Watch Blake Griffin train with handball legend to improve agility
Clippers superstar power forward Blake Griffin spent much of the summer working on various aspects of his game to improve his performance. Many of the workouts he did had nothing to do with basketball.
"Did a lot of yoga, did a lot of swimming workouts, tried to get off the treadmill, tried to get off the court a little bit for conditioning," Griffin said at a recent practice. "... I did soccer workouts, went and did some track workouts, boxing. I mixed it up."
Griffin also dabbled with handball, training with legend Timothy "Timbo" Gonzalez at the West 4th Street handball courts in New York City. In a video that Griffin shot with Red Bull, he discusses why he varied his workouts and experimented with handball.
"I want a long and healthy career," Griffin said. "I want to be quicker, I want to be stronger, and I want to be a leader. I know that if I'm going to take myself to where I want to go as an athlete and a person, I have to look at all my training options. The usual practice just isn't enough. I want more edge over my opponents. Cross-training is so important. I can improve myself and have a lower impact on my body. So that's why I'm here in New York City today."
Gonzalez taught Griffin the proper form to hit a handball, then had him train with an eight-pound ball, and with resistance bands. Griffin noted that Gonzalez is famous for "for eye-hand coordination and speed," and said he hoped to see how Gonzalez acquired his speed through his training.
After throwing the weighted ball, Griffin said that even though he's a world-class athlete, the workout kicked his behind.
"I was dripping sweat when we were doing the medicine ball against the wall and Timbo is just kinda -- I think I saw him yawn three or four times," Griffin said. "So it kinda put things in perspective for me. But that's the endurance in the way he trains."
Griffin has made it a mission of his to add different elements to his game. In a column that Griffin wrote for the Players' Tribune in February, he said that he devoted himself to improving his mid-range game after realizing that if he relied on his inside game and athleticism alone, he was gassed by February. When Griffin wrote that column, he said he had put up more than 250,000 shots -- which comes out to roughly 300 a day -- over the last three years.
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 got eliminated by the Rockets in Game 7 of the second round.
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