Recently, Dime was invited by Nike Basketball to go through weekly specialized/individualized training sessions with professional trainers to test out the new Nike LeBron X+ as well as the accompanying Nike+ Basketball technology. Our own Jaimie Canterbury went through it. Here’s what went down…
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My initial reaction when told I was invited to participate in Nike’s Basketball Plus training (aside from excitement) was curiosity. The details given in the invitation were so intriguing it would make any Nike fanatic like myself wonder what they had in store for us. If you haven’t noticed, Nike gets very creative when launching new product, so it’s always exciting to wonder what they have up their sleeves. A few days later, on the first Tuesday of October, I was finally able to find out.
Over a six-week period, a select group of New York media members (including myself) tested out Nike’s newest innovation with the help of some of the most successful trainers and coaches in basketball.
The morning of our first session I woke up at 6 a.m. sharp. Although getting up early isn’t exactly my favorite thing to do, this was one of those days that I just couldn’t wait to hear my alarm go off. In order to make sure each of us made it on time a car service was scheduled to pick us up and take us to and from the gym. Avoiding the frustrations of public transportation early in the morning made things run a lot more smoothly, and as a result made me even more eager to get to the gym.
I was the first one to make it to Basketball City that morning. Greeted by our good friend Brian Strong from Nike Communications, I was given a black LeBron box and a duffle bag upon arrival. In the bag there was a pair of Nike Pro Combat shorts, a uniform, a pair of fresh white and black elite socks, a track jacket with my name “Canterbury” stitched on the chest, and an iPod touch. I opened up the shoebox to find a special pair of brand new LeBron Xs. I had known we would be playing in LeBrons, but definitely didn’t expect to find a pair of Crown Jewels as I opened the box. Now I wouldn’t call myself a “sneaker head” anymore, (the term has completely lost all its credibility) but anyone who loves kicks as much as me can imagine how exited I was to play in those babies.
[RELATED: Wear Testing The New Nike Hyperdunk+]
After suiting up in the locker room, I went out to the courts to warm up. Once all of us were ready to go, we sync’d our shoes up to our iPods and got to work. Our head trainer, Daryl “D-Trained” Smith – who has been training for six years working with St. Patrick’s high school, Nike Sparq and the Jordan Breakfast Club – got us started by introducing us to our weekly warm-up. It was way more intense than we expected and by the time it was over most of us were out of breath already. After the warm-up, we kicked off with a few basic full-court drills. Then we each did a vertical test using the Nike+ Basketball app on our iPod touches. After all that was done, it was finally time to play ball.
We played a full game with four eight-minute quarters, and our shoes measured our performance every step of the way. By the time we were finished each of us were exhausted. Following our workout, a nutritionist had smoothies waiting for each of us, and stressed the importance of the relationship between nutrition and exercise. She went on to introduce us to Chef Max Hardy who would prepare us a delicious breakfast after each workout. On the ride home from the first workout I was astounded by how good his meal was. In addition to everything else to look forward to in the next session, Chef Max’s meal was right at the top of the list.
The next two sessions would be the most intense. Week 2 was focused more on speed and agility training. We followed the same cycle for the most part, but the drills were a lot more difficult. D-Train was showing no mercy this week. He had us doing nonstop drills with the speed ladder, cone drills with the basketball, and straight up foot races to help us work on our end-to-end speed and to help us pick up our stamina a little bit. It was no secret that we were out of shape in our first workout, so D-Train was determined to get us in shape for the final two sessions.
Week 3 was our shooting session. Dave Hopla, (the shooting coach for the New York Knicks) paid us a visit to help us sharpen our fundamentals. We worked on our form, shooting off the dribble and getting open off the ball. At one point during the session we all sat along the baseline watching as Hopla made shot after shot, single-handedly. He may’ve hit the rim once in every seven attempts, while at the same time emphasizing how much of a game-changer Nike+ technology really is.
And he wasn’t just saying that for his health. The fact that players finally have a way of tracking their games and measuring their performance is a big deal. It’s a remarkable evolution from your typical basketball shoe. Over the course of a season, Nike+ technology can really help a player stay on track by allowing you to keep records of what you do well, and what you need to improve on every time you lace up. It’s a tool that players can really benefit a lot from and need to take advantage of. Now that players have a way to gauge their performance it allows them to pay more attention to detail and really fine tune their games.
Unfortunately, due to hurricane Sandy, our final session wouldn’t be until two weeks later. After hearing the news that Basketball City suffered some serious court damage and wouldn’t be ready for another six to eight weeks, we were forced to find another gym. Lucky for me, my alma mater St. John’s University would serve as our new location. Coach Steve Lavin was kind enough to open up his home court in Carnesecca Arena to us and stuck around to watch us the entire time. We each got to sit down with him for five minutes and soak in all the knowledge on how to translate our results from Nike+ to becoming a better player on the court.
After a few group pictures and some great conversation it was time for us to conclude our training. At the beginning of our first session, our host Brian Strong said that he’d have a surprise for whomever showed the most improvement throughout the four weeks. After tallying up everyone’s stats, I ended up coming out as the winner. I’m still waiting to see what this surprise is, but I’ll be sure to let all my Instagram followers know what it is as soon as I find out. Overall, it was a great experience and I can’t begin to thank Nike enough for the opportunity. If there were ever a shoe that can actually help you become a better player, as opposed to just making you feel like one, it’s the Nike LeBron X+.
What do you think?
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