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The mind differentiates the good from the great players
I had a mental coach in Nancy, a sports psychologist, because I had a tendency to get out of control very quickly. I've been working on this. It is very much a trend today to manage pressure, to anticipate certain events, to contain frustration. We talk, we exchange, we do breathing exercises. Almost all of the current great champions have a mental coach. We can even work on videos to identify and analyze the attitudes of a player in a game. Yoga and sophrology are also trendy today. The mind differentiates the good from the great players. NBA superstars are able to handle pressure during major events. The day before a playoff game, the superstar will manage. The others take the pressure. Having a solid mind allows you to be ready at the right time.
Believe in yourself!
The advice I would give to a young basketball player who wants to pursue a career in basketball? I think the most important thing is to believe in yourself... The road to success is full of pitfalls, but if you are convinced that you have the qualities to become a champion and are willing to make all the necessary sacrifices, there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. It may take as long as it takes, but sooner or later, the effort pays off. Paradoxically, I think that being raised mainly by my mother helped me a lot. I saw her sacrifice herself and work hard for me every day. She was a real inspiration! Not everything has been easy in my career, but that didn't stop me from believing in myself when few people did. This remains my course of action to this day. The desire to win and to be the best at something has always been buried in me, from the earliest age. I can't really explain it... To all my young basketball friends and other sports enthusiasts, I encourage you to always believe in yourself. No matter what people say... Never think about giving up!
Everyone has their own routine
The warm-up before a training session and the warm-up before a match are different. While a warm-up may vary before a practice, it remains the same before a game. Everyone has a routine before the coach briefing. Some stay on their side and warm up with rubber bands, others shoot. Then, after leaving the locker room, the collective training can start with a stretching session directed by the captain. Then the physical trainer leads the races and shoots. I had a routine for stretching: first standing to stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. For the back, some sheathing but not long then stretching in a sitting position. Personally, I've always been very superstitious. One hour before the game, I had to make two shots at 45 degrees. If I didn't score the first time, I'd think that I would play a bad game.
Warm up according to your physical condition
Warming up is essential to avoid injuries when you are ramping up. Every athlete has a ritual. It depends on the fragility of your ankles and wrists. But there is a basis: stretching, joint rotations that everyone can do before a training session or a game. Ideally, 30 minutes should be spent on a warm-up before a game and 20 minutes before a training session. If, like Rudy, you have a fragile ankle, you have to work with airbags (Waff type) or a Freeman plate (disc placed on a half sphere) to facilitate circular movements in particular. It also restores flexibility to the ankle and strengthens the muscles. After an injury, I recommend running on uneven ground to strengthen yourself.
Clearing my head before the game
I like to listen to music before a game to get into my bubble. About fifty minutes before the match I start my pre-game routine and prepare my body. It is during this moment that I really start to enter the meeting and focus on the work I have to do.
Nutrition, a performance key factor
Here is my awesome cook! Many players have a cook. It is essential to have meals adapted to the intensity of the NBA season. When I entered the training centre in Cholet, I was explained very quickly the importance of paying attention to what I eat. Avoid carbohydrates, fats and even sparkling water. When you have certain goals, especially when you dream of going pro, you have to make sacrifices. My mother always encouraged me to eat a balanced diet anyway. Since I arrived in the US after the draft, my life has obviously changed. I usually have breakfast with the whole team at the training centre, it's always a good time. From a nutritional point of view, we are very well supervised and followed by the Jazz. My cook is very careful about the amount and the choice of my food. Lots of starchy foods and white meat, a starter and a dessert with as little sugar as possible. Personally, I eat a lot of fruit at every meal.
Don't skip leg day
A very important part of my training is to focus on the lower part of my body, for home and away games. I use mini bands around my knees that allow me to warm up my thigh muscles first. Then I work on the whole lower body before moving on to the court. Good ankle stability is also an essential point of my training programs. To work well on this stability, I use the Waff pad without shoes during the warm-up and imperatively before any basketball activity.