The UBA Bengaluru Training Camp concluded with a stark contrast in the players, from when they walked into the camp and when they charged out at its conclusion. Speed, quickness, athleticism, basketball skills, game sense, the whole gamut of what it takes to be a complete basketball player was worked upon with intense focus, and the results spoke for themselves. That's at par for a camp under UBA Director of Coaching Jody Basye and League Assistant Coach Jon Kimberlin.
“We wanted to see how fit they were, make sure that their fitness improved between here and there. We wanted to make sure that they got a review of the UBA style of fast play and get that back in their DNA before we left.”- said Coach Jon Kimberlin on the goal of the UBA Bengaluru Training Camp.
"It is really good to have an opportunity like this where we can train in new ways. The coaches are amazing, very detail oriented in that they show us a lot of things which we can work in our training to help us get better. It feels like they have a counter for every move and strategy. We get to learn new techniques, which I work in my regular training now." – Dildar Brar of Mumbai Challengers.
The intensity of the UBA Bengaluru Training Camp and the demands it placed on the players rivaled that of any professional basketball competition. "This is definitely more exhausting than any tournament," added Dildar. With two intense training sessions each day, in addition to weight training and attending video sessions, the players got the most out of the sessions with the coaches planning each day to extract the maximum effort and results in a methodical manner.
Coach Puneet Kumar chipping in at the camp.
When the players showed up to the camp, they were already among India's top basketball players. To stay at the top, you have got to keep pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and continuously adapt to new challenges. “Earlier in the NBA/NFL, the players might come to training camp to get into shape. That’s not how it is anymore. Now you have to show up to camp in shape.”- Coach Jon.
"The camp helped me grow my game again. I feel a lot fitter, a lot faster and a lot more capable of shouldering heavy loads in terms of stamina and strength. Re-familiarizing ourselves with the pattern of the US style of play was a great refresher as well." said Sagar Joshi of Punjab Steelers.
The camp brought the players together at the JGI University, Bengaluru, where they stayed for its duration, which also helped them to work together better. "It's great that the players training together also stay together and work together during the camp," said Himanshu Sharma of Haryana Gold.
One of the primary focuses of the camp was to give a strong push to the players’ fitness. "The cardio training was incredible, I saw a huge improvement in my speed and stamina," said Ajinkya Mane of Pune Peshwas. "The first two-three days were a bit more difficult, but then the body got used to it again and we could see ourselves getting better. Coaches wanted us to push our fitness to the next level, so if we can go all out for 40 minutes also, that does not take a toll. Mentally, there is no strain or fatigue once one is so fit, then we can focus more on the game." The players are a lot faster, fitter and have a refreshed sense of UBA style and speed infused back in their system. As a group and as individuals, they left the camp in a much better shape than what they showed up to camp in. Given the intensity of the training sessions, the methodical work put in by the coaches and players, that was to be expected.
"Only the strong survive. Without hard work, you can't improve. It was really good to go all out in the training camp."- Narender Grewal, Pune Peshwas.
The training methods help players at all levels. Before the UBA Bengaluru Training Camp, Coaches Jody and Jon gave their time to work with the youth from JGI Grassroots Sports program in the US, where the kids also got to interact with and learn from UBA Director of Sport A.C. Green. The improvement was apparent in their play after the camp. “The JGI Kids lost by 20 to a team, and after they came back from our training camp in USA, they beat that team by 20.”- Coach Jon.
“The guys that are coming up are more internally motivated. We want that to become the standard the culture, that once I get my job I still want to get better, that I'm not done, I haven't reached my apex, I still have further to grow. This is just the beginning of my professional career.”- Coach Jody.
All the work in the UBA Bengaluru Training Camp was with a simple goal, to help the players raise their game and evolve into better versions of themselves as basketball players. All of which will come on display on live television when UBA Season 5 tips off. “There is no doubt that Season 5 will show the highest standard of basketball that anyone has ever seen in India. And it's not going to be the best that is ever going to be seen in India. It will be the best that it has been until now, and Season 6 is going to be better and Season 7 is going to be better.”- Coach Jon
"It is really helpful to train in a UBA training camp. We always get to learn something new. Speed, stamina, ball handling, everything gets a boost. Getting to play in the UBA style once again is a great refresher," said Nikhil, pictured above with Coach Jon.
Basketball in India is witnessing exponential growth. With UBA signing players to professional multi-year contracts, with NBA legend A.C. Green being a part of UBA, and with the upcoming 3rd annual UBA US Pro Performance Camp, the game is going to be raised another level when UBA Season 5 tips off.