5 Things We Learned at The NBA Summer League

5 Things We Learned at The NBA Summer League

The Elite Basketball Rehab Conference (EBRC) at the NBA summer league was a first-of its-kind gathering of top NBA staff rehab and strength and conditioning professionals.

Because NordStick is committed to solving problems, we sponsored this gathering of experts and tagged along to see what we could learn from the experts.

This conference was packed with some of the best in the rehab community

Now we want to take the lessons we learned to the world outside professional sports

Here are the top five things Nordstick learned from sponsoring the elite basketball rehab conference that apply to YOU.


  1. All rehab is about promoting adaptation
    • Our bodies are so adaptable. They learn very  quickly after injury to compensate and shield injured areas from stress
    • To rehabilitate these injured areas we need precise exercise selection to force adaptation to occur where we want it
    • This is the north star of rehab and training
    • Direct the right amount of stress to the right area
  2. Movement strategies are just as important as movement capacities
    • Injuries change both HOW WE MOVE AND HOW MUCH we can move.
    • Injuries don’t just reduce the load we can put on the bar, the speed we can sprint, the height we can jump, but also HOW we do those things
    • After knee injuries our squats, jumps and sprints are not only lighter, slower, and lower, but they also look different
    • Rehab must restore how you move and how much you  can move.
  3. Test–Plan–Execute–Re-Test
    • NBA rehab professionals have access to lots of technology and resources to help them make decisions.
    • They have all these  shiny toys to use…
    • But believe it or not simple things like scheduling conflicts, time constraints, and lack of buy-in, limit how much this tech is used.
    • In a perfect world, more testing and data helps us create a better plan to solve a rehab problem.

    • But EVEN THE PROS are held back by busy schedules, responsibilities, fear, and uncertainty

    • So what is most important is the process behind HOW top NBA professionals use tech to solve problems. 

    • Here is their universal process:

      1. Decide what is most important problem to measure
      2. Measure the extent of the problem
      3. Make and execute a plan based on the measurement
      4. Monitor the effects of the plan
      5. Retest at a specified point and adapt accordingly
    • Have a precise plan, execute it, modify it based on the outcome. 
    • Is this a no-brainer? Maybe.
    • Take a moment and reflect on your own struggles.
    • Can you honestly say that you:
      • Actually tested your problem
      • Interpreted that test correctly
      • Created a plan to target that problem
      • Re-tested to see if your plan worked
      • Modified your plan
    • For the average person, sophisticated testing IS NOT needed, but a plan and some type of testing IS.
  1. Everyone gets injured, even the people who have won the genetic lottery
    • Professional athletes push their bodies to the limit and go entire seasons managing pain and injuries.

    • Despite all of the resources committed to keeping them healthy they still can struggle with managing sleep, stress, and nutrition. 

    • They are not so different from the rest of us. 

    • The non-negotiables are a good foundation of sleep and recovery. 

    • So in the game of life you can choose the pain of sitting on the sidelines

    • OR

    • The pain that comes with being on the court

    • Knowing the elite athletes struggle just like you

    • And knowing there is pain when you go down either path

    • Would you live your life on the sidelines

    • OR

    • In the game?

5.  If you’ve had an  ACL injury you may not be doing enough

    • ACL injuries get more and more interesting the more we study them
    • More and more we are getting data that people after ACL injuries have long-term weakness for reasons we don’t understand.
    • This probably is due to changes in the brain that happen after injury.
    • This suggests that 1 year of rehab after ACL surgery probably isn’t enough.
    • More research is needed to fully understand this and what to do about it.
    • But right now the best thing that anyone with an ACL injury can do is to get as absolutely as strong, powerful, and fast as possible after injury.
    • Understand that it is going to be a long road.
    • Follow a step-by-step plan with measurable goals.
    • Stick to that long term training plan, even after returning to sport

We may be putting out more content from this absolute game-changer rehab conference in the next few weeks so stay tuned for more info. We will continue to study the best in the game and bring these lessons to you. We are offering a $100 value problem analysis for free where we can talk about what these concepts mean for you.


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