Apr 1, 2015
Final Four Ready

At the University of Wisconsin, Men’s Basketball Strength Coach Erik Helland made significant changes to the team’s routine this year, convincing Head Coach Bo Ryan to decrease the workload in practice and having players self-report how they are feeling. Helland’s methods were prompted in large part by his NBA experience, an ability to gain the trust of Ryan, and constant attention to detail. The Chippewa Herald reports that Helland’s work extends far beyond the weightroom. These are some of the strategies he’s enforced during his two years at Wisconsin:

Proper Fueling: Frank Kaminsky recalls one example when, while catching up with his family after a game, he received a text message from Helland reminding the senior center to make his way to a meeting room to eat.

 “He’s on top of us, he’s looking out for us and how our bodies are feeling and what we need to be eating,” Kaminsky said. “It’s awesome to have someone like that around so you know that you have someone who’s going to be harsh on you when you need it.”

Monitoring: Helland is very mindful of the strain and stress the players’ bodies go through, even accounting for factors external to the game, like time zone shifts and sleep troubles.

Together with athletic trainer Henry Perez-Guerra, he’s tracked each player’s soreness, sleep duration and quality, nutrition, and mood on a daily basis using the information-gathering app MetriFit. Helland plugs the team’s information into an Excel spreadsheet and examines their workload and what amount of stress they face, intervening when necessary.  

Staying Fresh: Helland suggested cutting back practice loads, and Ryan listened. In concert with Helland’s other tactics, the reduction has allowed the Badgers to look more energized than their opponents thus far, with their starters playing more minutes on the floor.

“When I watch our team play, I see Erik’s work,” said John Dettmann, head of Wisconsin’s strength and conditioning program. “Some people can’t maybe see (the) down-to-the-minute detail that I might, but I see it. I see it in their physicality, I see it in their style of play, I see it in how effective they are. I can see his work.”


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