Total Approach to Basketball Conditioning

February 26, 2019

LaVall Jordan was elevated to the head basketball coach at Butler University in June 2017, and following his first season leading the Bulldogs, he decided to act on a vision he had for future Butler players.

“My goal is, I want people to see an elite athlete. A different athlete in a Butler uniform in the next couple of years,” Jordan said in an article on the IndyStar.com website. In July 2017, he hired Matthew Johnson as as the program's Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Johnson's program involves much more than weightlifting. His players wear a GPS tracking device during practices with STATSports technology that is worn in a compression garment behind the neck, similar to an odometer. He is also revamping nutrition by stocking the locker room's fridge with healthy snacks, oversees postgame menus, and makes protein shakes available after workouts and practices.

The players undergo training sessions on an underwater treadmill and VersaClimber, a fitness machine that simulates running but with low impact that is used by LeBron James and other top athletes.

Johnson is very hands-on when it comes to providing nutritional products for the players. He shops each week for healthy snacks. The article on Indy.com lists sandwiches, cheese sticks, yogurt, chocolate milk, Jimmy Dean sausage-and-egg sandwiches.

Johnson puts Butlers' training schedule for the entire season is on a color-coded calendar. He marks the intense training days in green. Light training days are indicated in red and yellow days represent modest sessions.

Johnson is able to customize workouts in ways that are specific to the athletic skills suited for basketball. He mixes into the schedule several fun, non-traditional activities, such as obstacle courses, tug of war, and water balloon fights.

“I didn’t come out here not to get the job done,” Johnson said in the article. “I came out here to turn some heads, to make people proud and to have an impact on this program.”

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