The camp in December 2016 will be even bigger and better than the one held last year.
UBA Chairman Tommy Fisher has created the opportunity to bring players to the U.S. both as a reward for top performers, and even more importantly, as a way to introduce training and conditioning which can be used year round in India. “I think the most important thing is pushing the boys of India to a higher level of competition than they’ve probably been able to achieve,” says Mr. Fisher. “The one thing that we have that I see is there’s heart and there’s effort and these players of India want to become better. They listen when the coaches talk to them.” Mr. Fisher adds, “They want to become better basketball players. And so, we’re starting at something that’s pure that hopefully we can make great.”
Mr. Fisher hired Jody Basye, who has coached at a variety of levels for two decades in Arizona, as the UBA’s Director of Coaching. Basye then put together the league’s first U.S. Pro Training Camp in Phoenix, Arizona in November 2015. “It’s going to be an ongoing training thing.” Basye adds, “It’s just the small fundamentals. That’s why I stop the game and show them visually, this is what needs to happen.” Basye is a hands-on coach who often demonstrates what he’s coaching. “Get all the way back to here, sprint back to here and then turn around. Keeping your eyes back and seeing the ball. So I’m trying to do a lot of visuals to make sure it’s translating.”
Base’s instruction translated very well to several of the players who attended the first Pro Training Camp, including Kaif Zia of the Bengaluru Beast. “What the UBA is providing us is actually outstanding,” says Kaif. “We never thought we could get something like this It is great opportunity for us to be training under professionals.” The learning experience also hit home for the defensive-minded Ajinkya Mehta of the Pune Peshwas. “Actually (Coach) has been teaching us helping defense,” says Ajinkya. “We have not been taught helping defense so we have been starting on it. We have been getting through it mostly to learn it fast.”
Another professional who is a key part of the UBA Pro Training Camp is the Head Performance Coach at Pro Advantage Systems in Phoenix, Keith Wilson, who has trained some of the top professional athletes in several sports in the United States. Wilson designed several exercise drills designed for basketball players to improve their bodies and specific conditioning to the sport. “I like to teach as I train so I want to educate them,” says Wilson. “Everything I do with someone I have a reason for it. So every athlete I work with, i don’t just arbitrarily throw something in their program. I can explain everything and that’s what I’ve tried to do during this training process so they can understand what I’m trying to accomplish with them.”
The UBA has created several training videos with Wilson, each explaining an exercise designed to help basketball players in specific areas. Players can access those videos to help in their off-season training. Taj Sandhu of the Punjab Steelers attended the first Pro Training Camp and immediately felt the impact of Wilson’s training regimen. “The drills we are doing, the circuit training, are everything, all for strength.” Taj adds, “It’s very different from the way we used to do it in India. There are many machines I think are specifically for jumping, for vertical, for our calves, the squats, there are many kind of things which are going to help for our leaps and to move faster in basketball.”
Wilson’s exercises are all done in ways UBA players can still do upon returning to India and the videos allow other players to access Wilson’s instruction as well. “The main thing,” according to Wilson “is just about being consistent and putting the time in and putting the effort in and staying consistent with their program.”
The UBA is consistent with its program as well. In December 2016 select UBA players will again be brought from India to the United States to train as hard as they have ever trained. Detailed practices followed by conditioning drills, all designed to make the best players in the UBA even better. UBA Chairman Tommy Fisher knows there is no substitute for hard work. “Basketball doesn’t come easy for our professionals in here the U.S. and it’s not going to come easy for the professionals in India.” Fisher adds, “They’ve got to work at it and have to be afforded the opportunity to continue to do that.”
Mr. Fisher continues to provide that opportunity. The more the best players in India take advantage and the more they work at it, the better players across India will become. The future of basketball in India has never been brighter than it is today.