How Jim Boeheim, the oldest coach in D1 basketball, stays in shape

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Half an hour after the Syracuse-Duke game last month, Jim Boeheim walked down a hallway in the bowels of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Lefty Driesell, the legendary Duke Blue Devil, unexpectedly met him at a doorway.“You look good,” Driesell said.“I got to,” Boeheim responded. “I work out. My wife will yell at me if I don’t. I’ve got teenagers!”While lighthearted in that moment, Boeheim takes his workouts seriously, and he has for four-plus years. After not working out for the majority of his coaching career, Boeheim, 73, turned to working out to help with knee pain. Now exercising two mornings per week, the 42-year head coach credits his good health to Pilates, the German-based exercise focused on stabilizing the body’s core through slow, precise movements and specific breathing techniques which elongate the body’s muscles.And when the oldest head coach in Division I stands across the scorers’ table from his counterpart, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, as No. 11 seed Syracuse tips off with No. 2 seed Duke on Friday night in Omaha, Nebraska, credit Boeheim’s presence in part to the series of minute core exercises by which he swears.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s helped me a lot,” Boeheim said. “I do a little other stuff, but my knees aren’t good, so I don’t do a lot. I do Pilates twice a week, religiously. That’s really helped.”SU’s Hall of Fame coach, notorious for his aggressive sideline antics and beration of players during games, spends two mornings performing exercises on a yoga mat. But that’s exactly why the intricate art of Pilates fits.When Boeheim reams players out from the sideline, it’s because they should’ve been an inch left or right on defense or set a ball screen a few feet over. It’s often about the little things. Pilates was originally founded by Joseph Pilates, a German physical therapist in the early 20th century. The exercise focuses on the “smaller muscles” and how those small muscles make the overall body function, said Valerie Patrick, a certified master of Pilates and owner of Core Pilates and Yoga in Cicero. The exercises, which increase core stability, focus on a mind-body connection to remove the participant’s ability to think about outside stresses.“When you’re doing Pilates and you’re focusing on the breath and the control of the movement and what muscles you’re working, you’re letting go of your day,” Patrick said. “You’re not thinking about your to-do list and ‘Ya know oh jeez I’ve got a problem with a co-worker,’ or whatever all these little things that pop into your heads.”That escape to the calmness of Pilates has intrigued several other high-profile sports figures as well. Last year, Sports Illustrated published an article on Antonio Brown and Jake Arrieta’s use of the exercises to strengthen their core and remain flexible. LeBron James was videoed performing Pilates prior to the 2014 NBA Finals, saying, “This is where the road to the three-peat starts.”Jacob Greenfield | Staff PhotographerBoeheim’s workout facility isn’t as extravagant as James’. Nor is it as public. Nick Giancola, Boeheim’s nephew and a freshman student manager for the men’s basketball team, was hanging out at the Boeheim home and saw his uncle in action. He walked downstairs to the finished basement only to be startled when he saw the most recognizable figure in central New York bent over, practicing Pilates.Syracuse commit Buddy Boeheim, Jim’s son, remembers waking up early for school at Jamesville-Dewitt High School. As he’d grab his bookbag and head out the door, around 7:30 or 8 a.m., he’d hear his father breathing heavily. The older Boeheim talks about his Pilates routine over dinner, Buddy said, and usually describes how the workouts challenged him.“It’s inspiring,” Buddy said. “It really works his flexibility and he loves it. I see him hard at work, sweating, breathing hard. It’s no joke.”Boeheim prefers to perform the exercises with his private trainer, Errin Klein, in the comfort of his own home. His workouts are simple. No music booms through a speaker. It’s just Boeheim, a mat and Klein’s voice dictating his movements for about 50 minutes per session.Klein meets with Boeheim on Monday, Wednesday or Friday, usually at 8:30 or 9 a.m., depending on the given week’s schedule. The former SU basketball star’s athleticism carries over to the Pilates mat, Klein said. When the two first met, the coach with more than 900 wins told his Pilates Institute of America certified instructor, “This is your business.” Klein referred to Boeheim as her “star pupil,” saying he tries anything she challenges him to do.“He’s in charge on the basketball court, and I’m in charge in Pilates,” Klein said, laughing.One of the first times Boeheim talked about his exercise publicly was on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz in February 2014. At one point, the discussion shifted to if Krzyzewski, the Orange’s opponent this Friday, could match the athleticism and quickness of Boeheim.“I don’t think so,” Boeheim respond to show host Stan Van Gundy. “I’ve been doing Pilates for a year and a half. I think I’m a little bit quicker right now.”“Pilates must be an Italian dish that he eats at a restaurant up there,” Krzyzewski quipped from the other phone line. “That’s the only Pilates he sees.”“I guarantee I do it. I guarantee it. Twice a week,” Boeheim affirmed.On Monday, Boeheim had just gotten home from Syracuse’s win over Michigan State. Still, he needed his fix. He told his wife, Juli, that he had an important commitment to schedule before the team flight to Omaha, Nebraska, took off Wednesday around 5 p.m.: Pilates.“He never misses an appointment,” Juli said. “It doesn’t matter what time he went to bed or where they played the night before. He makes time for this. It’s been really good for him. It’s his peaceful time, the exercise we all need. He’s bought into it. Passionate to say the least.” Published on March 21, 2018 at 10:07 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21center_img Commentslast_img

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