GAINcast Episode 246: Preparing for load (with Chris Chase)

Load management is a hot topic with evolving viewpoints in many sports, especially basketball. A few years ago coaches seemed to think of loads as a poison to be avoided, but many coaches are advocating a new paradigm instead: loads are best managed when you are prepared for them. Chris Chase of the Memphis Grizzlies joins this week’s GAINcast to discuss how he prepares athletes for the demands of the long NBA season, including his use of some non-traditional methods such as flywheel training and constrained movements to find stimulus during the season.

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Notes and quotes

Chris Chase is currently the Director of Performance for the Memphis Grizzlies. Chris has previously served as a strength and conditioning coach for the Atlanta Hawks, as well as strength and conditioning coach on the Olympic sports side for University of Southern California and the University of Rhode Island.

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 4:15 – Background.
  • 8:30 – The grind of NBA coaching.
  • 10:20 – Load management and the grind of playing in the NBA: “The more we learn about the demands of the game, we certainly don’t have the answers but we are moving in a direction that is better than just ‘we need to rest guys.’ The preparation and loading is on the court.” “What are you doing in the offseason to load guys as consistently as you can so that you can make the bucket to fill during the season as large as possible . . . Where can you find spots to purposefully load athletes?”
  • 17:45 – Identifying player deficits, loading opportunities during in-season, and using creative modalities: “If I only have global barbell challenges in my bag, the systemic load is higher than more target constrained movements.”
  • 23:00 – Training on the road and rethinking single-joint work: “To create an adaptable athlete, the coach has to be adaptable as well. How do you adapt your programming to someone you assume is more prepared than they actually are? Just because they are pro doesn’t mean they are prepared.”
  • 25:45 – Preparing underprepared athletes.
  • 32:00 – Comparing US vs. European basketball developmental models.
  • 35:45 – Collaboration with the NBA G League.
  • 37:30 – Flywheel training and where it fits in.
  • 43:15 – Fixing logistical issue via flywheel training.
  • 45:15 – Data in training.
  • 49:15 – Training tendons
  • 50;45 – Priming athletes via flywheel.
  • 51:30 – Anecdotal feedback from players on flywheel training: “Players automatically get the flywheel. It’s not just the exercise they get, but they get what effect it has. Too often we don’t listen to the players. Instead we force them into something we think is good for them.”
  • 52:45 – Isometrics.
  • 57:45 – The value of anecdotal evidence and final thoughts.

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic: