Guillaume Alquier, Victor Wembanyama’s “Mister Health”

NBA – This physical trainer was recruited by the French nugget camp so that Victor Wembanyama remains in good health until his arrival in the Great League.

It’s the kind of phone call that changes a life. That of Guillaume Alquier changed last summer, when Bouna Ndiaye, one of the agents (with Jeremy Medjana) of Victor Wembanyama, contacted him with a proposal that is difficult to refuse. ” Bouna came to see me and asked me if I wanted to work with Victor. After that, the decision was made. »

He thus became the personal physical trainer of one of the most anticipated players in NBA history. With one main mission: for the 19-year-old giant to appear in the Draft, where the first place belonging to the Spurs is reaching out to him, in the best possible physical condition.

A daunting challenge, in every sense of the word, for this 30-year-old man who grew up in Pau and studied physical preparation at the local club of Pau-Orthez from 2015. Over the years, Guillaume Alquier has established a solid relationship with the nugget’s agent, having worked closely with clients of the Comsport agency, including Petr Cornelie, selected at the 53rd position in the 2016 Draft.

Less Euroleague

Direction Boulogne-Levallois where the Frenchman will play his last season in the French championship before his American departure. Currently fighting in the playoffs against his former club Asvel, the Mets 92 did not play in the Euroleague. Less competition means fewer matches, less travel and more training time but also rest.

« The previous season was difficult for Victor because there was a lot of travel, a lot of games, we are always on the road. So it’s difficult to develop, to be good on the pitch and to recover. For me, this year has been optimal, because you have one match per week, one day off after the match, and then you work five days during the week. So much of the stress is eliminated », Judge Guillaume Alquier (whose request for an interview by BasketUSA did not succeed), to which ESPN devotes a long article.

This did not prevent Victor Wembanyama from still taking part in 57 games during the season, in all competitions since September, without missing a single one.

Given the three injuries suffered by the player a year earlier with Asvel (back, shoulder and a broken finger), his arrival in Boulogne coupled with the methods of Guillaume Alquier ” have proven to be beneficial judge ESPN, recalling however that a schedule of 82 games, with a lot of travel, will be much more demanding.

Strong feet

Concretely, on a typical “off” day, the two men start working out 90 minutes before practice at Mets 92, with a warm-up routine. Adopting a holistic approach, the trainer attaches particular importance to hand-eye coordination, varying the type of exercise and their intensity. ” His body is not finished, so the main part of my job is to adapt to it.

“, notes the specialist, who has already asked his player to juggle before a match with tennis balls.

Guillaume Alquier prefers much of the physical work to be done barefoot, focusing on strengthening Victor Wembanyama’s feet, to improve landing and take-off stability (and avoid what Chet suffered Holmgren last summer for example…). ” If your foot is strong, normally everything bound is strong too. When you land on the ground, it’s on your feet first. If it is not solid, it is difficult to land and then to generate force. »

It will be understood that the physical trainer concentrates on the lower body of the phenomenon. ” The most important thing is to have strength in the legs, to produce strength to play basketball: to play inside, to defend, to post, everything… »

Priority to strength therefore, and not to mass gain when it comes to muscle building. The goal was never to make him fat – he is currently said to weigh 104 kilos – especially not while his body is growing naturally. ” He is gaining weight normally, but not 4 or 9 kilos every month. It could be difficult for his motor control, his knees, his joints. We try to help him as best we can. »

A physical follow-up so meticulous that the specialist, who also measures the sleep of the player, could be brought to make the trip to San Antonio with the future draftee.

Photo credit: AP

2023-06-03 17:04:00
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