Stephen Curry’s Workouts and the Wisdom of Overload

“It’s pretty amazing how much space you can create after you do a couple sets with resistance, train your body to fight through that and then you build that strength.” – Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry’s workouts are famously wacky. Here’s a short sample:

  • Dribbling two basketballs at the same time at different speeds
  • Dribbling a basketball while catching a tennis ball in the other hand
  • Dribbling between the legs while transferring another ball elsewhere
  • Dribble a heavy basketball and a regular one simultaneously
  • Continuously transferring a ball to bounce between your legs while simultaneously maintaining a regular dribble with your other hand
  • Wearing strobe-effect goggles that delete visual information and disorient while dribbling

Brandon Payne started training Stephen Curry in 2011. He’s the architect of all those drills. Why? It’s one word: overload. He’s pushing Stephen Curry to overload. If we can stay in the discomfort of overload, two things happen.

First – what you might guess – doing the same thing with a higher level of difficulty makes the original thing feel easier. It’s why batters swing two bats in the batting circle before approaching home plate.

Second – this is where real, deep progress happens quickly. I know this first hand primarily from studying music. It’s something that I encountered repeatedly studying music in college. And more recently when I’m transcribing some musical piece, the amount of mental force I use is exhausting. Here’s how I can tell easily. I work in 30 minute segments to increase focus and remind myself to take breaks. Yesterday while transcribing I felt like I had reached my limit of mental exhaustion. I checked the timer…and found I had 16 minutes left of the 30 minutes, less than halfway!

I have lived long enough on this earth to see the amazing results of this kind of overload. When I’m brave enough (and had enough sleep) it’s rocket fuel for improvement.

One caveat: don’t live in overload. Too much unconscious time is spent there, myself included. Train in overload consciously, then play the work freely.

Here’s the last word from Stephen Curry to inspire you:

Curry says, “All sorts of band resistance work, contrast stuff so you overload, load up weight and do the same moves I’ll do on the court. Then, contrast that, take the weight off, really work on the explosion part of it. It’s pretty amazing how much space you can create after you do a couple sets with resistance, train your body to fight through that and then you build that strength.”

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: 

Team Collaboration Quest – Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication.

This entry was posted in Persistence. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
Do you want to be at your best every day?
Subscribe with your email address

Be at your best by following Rob Fletcher on Twitter:@robfletcher1