to start with in a regular season.”

        McKechnie said that it will be nearly impossible for players to gain strength and put on muscle once the season has started. That bodes well for the slender Ed Davis, who put on 18 pounds in the off-season.

        McKechnie is known for his Core-X program, which allows elastics and resistance to increase strength and flexibility. This year’s schedule will create different priorities. Flexibility will be a major focus for the Raptors. Once the games start, McKechnie knows complicated issues will arise.

        “Under normal circumstances, it’s a major toll,” McKechnie said, when asked how hard it would be for stars to play 35-plus minutes a night for three games in a row. “The key is managing the time, managing the minutes that players play, particularly managing our practice time, and that’s really important at this point. Because players are going to play minutes, and we expect them to play minutes. However, will they run them hard in practice the next day? Probably not.”

        McKechnie is trying to determine what kind of shape the players are in after a longer-than-normal off-season. He said he has developed baseline testing to figure out where to start with each player.

        Given his methods, that will be important for the Raptors. McKechnie said each player will have a kit in his locker with a personalized plan for preventing injuries, especially recurring ones.

        “He shows the weakness in you,” Johnson said. “But my weakness might not be Ed Davis’s weakness. Ed Davis’s weakness might not be [Andrea] Bargnani’s weakness. Everyone has their own plan. Everyone has their own body.”
        Source: National Post

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        • #19
          Raptors.com interview: Alex McKechnie

          Jason Satur: Why did you decide to join the Raptors this summer?

          Alex McKechnie: Well, I think the first thing is that when I was called and asked if I'd be interested in coming to Toronto, they made it very clear that it was to come to a team that had great aspirations of going places, number one. It's a very attractive city, a great city to live in. Coming back to Canada was nice. I think also the fact that the position itself was not a lateral move for me. It was a very positive move to come in and establish some systems, some protocols that we can implement into the Raptors, which I felt was a huge challenge.

          So the challenge itself was number one. The people were very, very persuasive. I was very impressed with the management and the way I was treated coming in.

          JS: I've read that Jay Triano had a hand in reaching out and approaching you about this position.

          AM: He did, yes. Jay called me, I was in Vancouver after the season and (he) asked if I'd be interested in coming to Toronto. It was that simple and I said absolutely. I've known Jay for a long time from his SFU (Simon Fraser University) days when I was a therapist there and he played. So that's where our relationship goes back nearly 30 years.

          JS: Your position is a new one with the organization. What responsibilities come with being the Director of Sports Science?


          AM: The idea is to oversee the rehabilitation of our players along with the strength and conditioning components. We will establish solid baselines in terms of fitness, posture, movement and reactive training, which offer us a reference point that we can review throughout the course of the season. We can reference these statistics during the course of injury rehab and we can ascertain improvements or deficiencies throughout the course of the year. So the whole idea is to oversee all of that and establish a good solid foundation for training, for rehabilitation and for prevention.

          JS: From your perspective, is establishing that baseline for players the priority now that you can worth with them?

          AM: It's a really good question in the sense of 'where do we move from here?' This normally would have been done just after Labour Day and once they get in, it gives us time to work with people. Now we're going to have a shortened season, we don't have the benefit of the pre-season at this point. So we'll have to have a combination of working our programs between on-court practices with coaches. It presents a huge challenge.

          I think one of the first things we have to look at is getting a baseline of simple cardio conditioning. We’re hoping that the cardio conditioning is good however, we can’t estimate that. Therefore, that's one thing we'll be looking at. So the lockout has definitely presented some challenges.

          JS: From there, is it a matter of tailoring specific programs for specific players?

          AM: Absolutely. There's a comment I like to use for questions like that and it's that when we look at rehabilitation and training and conditioning, there's a science to it and once you establish the science the trainer becomes an artist and so it's really painting that individual's picture.

          For example, you're not going to do the same things you may for a post-up player as you would for a guard. Totally different approach to the training protocols. In much the same way that we look at a player shooting on his right side as a guy shooting from his left. There's a completely different set of default postures that we look at.

          Each player will go through a screening system. Again, this would have been done prior to the season, but we're going to have to do this throughout the course of the year and obviously it's still information that we will have that will be useful for us moving forward.

          But the idea is we take each player and screen each player through movement and posture. There's fundamental testing that's done, compared to the testing that's done at the [NBA Draft] combine in Chicago. We will add to things like jump mat testing, which is a system where we measure the amortized time on the floor compared to the height and we get a formula out of that, which gives us power. This information is extremely useful and used as reference points when players return from injury. We can see where they're at relative to where they were. Hence the importance of that is creating a durable return to playing. It also allows us to tailor or rehab program accordingly.

          We're going to look at things like a yo-yo test, which is cardio conditioning test. Effectively it's a couple of markings 20 metres apart that you run through and there's a beep that goes off and you have to strike the mark each time over a period of time with a 10-second rest. It cycles through different stages and each stage speeds up and you run until failure. That gives us a baseline for cardio conditioning and it also gives us a baseline to measure players over the course of the year. It also allows us to measure players playing limited minutes.

