National Title Contender: Gonzaga Bulldogs X’s and O’s by Roberto Assi

National Title Contender? Learn how Gonzaga built itself up to a National Title Contender. It’s not how you would think. My first thoughts were that they did it on the basketball court and weight room. The Bulldogs have committed to improving as a team through yoga and escape rooms.

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The national title contender: Gonzaga Bulldogs lost in the national championship game last year, so Coach Few decided to do something different this year. They spent two days at a lake resort in eastern Washington. This retreat consisted of playing cards, paddle boating, zip lines, and pickleball games. It wasn’t the typical team building activities that you would have about them doing at a retreat.

Travis Knight is the Gonzaga Bulldog’s strength and conditioning coach and the organizer of the retreat. He wanted them to think on their feet and not be like robots. When people start to solve problems, then they will develop energy and confidence from those solutions.

Coach Knight divided the Zags into teams and put them in escape rooms. They had to figure out codes by doing puzzles to get out of the escape room. The theory was if they can learn how to think their way out of problems then it would carry over to the basketball court.

Gonzaga started off their 20th NCAA appearance with UNC-Greensboro this past Thursday. The Zags were playing early in the morning and playing a team that pressed to slow down the tempo. The Bulldogs had to adjust and think about a way to “escape” their opponent.

Another new thing that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are attempting is the TB12 Method which is the Tom Brady Method. It’s an holistic-minded approach to the training regimen. Can you see Bob Knight or Dean Smith using that term to explain how they trained their players at Indiana or Carolina?

The National Title Contender: Gonzaga Bulldogs have been doing yoga for the last five years. They have kept sleep patterns, diets, and various other stats. The new exercises have focused on flexibility, movement, and agility. It’s new age college basketball training.

National Title Contender

Coach Knight got his idea from John Stockton who was doing lower body conditioning before anyone was in the NBA. Stockton has given Coach Knight some of the exercises that make his players anticipate what their opponents do and how to counter it.

Coach Knight doesn’t think that the players mind the different types of workouts when they see Mark Few doing the yoga with them. It was an immediate buy-in for the Bulldogs.

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The holistic approach to basketball is new for most people. They are trying to get these kids to think outside the box. The national title contender: Gonzaga Bulldogs have shaken off the loss in the national championship game and only had three losses in the season.

The Zags are fresh and energetic in practice and might be on to something great. We will have to wait and see.

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