Ryan Hollins: NBA prep with Blake, Drew League … and jujitsu?

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Training-wise, this has been a huge summer for me.

I’m going into my eighth year in the NBA, and so I’ve learned how to train more efficiently. When you’re younger, you just go out and sweat like a workhorse. You go from gym to gym, place to place, and you just keep pushing your body.

Even though I’m only 28, I’ve still got some miles on my body. That changes my plan of action, and training is a progression.

This summer, my focus was conditioning, working with a purpose and taking just as much time on the court as working on my body. I need to make sure I’m physically healthy and work on all the little needs, the little things.

At the beginning of the summer, I only took three weeks off, and then I started working with DaJuan Summers and Maalik Wayns, some of the younger guys on our team. That was important for me because of the hunger and talent that they have. Those are two guys that are pretty new in the league and are still trying to stick, and they both went on to play summer league. There’s a hunger in the eyes of a guy who’s going to play summer league that other guys may not have, and that’s something that I want to capture. Pretty much since they came in, I came in. I was at the gym with them, going through drills, conditioning, shooting. We got out and competed and forced each other to get better each day.

Unfortunately, DaJuan was waived, and Maalik’s plans have changed, too, so I’m not working out with them anymore. Maalik is a point guard, so he’s been attached to Chris Paul’s hip ever since Chris got back in town. Because of that, I’ve taken my workouts to a different gear.

After summer league came, I took a little week’s vacation, and then I got back and got back in working on my game. I’m working on footwork, my jump shot, screen and rolls, finishing, just the little fundamentals of the game. I find that the older you get, you need to put in these complex moves and things. I need to sharpen the small parts of the game. It’s almost like I’ve been in high school again, working on my form and all these little things.

Right alongside me is Blake Griffin. Blake and I have been playing games of one-on-one to get in some competition and push each other to be better. It was a change of pace, you know, because DaJuan’s a small forward and Maalik’s a point guard, and Blake is this big, powerful guy. He’s kind of a hybrid. He’s a fast as a guard and can jump as high as every big man in the league, so making a move on him is something.

Now I’ve also been playing in the Drew League and playing in these pickup games and just doing my workout routine. I usually get to the gym around 8:50 a.m. and finish around 2 p.m. I’m spending time in the weight room, too. This summer I’ve worked more on my legs and my core strength. I really want to focus on my core more now that I’m older. I’ve also done some jujitsu a couple of days a week, which has been really interesting.

I got interested in jujitsu when two jujitsu fighters, Kron and Rickson Gracie, came to talk to the team last year before the playoffs. I wanted to learn more about what they did, so I started doing it three or four times a week this summer. Those guys, they get everything out of their muscles and their core, and I think it’ll help with basketball. There’s also an aspect of breathing that’s in the training, and that’s something that I’m incorporating right now, along with the mental aspect of the training.

Once the season starts, I don’t know. I’ll see how it goes, if I have time to keep doing the jujitsu. It would be great, because it’s not really about fighting. It’s about core strength, breathing, mental conditioning and competing, which you can apply to basketball.

There’s also all the nutrition stuff, and I’m a thin guy, so that’s something I always have to work on. I’ve always been able to eat anything I wanted. It’s hard for me to keep my weight up sometimes, so I’ve sort of changed my eating patterns. I want to be able to change my diet so I can have more energy, so I’m interested in the science behind my diet and basketball. My strength coach has been on me for a while about what I eat. I just burn so many calories sitting around, so I ate whatever. Now, I’m trying to be healthier. I’m not quitting my other food cold turkey, but I’ve really changed what I eat, too, over the summer.

Soon, the team will all be back in town, and guys will show up before the first official stuff on the first day of training camp. It’ll be nice to meet all the new guys and be back playing for Doc Rivers. I feel like it’s already kind of started, though, because before summer league Chris and Blake and I mixed in at practice with the summer league team. Even so, I’m really excited to get all the guys in and build that team chemistry.