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Dean Cooper Talks Golf, Yoga, Injury Prevention and Stretching for Top Performance

Listen to “NBA Coach Talks Golf, Yoga, Injury Prevention and Stretching for Top Performance” on Spreaker.

Hey, fitness and sports fans, coach Frank here. Today I have a special guest, Dean Cooper. He was on episode 54 earlier this year. We’ll be talking today about some of the injuries people come across in basketball, just like we’ve been doing with golf. I want to show you some of the things they come across in basketball between the range of motion, posture, and some of the things that happen to athletes that cause them to not do as well in their games. Get in the Game because I will bring all that to you and more after this. Let’s do this.

Game on, sports, fitness, and health fans. With another episode of the sporting, good posture, digital radio experience. Gear up for coach Frank’s advice from the sidelines as he helps you crush your Game, no matter what sports, health, or fitness game you play. Hey, this is coach Frank. I am sporting good foster. What are you sporting? Hey Coach, what do you got for us today?

Welcome back to another episode of sporting good posture. This is coach Frank, and I have Dean Cooper on for the second time this year. We will be doing another interview with him, talking to him about some of the NBA injuries he’s seen with their athletes. Some of the college injuries he’s seen with some of the players he’s come across and some of the rehab that these guys do to get back on their Game. And I’m going to sneak in some golf because we’re both into golf. Dean loves golf. I’ve done a lot of episodes on that lately. So we’ll talk a little bit about that, and we’ll get to all that and more here in a moment, right after this message.

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So we’re back with Dean Cooper. He was on the show earlier this year, in episode 54. He’s a former NBA coach, and He’s had some time in college. But he’s coached the rockets and the trailblazers, and he’s even coached the bulls. He’s had a lot of experience with sports and injuries and many different players. And I want to welcome you back on the show today, Dean, it’s great to have you back, and we’re just going to get right into it here.

You’ve had a lot of experience in both college and the NBA. One of the things we were talking about was that. I’ve done a lot of golf episodes lately where I talked about some things that hold people back on golf, between a range of motion or posture, their flexibility, whatever it is, and anything that’s holding them back from previous injuries.

What do you notice being a coach now? And you were talking about it; you moved from the NBA, and now you’re doing college again. What are you noticing about the kids? And you mentioned some of the things you were talking to them about; body maintenance and things like that. Could you go over those again, just for our listeners, about those kinds of things?

Yeah. Coming from the NBA, any athlete in the NBA major league, baseball, golfers, football players, whatever it is, your body is your money-making machine, right? So over the last 10 to 12 years, I would say it’s probably pretty accurate of the primary sport, hockey, football, baseball, golf, or basketball, and then probably golfers too. You know, it used to be just weightlifting and doing this, but it’s become an all-encompassing, stretching, hydration, body maintenance. There’s so much more time put into that than ever. I mean, staffs are growing immensely.

When I first got to the rockets, we had two trainers. And I think when I was with the bulls, the last couple of years in Chicago, the performance staff was probably eight or nine full-time people, not to mention the outside doctors, physios, and all that. So definitely a giant swing and just awareness of it, a lot more time spent doing it. Guys spend much more time in the training room than they used to. And as I mentioned before, there’s rehabilitation going on with some players, but it’s more about preventative.

I tell our young guys in college that if you wait until the oil light comes on in your car, your engine’s already doomed. You must do preventative maintenance, change your oil, stay on top of your transmission oil, and all those things so that the engine and the transmission don’t go wrong. And I think there are a lot of reasons. I think people have just gotten generally more educated on it and regarding the injury. You probably can speak to this.

I just read an article that may be within the last month. Now there’s this big talk about kids becoming specialized in a sport. You have them at a very young age now. And so, they don’t get overall body sort of maneuverability and maturation. They use the same muscles over and over and over and over, starting at a very young age, which you know it’s ironic. Sports medicine’s probably never been better. However, injuries have also never been higher.

You’re right. That’s when they are specializing. Mainly you’ll see it in pitchers, particularly. I’m seeing kids coming out of high school already getting Tommy John surgery. And they’re playing baseball all through the year. When I was a kid, I’d play in the spring and summer and then move on to another sport. It helps us to specialize in more. Are you noticing guys coming in more with some of these catastrophic injuries, like ACL tears, Achilles rushers, and shoulder tears? Do you see that more now?

