Words by Matthew Eil
Don’t be fat if you want to be respected by your clients. Those are the thoughts of strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein. Well not in those words exactly, but that’s part of the mantra that the 32 year-old carries that he credits for being able to get the best workouts out of his kids.
“I see a lot of conditioning coaches who are in horrible shape themselves and they just stand there with their arms crossed barking orders. If I were a player I know I would want to say, ‘yeah what are you sayin’ dude you can’t even do this.’”
Stein, who actually was a D1 player himself at Elon College in North Carolina, prides himself on being able to do absolutely any of the drills or exercises that he arranges for all of his workouts. Being able to, and doing so whenever in question, helps him relate better to his trainees, whom include ROY Kevin Durant, shoe-in top 5 pick Michael Beasley, UNC guard Ty Lawson, and numerous members of the Maryland Men’s Basketball Team just to get the list started.
Durant, who began training with the Maryland based Stein his junior year in high school at Oak Hill, claims Stein is responsible for both making him want to quit as well as making him radically more prepared for the college and pro game. The former 2nd overall pick, who added twenty pound of muscle during his senior year at basketball powerhouse Montrose Christian, comes back home to the DC area and continues to work out with is old trainer, “I’m definitely going to come back and work with Alan throughout my career,” says Durant. “Wherever I’m at, I always feel like I’m gonna be good when I came back and see Alan.”
This is all Stein asks for from his players, past and present, as he proudly states the only thing he would ever ask for besides a text message here and there would maybe be a few tix to catch a game.
Stein might have more game tickets on his hands than he can go to these days as he has been quickly been establishing himself as a guru for taking his players’ games to the next level without having them even use a basketball.
Stein’s workouts, which are generally in group form for younger players and tend to be in the 1-1 or 1-2 variety for higher level players, include everything from sit-ups and push-ups to sprints and agility improvement drills. What makes Stein’s Program desirable, which he markets through his company, Stronger Team, is the ability to improve player’s movements on the court and strength all in one work out, which can be accomplished in 2 simple sessions a week according to Stein. “The group I just got done with, I have 3 guys who are on the floor because they are so wiped, and they won’t leave for another 15 minutes. That’s good. I have kids tell me they work out 5 days a work at for 2 hours and that’s because they are sitting on their ass the whole time. I pack a punch in one hour.”
High intensity workouts like Stein’s are clearly doing the trick as Stein vets like Durant come see Alan when back in his DC area home to put in some reps. “Alan’s intense. I mean he’s a fun guy to be around but he definitely knows how to turn it on when it’s time,” says the face of the Supersonics who Stein boasts is the ideal player to train with because he brings a combination of desire and humbleness even after his past two monster years of ripping through the college ranks and now the pro circuit.
Durant is just one of a large group of young players that seem to be gravitating with the movement of using strength and conditioning as a key tool to improve a players’ overall game. When Stein was in his playing days in the late nineties, more players would just play basketball during the off-season and maybe throw around some weights and do a few sprints, which is where Stein saw his in to having a successful business idea. Stein’s program, which now has 8 separate DVD’s from which to choose, from Strength and Power Training to Injury Prevention for Female Athletes, uses his own techniques that help young players improve their basketball movements, strength, stamina, and especially mental toughness.
Stein swears that his workouts are so tough because the mental benefits are just as valuable as the physical ones. “When there is 2 minutes left in the game and everyone is dead tired I want them to think, ‘hey well I’ve been up against much tougher things before.’ That’s the mental toughness they need.“