I’m thrilled to, at long last, give you Episode 001 of the Head in the Game Podcast.
I sat down with Steph Curry’s personal trainer Brandon Payne at his Accelerate Basketball facility just south of Charlotte.
Payne was one of my favorite interviews for Head in the Game when I was researching the book, mainly because he believes in approaching training in smarter ways — and he has a frank and authoritative take on it.
His story with Curry helps a lot with that, too.
The most famous version of his help is the viral video from 2015 showing Curry going through dribbling drills while wearing space-age looking goggles. They are flashing on and off, blacking out his vision while he trains.
But that’s just one piece to the whole puzzle.
Payne’s work with Steph beginning in 2011 helped transform Curry from skinny underdog sharpshooter into the stud who led the Golden State Warriors to the best record in NBA history, set one shooting record after another, was voted the league’s first-ever unanimous MVP, and even challenged LeBron’s hold on Greatest Basketball Player Alive. We get into all of that, how Payne’s approach to training — like few others in modern sports, let alone basketball — transformed Curry, the backwards ways most coaches still think and how it’s not only holding players back but hurting them, and, of course, “neurocognitive efficiency.”
We also break down what went wrong for Steph at the end of the season last year as he and the Warriors lost the NBA Finals to LeBron’s Cavs after holding a 3-1 series lead — and what’s been going “wrong” with the Warriors this season, and how they are making it right heading into what looks like an inevitable third consecutive NBA Finals showdown with LeBron again.
And I say “at long last” because I interviewed Payne about five weeks ago now, back when I thought I’d be getting this podcast up and running a month ago.
Nothing in it is dated, though. If anything, the insight into a month or so ago when Curry and the Warriors were “struggling” versus how they are tearing up the playoffs now is pretty entertaining.
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