July 22, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas – Alan Bishop is busy all year. As UT Arlington's men's basketball strength and conditioning coach, the work never ends.
But the summer, more so than any other, is Coach Bishop's time. That's when his work with the men's team hits overdrive. The Mavericks are already showing the fruits of that labor as they prepare for the 2013-14 season.
"Summer is the time to do it because you have a little less demand on your body from what we do in practice," UT Arlington men's basketball coach Scott Cross said. "They have an opportunity to take in more calories and put on some muscle and increase their max lifts in the weight room. I think they look good. A lot of them have already gotten stronger and I imagine over the next four or five weeks they'll do even better."
UTAMavs.com caught up with Bishop to discuss his philosophy and goals in developing a strength-and-conditioning program for the men's team:
What are your goals in the summer as far as getting the players ready for the season?
The summer is really big for us. The summer is the time we don't have a lot of distractions because the campus is pretty empty. It's just our teams together. When it comes down to the time in the weight room, we have three things we're working to accomplish. The first is athletic development, which is jumping higher, running faster, and getting stronger and more explosive. The second is injury prevention, which is keeping these guys healthy. They're all better basketball players than I am, but if one of them has a bum ankle, we're getting the same minutes and they're not helping the team. we've got to keep them healthy and on the floor. We can do things in the summer like structural balance and making sure they don't have any impediments in their movements. The third thing is just hard work, making them work hard and increasing our work capacity through hard work. We're trying to make them the toughest team on the court.
There must be a real trust factor between you and the coaching staff.
Coach Cross really has to trust me and I have to know exactly what he wants done because I have the players for essentially three times more time than their sport coaches. We have to be on the same page. Nobody wants to win more than Coach Cross and he knows I'm the same way. You have two guys that are on the same page. He can trust me that I'm going to do everything I can do to help us win games by having players physically developed.
Coach Cross has been known to get after it in the weight room.
He's squatting over 400 pounds, he's unreal. He's training with me and I'm breaking sweats, saying 'Who is this guy? He's a machine.' That's how he had success. He was the hardest working player on the floor. He places a lot of value in strength and conditioning. That's a great challenge. I have to be on my game, making sure we're holding our players to that same standard. Nobody is going to outwork us. We will be the hardest working team in the conference. We will be the hardest working team in the state. I'd put what we're doing, as far as the attitude and the effort, up against anybody.
How do you indoctrinate the new players in the program and get them up to speed with the players that have already worked with you?
At the end of the day, they have to be better basketball players because they've spent time with me and working in this program. In terms of what I'm looking for – their movement patters, how I want their bodies reacting to certain stimulus – the new guys have a lot of catching up to do, but if they weren't great basketball players, we wouldn't have brought them in. They will be behind a little bit in terms of knowing what we want, but this is great class of newcomers. I'm not worried about Day 1. It's a process. We're looking for them to improve throughout the process of their four-year training program. For us to be the best product possible, we need for them to be the best athletes possible when they step on the floor. We're going to push them.
Watching a player like sophomore Drew Charles working on footwork with the freshmen speaks to the teamwork this team has. How would you describe the character of this team?
I love being a part of this team. we don't have any character issues. We don't have that one bad apple that's going to spoil the bunch. From our oldest senior to our youngest freshman, they are genuinely concerned with the success of their teammates. Everyone has individual goals, but they fall within the team goals. It's about holding each other accountable and making each other better.