Even though I’m a die-hard for the purple and gold, I’ve been a mini fan of Kyrie Irving since he entered the league.
For one, he’s got great handles. For a guard like me it’s fun watching his highlights and how he breaks down and humiliates the players guarding him with his fancy dribbling. Another reason why I love his game is because he’s very creative in scoring and creating his own shot. For someone who’s not that tall, I rely on my speed to one up my opponents. In the same sense, Kyrie also uses his quickness to his advantage to outsmart his defenders.
The Nike Kyrie 3 complements Irving’s playing style the same way beer complements pizza. A while back I wrote how amazing the look and feel of the Kyrie 3 is.
The traction works amazing on hardwood floors. But don’t get me wrong, they can also be worn on concrete courts — it’s just that the shoes’ grip gets more tight and sticky when used on hardwood.
They’re perfect for speedy and flashy guards, but the workout sessions that we did during the 5 weeks can also be done by big men. Especially today with the way the game is changing, big men love to play small and create off the dribble in the post as well as outside.
Lucky for me and a few members of the media, Nike Philippines organized a mini camp so we can test the shoes to its full potential, and at the same time improve our playing style and address issues we each had with our own games.
If you’re a user of the Nike+ Training Club mobile app, you’ll probably notice there’s a 45-minute Kyrie Irving workout there. The 5-week training Nike Philippines put us through pretty much was inpired by that, but we worked on a few more things to test the shoe even further.
Here’s brief recap of what we did:
During the launch of the Kyrie 3 in the Philippines, Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin put us through a few basic drills and exercises that boosted our footwork. He stressed how important it is to master the fundamentals to become a well-rounded player.
Ateneo assistant coach Yuri Escueta taught us the basics of hand and foot work with squats and lunges using the heavy ball. We also did line drills to sprints, stationary dribbling exercises and cone dribble atacks. We ended the session mastering the different finishes.
The second day was geared towards explosiveness and rim attacks. We started off with squat jumps with the heavy ball and continued to do ladder drills with and without the basketball. Next, we worked on our dribbling with resistance bands and cones. We topped off the session executing multiple dribble attacks and different finishes.
We started the workout with lunges and side-to-side jumps with the heavy ball to break a sweat. For 10 minutes we focused on cone dribbling layups and jumpers. Afterwards, we worked on our speed with dribbling drills — slalom and 3-5 dribble full court exercises. Then ended the day with 1-on-1s to emphasize slot defense.
In the last training, we started off with aerobic stretches and dribbling warm-ups. We proceeded with diamond cone drills leading to speed attacks and pull-up or step-back jumpers. We then engaged in war drills to work on reaction and full court 4-5 dribble exercises for speed. The last part of the 5-week session ended with 1-on-1s again, a platform for us to showcase everything we learned throughout the five weeks — footwork, speed, dribbling, slot defense, finishing, and reacting.
If you can do what we did in 5 weeks and practice them regularly and do them religiously, you might just become as explosive as Kyrie.
What I learned from the 5-week Kyrie Challenge? Well, no matter how small, tall, fat, slim, slow or quick you are, you can become and transform into a sound player. All you have to do is lock in the fundamentals, work on the basics, learn the power of repetition and push yourself to your limits. Come out of nowhere.
It’s always about believing you have another level you can reach. And on top of all that, just be yourself. JBY.
Shouts to coach Yuri Escueta as well for being patient with us and being hands on with everything. He really aimed to bring out the best in us. It’s been a real fruitful journey absorbing everything he taught us and learning together with fellow media friends.
Thank you again, Nike Philippines. Till the next challenge!
Photos from Nike Philippines