I wouldn’t say that they’re coming in with those or that I think they’re more predisposed. That percentage of the likelihood of having those types of injuries has gone up. As I said, you can read injury reports, and they’re easy to find online, certainly for the NBA. I’m sure for every sport too. But sports medicine, staff, and approaches have never been greater or better. But there’s also an increase in injuries, and many people are convinced it is a lot because of that.

But in our sport, in particular, you use the word catastrophic. Our sport is a weight-bearing pounding on your lower extremities, right? Your feet, your ankles, your knees, your hips, and consequently your lower back. Right? Kind of from there down. Right? So, I don’t know if there are more injuries when we get here, but more injuries during their career that are what you would call Non-contact. It is not somebody taking your ankle out or your knee out. They just happen from your movement. Like overused injuries, these guys get all these overused tears and drop.

Yeah. Your body’s only meant to do so many reps. You know, I’ve mentioned earlier. A large segment of the medical people I’ve read and/or talked to believe that you are not getting more reps, but your body doesn’t balance out properly from the lack of doing other things. So it’s kind of a double whammy.
Yeah. Because they’ll be good at one sport, but they’ll get limitations on their body by doing only that one sport. So when you have bigger training staffs, the guys are in the training room more, as far as the actual training, you know, it used to be just lifting heavy weights and stuff like that. Are you seeing a progression of different avenues to work these guys out and train to avoid some of these muscle injuries and tears and stuff?

Oh, absolutely. I mean, almost every team now, besides having the regular what you consider a trainer- Like the person who takes care of their body and then a strength and conditioning coach. That’s kind of all it used to be. It’s about two people, maybe an assistant trainer or whatever. But now it’s, everybody’s got a physio. They got physical therapy people. They have everybody with a chiropractor or massage therapist. With the bulls, We had an actual AcuPac full-time school.

So the number of people and different ways to care for their bodies have grown tenfold, even from things like the de Los machine. For the balance of your ankles and stuff like that. When I was with the jazz, that was a mandatory exercise. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was a mandate.

We’ve also seen more ACLs and MCLs, and all those joint/tendon-related injuries have gone up, probably a large part to specialization and repetition. That’s the other thing I did when I grew up; you grew up, we did sports probably year-round as kids. I know I did, but it moves, it moves sports. And now, my viewpoint has changed, and I don’t know if I’m right or wrong. I am somewhat in the belief that at least, in our league, in the NBA, we’re probably overtraining them now and contributing to our problems. And I do believe that. I just think that your body needs recovery time.

It’s very accurate. While talking, I remember my Kevin Duran, how he tore his Achilles and talked about how he would return. You know, that used to be an injury that almost was a career-ending injury. Now, these guys can come back, and he has looked perfect. You don’t tell that he’s lost any explosiveness and that he’s had any problems. After that Achilles, he’s been scoring very well and doing very well.

We all know these people heal differently, right? Everybody has a different ability to heal or come back. And indeed, the rent guys, too, are the more extensive body, putting more weight on those types of injuries probably struggle more than a guy who’s built like Kevin Duran who’s thin. So when they come back, there are fewer pounds per square inch, so to speak, on those injuries. I’ve heard many doctors talk about many things in the MBA over the years. So I’m sure there’s a factor in that. Our medicine is better, so also our rehabilitation is better. It’s advanced. So I agree. And I’m sure the guys’ garden, Kevin Durant, definitely agrees as Well.

That’s true. It’s different then, you know, Kevin Duran as opposed to somebody like Shaq and that same injury. I wouldn’t have been able to recover as quickly carrying an extra 150-200 pounds on them. Yeah. You know, I coached Yow and Greg Godin. Both were big guys who had lower extremity injuries, Yow mostly with his feet. It’s just challenging, way more complex than a six, four, two hundred, and five-pound guard that has the same injury.

You were talking about golf before. Like you mentioned some of the things you were doing and then some of the things that helped you with your Game. So going back to the golf thing, what did you say to me before that helped you gain some yardage and see a difference in your golf game earlier?

