Lifting Weights & Basketball- The Story Of Michael Jordan’s Breakfast Club

“Good Morning Jason!
Coach Tucker doesn’t want them training during in-season because they need to be focused on their plays and it will throw off their shot. They have practice everyday but Sunday. So once season is over in a few weeks he will be back to Athletic Revolution in full swing.”
-Basketball Parent 
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The above email came from a basketball athlete’s dad. The names, except mine, have been changed.
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Unfortunately this is how a lot of coaches, parents and athletes think and behave. Especially with basketball players but its applicable to all sports and athletes.
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They think strength training will hurt their shooting ability or cause them to stunt their growth. Both are Ludacris!
rapper hilliard sports training
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Let’s take a ride back in time and talk about one basketball player that everybody should know— Michael Jordan.
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Jordan came into the league and won the rookie of the year with ease. But the Bulls were simply pathetic overall and the question was can Jordan take them over .500 winning percentage.
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Critics also thought he would just a be an offensive juggernaut and not be able to bring his defensive ability up to where it should be.
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We all know that Jordan shut those defense critics up pretty quickly in his career.
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Then it was a matter of taking the Bulls to a championship. For a couple years Jordan and the Bulls were knocked out of the eastern conference playoffs by the Pistons.
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Hall of Famer Joe Dumars wore Jordan down with his defense especially later in the game and as the series went on.
michael jordan athletic revolution hilliard basketball training
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Jordan had mad respect for Joe. And he realized one thing- Joe was one strong dude– and he never let up.
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Enter the 1990-91 season. Jordan wanted a championship bad. So he created a program during the off-season and kept it up during the entire season— it was called the Breakfast Club.
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air jordan basketball training in hilliard, oh lebron james
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It started off with just Jordan and Tim Grover. Grover was a strength and conditioning coach and started working with Mike in 1989 and continued for the rest of his career.
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Breakfast club was an early morning workout that started around 730-800 and would last about an hour. It took place at Jordan’s house and then his chef would cook breakfast for the guys who attended- hence the name ‘Breakfast Club’.
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The breakfast club included Grover, Ron Harper who was basically there everyday, Scottie Pippen, Randy Brown, and Charles Oakley.
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That season was the first of Jordan and Pippens’ 6 championships.
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athleticrevolutionhilliardThe breakfast club lifted before practices, even on game days and even on playoff game days.
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Pretty sure more parents will be reading this rather then kids, so you probably remember: How was Jordan’s and Pippen’s jump shot? Defensive ability? Jumping ability? 
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Did weight training and working out on game nights hurt their performance?
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The year the Breakfast Club started was the year they won their first championship.
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The previous 6 years- nothing.
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Coincidence???
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I think not.
basketball fitness and strength training for high school
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Here’s what happens to most high school and middle school kids in regards to their basketball training:

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Most don’t do any strength training during the season. All their conditioning work and ‘strength’ work is done during practices. Maybe pushups and sit-ups if they don’t get their plays right. And when I say ‘pushup’ I use that term loosely. Most kids (around 90%) when they come into our program can’t perform one perfect pushup rep.
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No strength work during the season means they are strongest when the games don’t mean anything—— pre-season, scrimmages, and first games of the season. And they are weakest when the games really do matter—— end of the season, post-season, championship games.
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The ones that do do strength training during the season, what exactly are they doing? A lot of times most school’s and programs don’t have a dedicated strength and conditioning coach, it occasionally is just the sport coach. This can be a huge issue, because being a strength and conditioning coach is more then a full-time job, so is coaching a team sport. And a lot of team sport coaches are also a teacher.
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How are those coaches that do do in-season training actually programming the strength training for their athletes? 

One recent instance that comes to mind is a football/basketball player who came into our class mentioned he did weight training with his team Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I asked him what he did that day and the first thing out of his mouth was ‘curls and bench’. Anytime you see bicep curls in a strength and conditioning program as a weekly exercise please find another program.
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The other thing is form. Walk into most program’s weight rooms and you will see some atrocious form. Execution on the court creates a winning environment. Why would you think in the weight room would be any different? Or in anything in life? The first time your son or daughter dribbles a ball do they exhibit the skills of a Harlem Globetrotter? No, but with practice they keep getting better and better at it. As with all the skills of basketball or any sport. Well the same principle applies with strength training— first comes performing the exercise safely, then comes the additional techniques:
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  • increased weight
  • lifting it faster (more power, explosive)
  • lifting it slower (more muscle building)
  • Doing more advanced progressions
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There’s a lot more different variables that can be applied, but if form is not correct you can’t move to those progressions. And you don’t protect the athlete— strength training is serious business that can result in injury, disability, paralysis, or even death. Sports coaches and even some certified strength and conditioning coaches or personal trainers will let form slide especially on the basis of putting up higher numbers in the weight room which is more a problem with boys then girls programs, but it shouldn’t happen at all.
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At Athletic Revolution-Hilliard our number one concern is Injury Prevention. If an athlete gets hurt, progress is either going to stop completely and all gains be lost, or modifications are going to have to be made in the training and progress will either need to be maintained or will reduce a little or a lot depending on where the injury is.
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Then our second concern is increasing performance. The best way to do this is through strength training— YEAR ROUND!
athleticrevolutionhilliard
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We incorporate strength training every single day at our program. Some athletes we need to modify due to current injuries or other things they did that day.
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Getting stronger in the basic lifts— Squats, deadlifts, presses, pushups, rows, pullups, cleans, lunges, planks, swings— decreases the risk of injury, increases whole body coordination, mobility, flexibility, speed, agility, power, explosiveness, acceleration, and deceleration. As long as it is done right. And notice I didn’t mention ‘curls’.
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A weak athlete is a slow athlete.
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The ability to stop, cut, re-accelerate, jump, rebound, all require strength.
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Strength training also helps a players conditioning. Muscles that take longer to fatigue can go longer and harder. That was Jordan’s issue getting past Joe Dumars and the Pistons.
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If you are a coach working with basketball players or any type of athlete I encourage you to be a professional as a sports coach, and leave the strength and conditioning up to the strength and conditioning professionals. Every NBA team has it’s own strength and conditioning coach. Some players even have their own personalized ones. I’m happy to work with you. I do what I do to make kids better— at their sport and at life. I truly believe you can’t live your best life without some form of training.
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If you are a parent of an athlete, I encourage you to share this post with your child’s coach. Especially if you think your athletes strength program is nonexistent or extremely lacking. We do have a weight training assessment that we do for athletes: you can check that out here.
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Let me know your thoughts down below. Got questions please ask. Don’t forget to share this article.
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athleticrevolutionhilliard
 

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