Perth Wildcats are just about to wrap up their pre-season in preparation for the 2013/14 NBL Championship.

We asked Wildcats Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Will Markwick for some insight into the team’s pre-season pump up.  With a host of new additions to the Wildcats squad the 10-week pre-season period is used to improve athleticism and skill levels whilst bringing the team together on court.  Training is characterised by the highest volume of workload completed throughout the season. A usual week consists of:

4-5 team on court sessions
2-3 individual skill sessions
3-4 strength, speed and power sessions

Will finds that balancing training and nutrition in this period is one of the biggest challenges.  He believes that one of the main reasons for this is that while athletes are well accustomed to increasing their training volume and intensity they do not adequately modify their nutritional intake to support this rise in workload.

The Wildcats therefore place a large focus on ensuring that each athlete consumes an adequate diet that includes Vitalstrength supplements to maximize performance gains and assist muscle recovery after each training bout.

Generally speaking the Wildcats two main priorities in the pre-season are:

1. Increase Lean Muscle Mass
2. Reduce Body Fat

Each individual will have their 7-site skin fold measurement assessed and bodyweight measured. This information along with a discussion with the athlete will place them into a ‘Bulk-Up’, ‘Maintain’ or ‘Strip-down’ group.

Players in the ‘Bulk-up’ group use Rapid Bulk Protein to increase calorie intake and gain muscle size. The ‘Maintain’ group uses either WPI+ or Total High Protein to maintain lean muscle mass and the ‘Strip-down’ group uses WPI+ as it contains the highest level of protein with ultra low fat and carbs.  In addition, players are advised to take BCAA capsules morning and night to enhance muscular recovery and growth.

The provision of protein powders and BCAA capsules guarantee that each athlete is receiving the correct amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and fats post maximal physical exertion.  This nutritional focus along with the correct amount of sleep form the 2 pillars of the Wildcats recovery philosophy.

As the Wildcats progress into the in-season period they will be faced with new challenges and focus will shift from physical improvement to maintenance and recovery. Players nutritional and physical needs are assessed regularly and appropriate adjustments are made.

With a lot of the hard work done in the gym and on the court the Wildcats aim to reap the rewards of a strong pre-season with a successful season and hopefully a NBL championship to top it all off!