We are launching a new series of interviews with sportsmen and women hoping to be at the Rio Olympics in 2016. They are all current internationals and they will be answering questions about sport, fitness and staying motivated for At Home Fitness.
Our first star is GB basketball player Jamell Anderson. Jamell plays professionally for Leicester Riders whilst also studying for a degree in sport at Loughborough University. Talent spotted and given a professional contract at just 17, Jamell’s career nearly ended before it started when he was diagnosed with a heart defect. Just two years and two operations after his heart problem was discovered, he captained Grat Britain’s under 20 side and has since gone on to represent GB at under 23 and played for the England 3-on-3 team. Read more about Jamell’s remarkable career so far at http://jamellanderson.com.
Jamell, thanks for talking to At Home Fitness. How did you get into basketball?
I saw a basketball try-out sheet in the hall way at school, there was an American P.E teacher called Mr Tate who was massively into Basketball, so I just signed up and went to an after-school session wearing football trainers!
Even now I tell the kids I coach that when I went to my first practice the whole group laughed at me because I didn’t know what a layup was! But by the end of school I was the best player.
Basketball requires a variety of skills. What is the split in your training between aerobic training, weight training, speed training and ball/team work?
Training is determined mainly by what stage of the season we are at and by games, in season we train and play a lot so rest is really important and this effects how we train.
With a heavy schedule we train aerobically at the beginning of the week with shooting crossed with running and this would taper down to shorter much more anaerobic training such as half court training and also gym sessions after. Speed training is more of an off-season skill but its maintained throughout the season. Ball and teamwork is constant throughout the season, which is mixed up with my individual gym sessions and Gatorade testing.
What keeps you motivated to train?
I love the sport, and I love working hard, I always have, as it’s very rewarding to work hard, but winning always helps. I’ve always believed that to be more prepared than your opponent is very important.
What’s your favourite exercise?
Weirdly running, I feel like I can run for days on end. I just feel like I can get away from what ever is going on in my life by just going for a long run and just be with my thoughts.
What’s your least favourite exercise?
I would have to say anything where I have to do it until failure because I literally go until the muscle gives way and it hurts!
You’re 6′ 7″, so besides height, what makes a great basketball player?
Intelligence, quickness, good reaction time, athleticism, good core strength is very important. But a good personality never hurts!
If you could go back and tell your younger self to do something differently, what would it be?
I would maybe play more, I wish I could of taken every opportunity to play competitively because my coaches when I was younger didn’t really advise playing so much, they focused more on drills and technique where as I’ve learnt more from just playing.
How do you balance being a professional sportsman with University studies?
It’s hard work but I have great people around me from the coaching staff to the lecturers and college staff such as Rob Jarrum who just make life easier and help me organise and plan things out. Doing homework on the bus to Glasgow away games is quite normal now.
Follow Jamell on twitter (@jamell_uk) or his website http://jamellanderson.com.