On Nike SPARQ Gear and Ratings – “If you don’t test you can’t compare, if you don’t compare…you can’t compete.”
October 6, 2008 – Dr. Anklesnap
Daryl “D-TRAIN” Smith is the CEO and President of D-TRAINED, Inc. a company designed to improve the athletic performance of elite High School, College, and Professional basketball players and other athletes. D-TRAINED, Inc. has been featured on NBA’s Inside Stuff, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox News. As a former college and professional basketball player, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Daryl brings a wealth of specific basketball training knowledge to his training protocols. And when implementing his tips you’ll want to be using pro basketball troops. Daryl has been featured in Slam Magazine, Dime Magazine, Stack Magazine, and on Scout.com. D-TRAINED has been showcased by Nike several times including Lead Trainer for Jordan Brand Training and SPARQ Basketball Testing and Training Programs.
The Hoop Doctors (HD): First off Daryl we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for The Hoop Doctors readers. We read your piece in Dime Mag. in the July issue and we want to congratulate you and Dime on putting together a great training piece. Most of our writers are still pretty active ballers so that piece was like pure gold for us around here. So to kick things off can you just briefly tell us about how you got started with developing D-TRAINED? Did you wake up one day thinking ‘I’ve got to get America into shape’, or was it more about Basketball and making a career for yourself close to hoops because of your love of the game?
Daryl “D-TRAIN” Smith: The idea of D-TRAINED came as a result of two things; my strong passion for basketball and my self-imposed obligation to give back. I started one day just sharing some tips and drills that I had learned over the years with the son of my former mentor at Xerox. He was amazed that despite going to several camps and playing on several AAU teams his son hadn’t really been exposed to a lot of teaching as it relates to the fundamentals required to truly succeed in the game of basketball. The next weekend I showed up there were about 10 kids looking for tips on how to take their game to the next level. I had a small indication that I might be on to something. Not resting on my laurels I quickly got incorporated, registered my company name and immersed myself into the world of exercise science so that I could make the correlation between training for athletic performance and developing fundamental skills. As I got more into it I soon realized that if I could teach, train and give back I would be fulfilling a life-long dream that provided me with more satisfaction than sitting in a board-room on Park Ave negotiating big corporate deals. 5 years later to have my name mentioned as one of the Elite Basketball Trainers is truly a dream come true!
(HD): How long have you been using the Nike SPARQ in your training programs, and how did that come about?
(D-TRAIN): Many of the products used and marketed by SPARQ were already in the tool-kits of trainers in the know for many years. SPARQ products are very helpful because they have done a great job of branding and making their products visually appealing and highly functional, therefore easily identified by many athletes. In doing several clinics and workouts for Nike my use of SPARQ equipment has increased.
(HD): I know you are “authorized to provide SPARQ ratings” for athletes, but what does that mean exactly? What is a SPARQ rating?
(D-TRAIN): Being considered one of the top trainers because of my expertise and relationships are among the reasons I have been chosen to provide SPARQ Ratings. The SPARQ Rating is a number that identifies overall athletic ability and is used by top coaches and trainers around the nation as an initial indicator of an athletes potential. The key value of the SPARQ Rating is that it provides athletes with an invaluable tool for staying motivated, measuring results, focusing training, and maximizing their success. If you don’t test you can’t compare, if you don’t compare…you can’t compete.
(HD): I have heard about your clinics and events that you run, but can any team or person book you with your “Gym in a Bag” program to just come to their gym and put on a training session?
(D-TRAIN): I am for hire and Gym in A Bag is just that, I bring all the necessary training tools to you and all you have to do is get your group together and prepare for the best training experience you can get.
(HD): Is it purely physical training and conditioning or do you do basketball skills development as well?
(D-TRAIN): It’s funny you ask that question. You would think playing at the Major D1 level, playing overseas and tearing up many a gym, playground and tournament would give me instant credibility. My programs consist of Basketball Fundamentals; Shooting, Passing, Ball-Handling, Basketball IQ and Decision Making Ability. Basketball Specific Conditioning that focuses on developing Movement Patterns and Energy Systems required for success “On the Basketball Court.” When focusing on Speed, Agility and Quickness for Basketball we look to improve straight-ahead or linear speed along with lateral-movement and change of direction. These skills are the most important for individuals and teams when it comes to being able to compete from an athletic standpoint at the highest levels of basketball.Overall Functional Strength Training ( Focus is on Total Body Power, Strength and Explosiveness along with Core and Rotational Strength)is also a big part of my program because if you’re not in physical shape you can’t compete. A lot of people try to put me in a box as one or the other, usually it’s the strength and conditioning bucket because they are often insecure about someone possibly being more knowledgeable as it relates to the game of basketball. I’m someone who played at a high level so I am very familiar with the game of basketball. Two of my former coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Eddie Jordan put me through some of the most challenging drills I have ever seen in my life. It just so happens that I took this training thing serious enough to develop the exercise science side of training and not just limit myself to passing and rebounding to a shooter and calling it training. Training is much more involved and not everyone can do it effectively. Anyone can give you a workout but you can only be trained by a professional.