          Source: Raptors.com

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          • #20
            Delonte_West wrote: View Post
            good maybe AB will come into the season in nba shape
            How old is this picture, like three or four years? Got anything recent?

            Edit: This thread is old. Got confused there for a sec.

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            • #21
              Raptors.com Interview with Alex McKechnie Part 2

              JS: The Raptors lost their share of man-games to injury last season and some of those players commented on learning the importance of core strength a little too late -- namely AFTER being injured. Why is core strength so important for NBA players?JS: You've created a tool specifically designed to build core strength, can you describe how that works?JS: Will this system be one of your teaching tools here?

              AM: Yes. Every player will have that. Each player will have what we call a "prehab bag" in their locker, which will include a foam roller, an Acuball, [which is a pressure ball], a stretching strap and a Core-X system. Each player will be versed in these areas, we'll teach them over the course of the year. This can't happen overnight. It's establishing a culture and a process. So each player will have their own system in their locker that they can work with at any time.

              JS: You're coming here after several seasons with a veteran Lakers team. Are there any advantages to working with a younger group of players here in Toronto?

              AM: I think there's a massive upside to it. That's the beauty of it. I think you've got to compare apples to apples and oranges and oranges and I think veterans come in with a very different set of values. Veteran players know the importance of rest, conditioning, nutrition and have a very professional approach to their job. It becomes a culture. The most important thing we can teach these players is accountability. You have to be accountable. I look forward to that challenge.

              JS: With younger players, is their less of that "re-training" involved? Maybe fewer bad habits to break?

              AM: The interesting thing about good athletes is that they'll perform in spite of problems. There are only 450 players playing in the NBA worldwide. They're all pretty good athletes. I think you have to realize that and accept that. These are really great athletes and they're going to perform in spite of problems. The ideal thing is to identify things that are potential problems and work back from that. That is our role.

              JS: How have you seen your field evolve over the course of your time working with athletes?
              Source: Raptors.com

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              • #22

                Raptors forward James Johnson says that has already happened.

                Source: Toronto Sun


                .

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                • #23
                  Great hiring by the Raptors and a great article Matt. I am also impressed with what he says about the professionalism around the team...statements echoed by JJ in this article. No reason for these guys to even bring it up unless they believe it. Casey seems to be putting his stamp on things. Bodes well for the future.

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                  • #24
                    This guy! He's the miracle worker for players who've had serious injury problems. Shaq may have been his most famous client, but I found out about him by reading an article about the former Man U player. Born in calgary, but plays for the english national team. Suffered a serious back injury and has been out of soccer for a couple of years, went to this guy to see if he can rehabiliatate and play again.

                    If he helps the Raptors that's great. I think Michael Redd was a recent client of his too.

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                    • #25
                      Raptorsss wrote: View Post
                      This guy! He's the miracle worker for players who've had serious injury problems. Shaq may have been his most famous client, but I found out about him by reading an article about the former Man U player. Born in calgary, but plays for the english national team. Suffered a serious back injury and has been out of soccer for a couple of years, went to this guy to see if he can rehabiliatate and play again.

                      If he helps the Raptors that's great. I think Michael Redd was a recent client of his too.
                      That article on the soccer player (Owen Hargreaves) is linked in here. They got connected through a mutual friend - Steve Nash.

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                      • #26
                        Puffer wrote: View Post
                        Great hiring by the Raptors and a great article Matt. I am also impressed with what he says about the professionalism around the team...statements echoed by JJ in this article. No reason for these guys to even bring it up unless they believe it. Casey seems to be putting his stamp on things. Bodes well for the future.
                        I agree with your comments on Casey but I think it speaks highly of Colangelo too (I am guilty of being a BC fanboy in the past so take my comment with a grain of salt). He has always been a highly regarded executive in the league but, clearly as the avatar says that I stole from an Arse article, it took five years but he finally gets it. My only regret on BC is he didn't trade Bosh the moment he refused to sign another extension. Obviously things have changed in the NBA over the last couple of years and it was unfortunate that Toronto/Cleveland had to be the sacrificial lambs for Utah, New Orleans and probably soon to be Orlando.

                        Anyways, if one can look past this season, things look very, very bright considering the mentality of a quick fix is gone.

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                        • #27
                          Matt52 wrote: View Post
                          That article on the soccer player (Owen Hargreaves) is linked in here. They got connected through a mutual friend - Steve Nash.
                          I saw that but I can't delete my post or edit it :/.

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                          • #28
                            Raptorsss wrote: View Post
                            I saw that but I can't delete my post or edit it :/.
                            No worries. Here is the link to the post with the article in this thread:

                            http://raptorsrepublic.com/forums/sh...ll=1#post98476

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