ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT refers to sports performance and in this case, training via sport-specific exercises such as basketball, that not only transfer to the court, but also reduce chances for injury during each workout and throughout the year. Coach Wright has attained much knowledge from countless pre-practice/pre-game routines over the past 15 years. It is his aim (and the entire staff) to instill these aspects of sports performance early on in clients so good habits are established.
The staff will give players a glimpse into professionalism from the stand point of sports performance, a facet of one's progress which is often overlooked. At the collegiate level on to the professional ranks, it is standard protocol for teams to have personnel on board whose job is to properly warm up players so they are ready to go full speed BEFORE practice is underway with the coaching staff.
Sports performance is crucial in a player’s improvement at every level. Those who take it seriously may possibly avoid career-ending injuries or unnecessary hardship. Coach Wright has been fortunate to enjoy a playing career without any major injuries and a part of it is due to him taking sports performance seriously. The biggest part is credited to God’s grace!
Drills may include band work (legs and arms), core (abdominal strengthening), plyometrics (jumping and explosive movements), ladder drills, accelerations/decelerations, ankle and knee stabilization exercises (injury prevention), cone maneuvering drills, and improvement on mechanics with and without the ball.
Coach Wright has been coached by legends such as Roy Condotti (Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame), Bill Self (Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame), and Byron Scott (3-time NBA champion as a Los Angeles Laker). He's been fortunate to be a part of many practices, film sessions, and locker room speeches that allowed him to gain a myriad of understanding and expertise. High level coaches expect their players to have the fundamentals down and be very skilled at certain things offensively AND defensively, yet develop new skills that benefit that current team and ultimately, the player.
It’s ironic how the word “tweener” still has a negative connotation, yet ALL-PURPOSE players are (finally) highly valued in this era.
Point guards are counted on to run the team, yet be able to score. Shooting guards are counted on to score, yet be unselfish enough to get their teammates involved. Small forwards are counted on to play the power forward position, playing bigger than their size, and create fast break opportunities by outrunning opposing, slower power forwards. Power Forwards are counted on to be rebounders, have decent footwork in the post, and also knock-down shots from the perimeter.
Lastly, centers are counted on to do the dirty work in the paint on defense and offense, yet show hints of finesse with a soft shooting touch around the basket and beyond.
If a player looks at the future of basketball, he or she must accept that the style of play has changed unapologetically. When reading a roster sheet, the position next to a player’s name seems to only be a formality. By acknowledging “position-less” players such as Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Candace Parker, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Maya Moore, Shaun Livingston, Nikola Jokić, and Anthony Davis, it’s clear those aforementioned players have inspired players at all levels to work on many skill sets, striving to become ALL-PURPOSE.
"Before the bright lights come on and the games count, players must be willing to fail in order to succeed."
- Julian Wright
Players should expect their minds to work along with their bodies whether it is group training or private sessions.
Players should expect be challenged in areas such as balance, coordination and using their weak hand equally in every drill!