Lowdown on Seimone Augustus
When Seimone Augustus, a guard/forward with the Minnesota Lynx, takes to the court at Mohegan Sun on Saturday, she'll be playing in her fourth WNBA All-Star Game but grabbing her first starting role. We all know she has game -- the 29-year-old is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP -- but what training secrets does she have? (Or, more specifically, what secrets is she willing to give up?)
Fire 'em up
My favorite drill is the shooting gun, a machine that just fires ball after ball at you, and you take as many shots as possible. It's been especially helpful this year because the 3-point line has been moved back, so I've been concentrating on getting in a bunch of reps so I can get my stroke down.
How low can you go?
Because I've had knee and ankle injuries, I really concentrate on making my lower half -- and specifically my glutes and hamstrings -- stronger in the weight room. I do single-leg squats, leg presses, walk in all directions with a resistance band around my ankles. I'm in the weight room two to three times a week during the season and every day in the offseason. I can really tell a difference when I take a break; I just feel stronger and can take the hits on the courts more easily.
Sprained, but not out
I sprained my ankle in early July, but I'm fine. It's just a little sore. I'm doing all the typical recovery things -- tracing ABCs in the air with my foot, walking with a band around my ankle, icing it and doing some stim treatment -- but I've already played two games since I hurt it.
The next Missy Franklin?
My favorite cross-training exercise is swimming. Or being in the pool, more accurately. Once a week, I get in and do some pool running, along with high knees and butt kicks and kicking on the kickboard. My constant focus is on strengthening my lower body.
I don't have any favorite workout gear -- I pretty much just wear the team uniform -- but off court, I'm a shoe fanatic. Jordans and LeBrons are my thing, my all-time favorite kicks for sure.
Chicken + carbs
I am not a fan of sweets. I just eat a lot of chicken wings. I'm always the first one to the wings at the postgame spread. I've been trying to do the no-carbs thing; I'm interested to see what it will do to my body and my energy levels. But it's tough to eliminate carbs during the season because we burn so many calories during practice and games.
I get to the gym at least three hours before a game. I listen to a little music -- right now, I'm hooked on Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" -- and get any treatment that I need done. Then we watch some game tape, and I'm in the zone and ready to go.
Starlight, star bright
The All-Star Game is mostly about enjoying the moment, sharing it with family, friends and fans. We players go at it all season, and this is a great time to build friendships and just play. Of course, I wouldn't mind walking away with the MVP...