A few weeks back we had the pleasure of being witness to Dirk Nowitzki and his long time coach, Holger Geschwindner going through one of their legendary (and rather secretive) shooting workouts on one of the Maverick’s days off. If you have no clue what one of these workouts looks like please scroll down and watch the videos that accompany this post, because quite frankly it is very hard to describe in words the type of drill work that was being done. This workout, regardless of its unorthodox nature, encompassed everything that should be sought after in a player, trainer, skill development program, and life. Several lessons were learned from observing this quick but effective one hour workout:
- Dirk and his coach have implemented a systematic approach to developing basketball skills. They have a philosophy and they have a routine. The routine, at this point in Dirk’s career, is mainly used for maintenance and sharpening of Dirk’s already impressive skill set. But for the 14 year old Dirk or the Rookie in the NBA Dirk, this systematic approach is what allowed him to continually add weapons to his overall game. It was a process, it was long term in nature, and it was successful in developing one of the most complete players we have ever seen play basketball.
- Dirk had tremendous focus throughout his workout. Geschwindner, his coach, barely said a word. Dirk barely said anything. He was locked in and as a result every step was perfectly placed, and every shot was perfectly consistent. This lack of focus is part of the reason why good players don’t become great. The attention to detail, the deliberate practice, the conscious thought put into the drill’s execution and technique is what makes a perfect practice. Dirk was probably performing this workout for the 5,000th time but even so, he was intensely focused on the task at hand.
- The workout itself focuses heavily on footwork, economy of motion, balance and strengthening the lower body. If you look at Dirk’s body, he doesn’t have the physically imposing frame that many at his position have. But all that doesn’t matter because he is incredibly strong and flexible in the lower body. Some of the drills included performing a full squat touching the ground with the ball and then going up for a jumper. Another drill was lunges across the fouline and turning into a jumpshot. And obviously there was plenty of single leg balancing and shooting off the wrong foot. Regardless of how unorthodox the drills were or whether they mimic game situations, their purpose was clear, you need balance and you need to consciously incorporate your lower body into all of your shots. The workout also called for left handed free throws (which Dirk shot about 90 percent on) as well as deep 3PT shots. Dirk finished the workout with a vigorous stretching routine that only a few female yoga instructors on this planet can do. It was painful just watching the stretches, but Dirk seemed right at home with the range of motion he was going through.
- There is a reason some players are great. Dirk on his off day, in what is already a grueling schedule this year in the NBA, was literally the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. That’s an old cliche but it was damn true in this case because we were there to see it. Dirk and other great players have a commitment to skill development, have a structured plan, and pay great attention to all the small details when it comes to their drill work. They also love working on their games. In one of the videos below, Dirk says he doesn’t practice because he gets paid to. He actually has fun working on his game. We can attest to the fact that it looked and felt like the workout Dirk was performing was rather soothing to him.
- Dirk and his workout regimen is a testament to the proper way to develop as a youth player. Dirk played other sports growing up. He didn’t play basketball until 13 or 14 years old allowing him to develop other fundamental movement skills and peak as a basketball player at the right time in his life. Also, as a really tall kid growing up he wasn’t relagted to just play in the post because he was taller than everyone else. Dirk as a 7 footer always worked on his perimeter game. Now he is virtually unguardable. Kids growing up should be working on becoming the complete player, not just wedged into a position because of their height. In the workout we saw, Dirk did not dunk once! Not once. Not that Dirk is a high flyer or anything, but it says something when a guy that has that ability to dunk never waste his time doing so. Dirk worked on various skilled shots and quite frankly, a dunk is not a skilled shot.
Please view the following videos to further get the picture of how truly great Dirk Nowitzki and his workout regimen are.