This week Abe (Abraham Ekperuoh) from the London Lions introduces us to keeping fit and focused and how he approaches fitness as a top athlete.
Six tips to success
I have six characteristics that I consider help me achieve success in both basketball and my degree, these are:
- Be punctual
- Communicate (with everyone from academic advisors, peers to coaches)
- Stay hardworking
- Have a zeal to learn
- Be open minded
- Stay focused
How I keep fit
To be honest, recently, all I’ve been doing, is playing basketball.
I’ve not done any weights training, Duncan is not going to be happy with me because I should be lifting, but I’ve not been doing it because it makes me feel very stiff. Instead I focus on stretching. I stretch twice a day for two to five minutes, focusing on my lower limbs, so my handstrings, calfs, squads, etc. In total I spend just under 20 hours a week practicing basketball (10 hours with the Lions, four hours with the UEL team, and an hour workout for five days of the week). I do my workouts with Nick, Assistant Coach for the London Lions, practising dribbling, shooting, setting and opening screens. A lot of the other players are way more experienced than I am which is why I need to put in the extra practice to refine my skills and proficiency.
Basketball is a rhythm game and that’s what I’m working on, owning the rhythm.
Balancing studies and sport: communication is key
Honestly, it’s difficult for me to maintain a balance. To try and fully attend lectures and so forth, is not easy, because my games for both the London Lions and UEL’s basketball team often take place in the week. For example, just last Friday we were away for a game, and I have classes on the same day, so I ended up missing out. That’s why I say communication is key. As long as I communicate with my lecturers, email, meet them, let them know who I am, explain the situation, build up a good rapport, then we work together well. Look. I’m a young adult, I know what I have to do to stay on top of things. I make sure I hand my work in on time, I catch up with lectures using Moodle (the digital platform where students can access lectures and other course information) and I catch up regularly with my academic advisor. It’s the best I can do. No one ever said it would be easy.
Do what works for you
You need to do what works for you because everyone is different.
If I’m going to share my perspective on fitness, it’s that as a professional, you know what you have to do to be in tip-top shape. You’re already at the top of your game, and not everyone is the same, so you’ve got to remember that. Sometimes what works for you, won’t work for someone else. Some of my teammates don’t stretch at all, whereas I have to stretch before and after I play. All that matters is that you’re ready to play the game.