How did You spend Your Christmas Break?

16 Jan

Blog Written by Kevin Sutton Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at GWU

and Ben Kenyon – Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at GWU


Christmas/semester break is a very important time for a basketball team. How the break which starts on December 15th after the last exam ends and goes until January 15th when class resume is managed can and will often contribute to the success of the season.


Those four weeks where the student-athlete becomes just an “athlete” because they no longer have to balance their academic commitments with their basketball commitments. They can focus all of their time on basketball.


At GW, our staff calls this time “Pro Time”, we want our players to have a “Pro Mentality”. We challenged our players to become “selfish”(in a good way) with wanting to improve in all areas of their game:

-Physically through strength training, actual practices and individual work with assistants.

– Mentally through watching more film of themselves and their opponents to enhance their basketball IQ.

– Nutritionally with the assistance of our strength coach (Ben Kenyon), to continue to getting healthy.

– With help of our athletic trainer (Chris Hennelly), doing more rehab treatments: ice baths, deep tissue messages etc. Taking the proper medication to prevent illness (flu, cold, sinus infections etc.).


During “Pro Time,” practices are different. We do the following:

– Shorten practice from three hours to two hours.

– We use that additional hour from practice to devote more time for individual or small group work with assistants.

– Practices are shorter in length’ but are much more intense.

– Conditioning now becomes the focus of our practice. We want our players to stay in top shape.

– Shooting becomes a focus of practice now. We want our players to shoot game shots at game speed from game spots. We also will record the shots to provide tangible feedback to the player.

-Offensive execution becomes a focus of practice now. We want our timing to remain sharp. We will also add new wrinkles and/or plays.

-Situations become a focus of practice along with (Blob’s and Slob’s)

-Scouting becomes a focus of practice. Scouting of our opponents through written scouting reports, watching clip tapes, studying individual players on Synergy.


During “Pro Time,” strength training becomes an even more important part of our basketball program. Under the direction of our strength and conditioning coach (Ben Kenyon) we follow a comprehensive program that consist of the below schedule of daily strength training, alternating between upper body, lower body and cardio. We try to remain consistent with a 3 to 4 day cycle depending on the game schedule. We believe the Strength Training throughout the season builds confidence, and strength, helps to prevent injuries and can help with recovery from injuries.  Below is an excerpt from our Strength Training Manual entitled Intercession Training.


Intersession training

Offseason training prepares you for preseason. Preseason prepares you for the first stage of the in-season: the first month of official practice.  The second stage of the progression will prepare you for non-conference games.  The third stage of progression, INTERCESSION, will prepare for conference games.


In-season training templates should always focus on strength, power and sports specific strength movements to maximize an athletes potential during championship season.  Usually we are given 30 to 40 minutes, if that, to train during the semester. During intercession training, time expands to at-least an hour. This is the ideal time to incorporate basic strength exercises, agilities, and sports specific power movements into your training template. Intercession also gives you the ability to train three times or more in a week.  Training three times or more in a week will allow our athletes to make strength gains.


The Colonials got better over our Christmas Break!  Raise High the Buff and Blue!



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