That’s how much time elapsed between the Houston Rockets’ first meaningful game of the 2017-2018 season and their last one.
And if they have it their way, the gap will be even longer this season. Thus is life when you’re contending for an NBA title. Peak too early, and your players are weak and feeble during the most pressure-packed games of the season. It’s Javair Gillett’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As the Rockets’ Director of Athletic Performance, Gillett is charged with keeping Houston’s roster in tip-top shape. He knows that championships are the goal, and that the team’s training and progression must reflect that.
“If we think that they’re hitting peak levels of performance in September, October, and we’re seeing drop-offs, something’s wrong. From my standpoint, my goal is to improve strength and power over the course of the season, and if they do not, that’s definitely an issue…If the player is coming into the season and they’re not improving their power and explosiveness, especially in those first couple months, we’re doing something wrong,” Gillett told STACK. “The offseason is the time to get the body conditioned and prepared…If they come back and they’re not strong, that’s a problem. The goal is to be ready at the beginning of the season, but that’s not the end goal. The end goal is to have them at peak performance at the end of the season.”
That means the Rockets are striving to set new PRs throughout the regular season rather than solely sticking with a percentage of their preseason PRs and hoping they “maintain” over the grind of 82 games. Gillett wants the Rockets to exit the regular season stronger and more powerful than when they entered it. High-tech tools that help monitor metrics like bar speed and on-court acceleration help the team stay on the right side of the line between pushing performance and overtraining.
“Our programming changes—there are focus points on certain athletic skills, we might focus on eccentric strength, then on power, then on reactive strength. So the focus of our training changes over the course of the season so they peak at the end of the season heading into the playoffs. And the playoffs could be a two-month ordeal,” Gillett says. “Monitoring movement velocity helps obtain the proper training effect without overtraining.”
Gillett and his fellow NBA strength and conditioning experts will be speaking on such topics at the NBSCA Sports Performance Summit in Chicago on May 18.
“We would love for high school, college level, those types of basketball professionals who have an interest in this—we want them to be aware this is open to them. It’s informal, there’s a lot of networking and face-to-face conversation, and anyone who’s interested in learning about the strength and conditioning side of basketball or sport in general, this is a good event for them,” Gillet says. Registration is now open at TheNBSCA.com.
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