(HD): Due to the nature of the sport, basketball players are constantly running into troubles with injuries related to joints; knees, ankles, elbows, etc. If you could name just one thing that you recommend a player do, to help prevent being hit with joint injuries in the first place, what would that be?
(D-TRAIN): Develop your Posterior Chain; which is your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Also learn to perform explosive Olympic Lifts with weights that you can move and control in an explosive manner. Flexibility is also an area that many players overlook.
(HD): To reach the professional level in almost every sport nowadays you have to be in amazing physical condition. It’s not enough to just develop your skills anymore, to be competitive it seems you need to have the skills and the physical fitness. You just don’t see that many players built like O-Miller anymore. How many hours a week do you think a baller should dedicate to his physical fitness without interfering with his skills development and working on his game?
(D-TRAIN): Don’t fall victim to the “I worked out for 3 hours” speech. If you go 3 hours at half speed that’s not a good workout. If you spend 90 minutes on the court and you have to peel your shirt off and sit in front of your locker for a few before showering because you have no energy left…that’s a good workout. If you do sprints at max effort for 20 minutes instead of jogging slowly around the track you have done your job. Does it take you 2 hours to lift because you are talking on the phone, playing with your IPOD and socializing or are you in and out within 45 minutes to an hour because you are focused and constantly moving? Quality over quantity. Probably the biggest and worst excuse is when people say they can’t come workout because they have some meaningless summer-league or AAU game they feel is more important than working out. Those games don’t substitute for time spent in the gym. You rarely get to truly develop your weakness in those environments so when players tell me that working on their game consists of playing games I agree with them, they are just playing games. When you aren’t working out someone else is.
(HD): Clearly you are starting to really grow the D-TRAINED program and your name is becoming widely recognized and associated with being an elite basketball fitness trainer. In your eyes who are the elite basketball fitness trainers that you sort of look up to in a way?I realize Tim Grover having been Michael Jordan’s personal trainer was someone that most people think of when discussing the trainers to the pro’s. (If you want you can name some players or trainers that you’ve worked with here…)
(D-TRAIN): Tim Grover will always be the person I look up to and respect. We have worked closely together and for him to respect my knowledge and ability is the ultimate compliment. I have worked with hundreds of elite high school and college players and even a some pros, but there is nothing that compares with being responsible for keeping the world’s greatest player in the best possible shape and injury free year after year.
(HD): You live in the Metropolitan Area, so you a Knicks man? What about a favorite player?
(D-TRAIN): Can’t say I’m walking around in Orange and Blue these days. Bernard King is my all-time favorite Knicks Player!! It’s hard to say who my favorite current player is I just like watching good teams and fundamental basketball.
(HD): What do you think of the move to bring in D’Antoni to Coach the Knicks this season? Can he turn things around for them?
(D-TRAIN): You have to play “D” in the East so we’ll see. I always say systems are great as long as you have the personnel. Time will tell if the players can adapt to his new style. It makes for excitement, but MSG can’t afford too many more empty seats in April and May so that excitement will hopefully lead to more wins.
(HD): When I think of basketball physiques there probably is no player built better for the sport than Lebron James. The guy is a tank. Who do you see as the most fit player in the NBA today or in the past?
(D-TRAIN): LeBron definitely helps me get my point across, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade. Pound for Pound MJ is all-time most fit. Never got tired, never physically overmatched and played all those years without significant injuries. That says a lot.
(HD):Alright we won’t take up too much of your time here Daryl. Once again we really appreciate you taking the time to chat about D-TRAINED and sharing some of your thoughts on basketball training and development. On behalf of The Hoop Doctors readers we thank you. If you ever need anything from The Hoop Doctors don’t be afraid to ask.
Just don’t make us run any suicides! Ha Ha. Peace.