Blake Griffin recently trained with sprinting star Carmelita Jeter to help improve his speed on the court.
As part of a series of videos called "The Crossover" that Griffin shot with Red Bull, the five-time NBA All-Star has been training under top athletes in their respective sports to help him glean an extra advantage in his game.
Before training with Jeter, Griffin explained why he thought a track workout could benefit him.
"I've always believed that the first two steps you take to catch an opponent or beat someone down the court are the most important," he said. "That's why I'm in Los Angeles to train with three-time Olympic medalist and 100-meter specialist Carmelita Jeter. Carmelita also holds three of the top 10 fastest times ever run. Hopefully today Carmelita not only shows me a great workout, but also helps me improve my sprinting technique and starts."
Jeter had Griffin do some warmup exercises on the track, and immediately noticed that he has a tendency to hold his head down and bend over when he runs. Jeter went on to explain why that movement is detrimental to his speed.
"Once you bend over, you've already collapsed," Jeter said. "So whatever speed that you thought you were about to get, you've already lost it... You're 6-9, but when you drop down, that makes you 6-1."
Griffin acknowledged that his run can be similar to a "home-run trot" at times, and said when he made the proper adjustments that Jeter recommended, he immediately felt a difference.
"She really emphasized me keeping my arms up, and making sure I went cheek to pocket every time I was running," Griffin said. "Those things alone can kinda fuel the power. You feel your running style change, and you feel faster."
Griffin averaged 21.9 points on 50.2% shooting, 7.6 rebounds and a career-high 5.3 assists a game during the 2014-15 season.
During the playoffs, Griffin averaged postseason career highs in points (25.5), field-goal percentage (51.1%), rebounds (12.7) and assists (6.1). Some were saying that he was arguably the best complete player in the playoffs before the Clippers were eliminated by the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the second round.
After training with Jeter, Griffin noted that he can always make improvements, even in areas he never thought necessary.
"As an athlete, you think you know how to run and you think running is not something that you have to concentrate on," Griffin said. "But really when you get down to it, and you get with somebody who running is really their sport, you can definitely pick up a lot of things."