Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coaches and conditioning

Heading back from Greece today after almost a week in Athens...

Going through my email box this morning, I came across a story from one of my local papers about Jack LaLanne, the legendary workout king who is still going strong at age 93.

[That's Jack on the cover of a fitness magazine from the 1950s.]

When LaLanne was starting out back in the 1930s, to help promote his new gym, he went down to a local high school, and found two kids: The fattest kid in school and the skinniest one. He visited their homes and talked with their parents about letting their kids come to his gym to not only exercise, but get nutrition tips.

The parents agreed.

Four months later, the big boy had lost 40 pounds and the skinny kid had gained 40 pounds of muscle. That's when people began flocking to his gym.

I'm a big proponent of working out every day. It's my feeling that, as coaches, it's important to be physically fit. If you want your players to be in top condition, you -- as a coach -- need to set the example. But it's not just about your players seeing that you value conditioning. Being in great shape will give you the energy you need to be a better coach.

My father was a fitness fanatic. He'd work out tirelessly, lifting weights and running 5-10 miles a day. He also played full-court basketball with his friends a few times a week into his 50s.

One time with the Timberwolves, he challenged rookie Gerald Glass to a full-court sprint. Gerald literally had to dive across the baseline to beat him.