I was just saying it regarding the stretching part and what that does for your body. In 2013, when I was with the rockets, they redid the arena. In the summer, I got about a four-and-a-half-month stretch where we didn’t go in. So, I spent a lot of that summer just doing my regular workouts. It was the most that I had ever stretched and done yoga. And in my mid-forties at the time, and the flexibility that I gained. I started seeing me personally, pretty immediate results as far as like distance on my ball, particularly off the tee, like 10 or 15 yards, it was the furthest side, hit the ball and long time.

Undoubtedly, it was due to stretching more and more regularly doing yoga. And I know that because the following year when I started doing it less, I reverted to where that part of my golf game was the same. There’s no question in my mind. And I’ve seen it just with pro athletes got to look, it’s, well-documented what Tom Brady and LeBron in particular, I mean, they’re obsessive about their craft, but they’re equally, if not more obsessive about their bodies. And there’s a reason those two guys are performing at the level they’re performing, at their age; it’s no coincidence.

So you would say that’s a significant factor in their recovery and moving forward in the Game. No question. You know, from ice baths to, you know, this compression sleeves, you know, that guys put on and in our guys do that too. Instead of getting in the cold tub or doing the cryo, they would do that. Right. Cause that’s, it’s not perfect, right? All you’re trying to do is be as preventive as you possibly can and continue to perform at whatever your maximum performance level can be at whatever age you’re at or stage you’re at in your career. So it’s a double benefit, I think.

It’s funny that you say that about the compression sleeves and the ice baths, JJ watt, and pro football. They showed him after his workouts; he went into a lake that was frozen in the cutout, a big square in the lake, and went in the lake with the ice and held himself up under the water. I mean, it was insane how cold that would have been. And that’s what he did to recover after his workouts.

And I was thinking, like, you see these guys do these ice bath challenges and like these polar plunge things. And, and that’s kind of caught on a lot. Many of these guys will do that and then run right into a sauna or vice versa, just to get that contrast ice and cold and hot therapies in there. You probably see that a lot now, like in training there, and guys are swimming more and doing things like that to stay mobile.

Oh, absolutely. In the MBA, all the facilities, you know, with the way the facilities are now, you have your hot tub right there. It’s not a tub. It’s basically a cold pool now. The way these, you know, like a 10 foot by 10 foot where multiple guys can walk right down in there and then out, right into the hot tub or over to the regular swimming pool. You don’t have to get in the old-fashioned, 10-looking looks, like a horse trough, right? Like I tell our guys, if you don’t do anything else, take a cold shower or draw cold bath water, just throw some ice in it. You know, it’s like most things in life, it’s uncomfortable, but most uncomfortable things are, at the end of the day, what we need.

So what would you say to the listeners in their quest for a better range of motion and things like that, whatever sport they’re playing, what do you think are some of the best things they can do to attain that, to move ahead in their sport?

You know, myself and my wife who’s fanatical. I mean, she does all the things to stretch and all that stuff. Yoga that you’re supposed to do daily. I’m a little less diligent, but I can speak from my two experiences. One, like you said, seeing what pro athletes do every day and how that’s evolved. And then I can tell you from my experience of that stretch of four, four, and a half or five months where it was the most time I ever spent on it, just me doing it personally and the benefits I saw now. I still do some other things, you know, with the foam roller. I’m pretty diligent about that. My net role. My insert for my feet.

You know, I’m pretty diligent in yoga, stretching, and self-confession. I haven’t been as good, but I can tell you that when I was doing it, there’s no question I saw the benefits. I don’t spend much time doing it daily, and I didn’t spend much time doing it in particular last summer. I stretched a little bit in the morning and night and did yoga for 30 minutes. Like four or five times a week. Just in my house, we didn’t go to a studio. We just had the old DVD plan or YouTube and enter or whatever.

But I’ve had several NBA players. They do regular yoga and Bircham, the hot yoga. And they swear by it, how it’s helped them. It’s funny. It’s usually the older guys, the veterans who have been around for a while trying to prolong their career, but they all say the same thing. Geez. I wish I would have done this when I was 21, 2, 3, 4 versus 31, 2, 3, 4, you know?

I think it’s exciting. The growth in the staff is unbelievable. Certainly, everybody has a chiropractor in the preventative maintenance part of it, but he’s got him size therapists. Everybody’s got a physio, some teams like we had an acupuncturist, and those people are all full-time. They’re there all the time. It is in; they don’t come from the outside. Pretty interesting.

