Our day started today at 9:00 a.m.with a walk to the main dinning hall for breakfast. Players typically meet in the courtyard and walk over together. Team sports typical move around the village tougher in a group and it is always fun to see a team walk thru all wearing the same attire. Its a team thing. This morning we were sporting yellow shorts and jean jacket. After breakfast, players rest and prepare on their own.
10:00 – 11:30 treatment on the back deck. Ankles take a beating and several players need a few physiotherapy techniques to get moving, others get their spine mobilized, hips stretched or calves released. Each player has a personalized list of things to do before games, some use foam rollers, others stretch, several see me for physiotherapy. A personal development plan is basically the specific techniques and exercises that are determine from assessments and that are needed perform at their best. They also know what they need to eat and how much they need to drink, and how much time to devote to mental preparation. Some require extra core stability training, others work on the hip and back stabilizers that allow them to sustain a low basketball stance. SAQ , speed and quickness prepares the nervous system the nervous system ready to play is another very important aspect of readiness.
Game time now dictates the rest of the day, our schedule counted back from the 2:20 tip off time. Our game meal at the village is -3 hours, taping, bracing and any specific warm ups still at the village starts at -2.5 hours, we met in the courtyard to depart for the bus at -1.5 hours and arrive at the gym – 1 hour. Then everything gets planned down to the minute. The coaches address the athletes -40 minutes and after the players are dressed and ready they enter the field of play at -30 minutes. At -29 minutes the teams start their team movement prep warm up which is a combination of dynamic stretching and functional movements. At -19 we begin our team basketball SAQ warm up, Speed and Quickness warm up to prepare the nervous system, and then the skill warm up, shooting, passing, and basketball play. At -9 minutes the teams assemble for introductions and national anthems, we exchange pins with our opponents and then begin our second basketball warm up at -1.30 minutes to tip off.
The game keeps me very busy, there is some good research to show that keeping muscles warm can improve performance so you will see me getting playing jerseys to every player every time they come off the court. Nutrition is very important and players drink up to 5 litters our preferred nutritional drink during a game. My role is to be prepared for an emergency on the floor and my time is spent taking care of any cuts and or joint sprains and muscle strains. Today we had one of each and a number of pretty significant contusions and needed attending to after the game. Basketball at the Olympics can be pretty physical and I have to be ready for just about anything.
Following the game today, a great win over Brazil, the press conferences and interviews took 45 minutes, then onto the bus to head back the village. A nice time for us to celebrate the win and enjoy the great feeling of playing well and being relentless and fearless. Great game and now we are in the top eight in the world! A quick meal at the outside Barbecue for me and a few players and then we begin recovery process to get ready for our next game. After a good recovery meal of carbohydrates and little protein, players get a massage and physiotherapy, hit the cold tubs and rest. Tomorrow will be much of the same, a recovery day where we will rest, eat well, get treatments, practice and lay low. We play Australia in two days and will put all of our efforts now into getting ready for this game, watch film, review strategies, and prepare ourselves mentally and physically.