Check out this interview with my colleague Charlie Weingroff for an insight into the work we do with the Canadian men's basketball players as Canada Basketball's Integrated Support Team......
Playing in this past July’s Pan Am Games, the Canadian Men’s National Basketball Team proved the program’s depth and quality by pulling off a dramatic, overtime victory over the United States and winning silver in Toronto, the team’s first ever Pan Am medal. Building off that momentum, this month Team Canada begins preparations for the FIBA Americas Championship, studding their roster with an even greater mix of NBA talent—including 2014-15 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, sharpshooter Nick Stauskas, and seven-footer Kelly Olynyk—who will represent their country alongside former number-one lottery pick Anthony Bennett and future University of Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray.
As they train for FIBA Americas, Team Canada’s goal is greater than bringing home another medal: playing in Mexico, the team will be competing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Just before the players returned to camp, we had the opportunity to speak with the team’s strength & conditioning coach, Charlie Weingroff, whose lengthy experience as a trainer, physical therapist, and elite sport consultant has led to positions with the US Marine Corps, the NBA, and his current role with Canada Basketball.
Omegawave: For the Pan Am games, Team Canada suited-up players from a wide spectrum of backgrounds—what specific training challenges arise when you have athletes who range from soon-to-be freshman to guys in their thirties, and players fresh off the NBA grind versus others who’ve been playing in a variety of international leagues?
Charlie Weingroff: As far as training, the bigger challenge has less to do with the players themselves, and more to do with the logistics of our schedule. Because we feel very strongly about our testing program, and we have a fair amount of staff—at a given time there are only a maximum of 15 players and a minimum of 12—we feel pretty strongly that we can tailor individualized preparedness programs for our players. The problem is not so much that there are varying levels of experience, the problem is that we don’t always have a lot of time for general physical preparedness. If Coach (Jay Triano) is going to run two-a-days, what we sometimes do in the afternoon really turns into skills training sessions—the biggest challenge then is trying to find an opportunity to actually train in the afternoon and have a belief that we’re going to get something out of it. In the Pan Am, where we only had one week to prepare, we’re not really going to get anything more than recovery training. So, we’ll get a lot more done during what we do here for FIBA, but the biggest challenge is not the variance of the players—it’s having legitimate time partitioned.