Dean is now at the University of Texas Rio Grande valley. What conference is that again? Yeah. We’re in the Western athletic conference, which is ever-evolving, or at least over the last couple of years. It has. So now, this year, there’s a Texas division, which is ourselves, Lamar’s in the league, Sam Houston, Abilene Christian, and the people who watched the tournament last year had a perfect tournament. Tarleton State, and Stephen F. Austin. And then the Western division is New Mexico State, Grand Canyon, where Bryce Drew, the coach at Vanderbilt, is now. Cal Baptist, Dixie state, which is in Utah, Seattle. So, there’s that division in Texas division. And it looks like it will be this way for a good bit of the foreseeable future.

Well, I’m happy for you. You found a good school, and I wish you great luck in your season. That’ll be nice. You’ll be able to have fans again at these games, and I think that’ll be fun. And it was cool watching some of these NFL games over the weekend and seeing all the fans again. It’ll be nice to have an entire arena to play under.

The coach has missed the fans. I think it is obvious, but I can tell you that no one probably misses it more than the players who feed off it; whether you’re home or away, you need the energy. I think it’s perfect. I can tell you what it’s been like here for the fall sports. I mean, I went to the soccer game, and they’re almost 2000 people at the soccer game. The attendance has been perfect. I haven’t been to a volleyball game yet, but they said the attendance has been excellent. So I think people want to get out and see live sports again. It’s fantastic. I’m excited and watching college football and pro football span the US open with people there. So it’s been great. And I appreciate you having me, and I got some tips from the golf pro.

We had the two recent episodes that we did on golf. And then I had Mike Hicks on a couple of times, so you can go back and listen to his episodes. They were a lot of good episodes. We were going to do some more golf stuff. We have a lot of listeners that love golf, and we’ve been moving in that direction more lately. And it does cross over to other sports too. So I like talking with you about basketball and everything related to that too. Great. Well, I appreciate it. Thanks so much. Thank you. And I look forward to seeing as soon. Okay. You can catch it on ESPN plus, by the way. Oh yeah. Yeah. My producer is Frank Sardella. That’s him. That’s his go-to is ESPN. Good. Thanks. Thank you.

So, one of the things I wanted you to take away from this episode that Dean talked about was specialization in sports. A lot of kids are doing that now, and even adults as well. And it’s essential to do multiple sports because if you don’t get multiple sports, you’re not making different motions, different range of motions, different activities, and different kinds of training for these sports. And it has a lot to do with how well you will do in these sports because you always do the same sport. You’ll have a lot of overuse injuries, and I relate this to what we discussed with the golf episodes.

It still comes down to posture, range of motion, flexibility, and previous injuries. There are a lot of ways that these guys are doing rehab now. They’ve moved a lot of ways, from just doing heavy weights and being the most muscular guy in the room to incorporating yoga, other stretching techniques, and recovery techniques. And on top of that, they now have multiple people around. They now have chiropractors, acupuncturists, physiotherapists, and PTs. These are important to have in your life and sports.

And Dean said it best about having the flexibility to do these things in multiple sports because it’s essential not to specialize. He has been a great guest, and I look forward to speaking to him again. Hopefully, when he’s back in Nashville, we can catch up and play golf together. I wish him great luck over the season at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the whack.

Again, if you’re dealing with any of these things, the biggest, most straightforward thing you can do is just look in the mirror. Look at your posture, and see if one of your shoulders is higher than the other. If your head tilts to the side, or if one of your hips is higher than the other. Take a look because these are easy things you can see in the mirror. And if you notice anything out of place, you notice anything that doesn’t look right. DM me on Instagram @sporting good posture, and PM me on Facebook @the ideal health and wellness center. Tell me what’s going on, and I’ll tell you what I think. Remember, the coach’s door is always open. This is coach Frank. I’m sporting Good posture. How about you?

The Sporting Good Posture podcast is a broadcast wellness production powered by Ideal Health Wellness Center. All content copyright 2021. All rights reserved Executive producer Frank Sardella, coach Frank Pierce. courtesy of the Ideal Health Wellness Center in Franklin. For more information, visit sportinggoodposture.com and follow the coach on Instagram @sporting good posture

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