ONE-ON-ONE WITH HASSEB FASIHI
October 1, 2019
Taking health and fitness to the ultimate level, Haseeb Fasihi (B.S., M.S., C.S.C.S) is currently the strength and conditioning/player development coach for the NBA’s Orlando Magic and the NBA G-League’s Lakeland Magic. In this position his responsibilities include implementing both in-season and off-season programs for players under contract with the Magic. Also part of the job is constructing and assessing injury preventative techniques, designing programs for each player’s needs on the court and in the weight room and conducting research to find better methods of preparation and training.
Your job is quite different from most others in the health and fitness business. How did you end up in a professional basketball organization?
I have been honored to be a part of an NBA organization for the past two seasons, about to start my third. Before signing with the Orlando Magic I was passionately training professional players and amateur athletes on a daily basis. I co-founded my company, M.A.D.E. Performance, in 2016 and there I had a leading role in developing and managing our athletes and have taken those skills to now working at the NBA level.
Every basketball season must be very different working for an NBA team.
There has been a big culture change over the years. It is always challenging, with players continuously changing during the season and off season. Playoff preparation creates a lot of stress. Overall I have been able handle the rigors of losing and injuries. Every year there is a new challenge.
What are the specific challenges you face today?
The biggest are injury preventative challenges. It is always a challenge to work with athletes who are healthy and at the same time those who are rehabbing back from injury. The biggest focus has been to follow protocols and build communication skills with the staff of different techniques to better grow the progress of each athlete.
How has our industry – the health and fitness business – helped you in this position?
The health and fitness industry helped me to use my own business in training and player development to translate to the professional level. There is so much new research and studies released daily, which makes it important to always stay in touch with the innovations of this vast industry. Since dealing with professional players is a fun but challenging task, the rewards of winning and seeing players improve are the overall goals of our organizations and coaches.
What could we do better? Any pet peeves?
Yes, the industry could do better in setting standards and providing clinics in areas of need. High schools should provide programs and coaches need to help the grassroots process of development for each athlete to further prepare them for college and professional opportunities. Having a program to help high school and middle school athletes is important.
What are the most significant changes in personal training that have changed the way you do things today?
The most changes have come in the advancements of injury prevention, mobility and stability. The growth of knowledge has not only helped me try to prevent injuries the right way, but also to find what works and what doesn’t. Most of these changes have been through clinical research by accredited institutions or coaches.
What are elite athletes demanding?
Athletes demand trust, knowledge, care and expertise. The more we are able to educate the athlete, the better the chances are of preventing injuries.
Is that a particular challenge at the professional level?
Most athletes have trust issues from the previous organizations they have been part of. So when they transition into the professional level, it will take time for them to trust you. The focus is always about them, so with any demands or requests they have we have to see the pros and cons of any situation. Elite athletes demand proper preparation that best suits them individually.
Your role goes well beyond just workouts/exercise to include nutrition, wellness and many other aspects of health. How do you bring this all together?
The hardest part about this role is making time for each athlete. We have a standard body composition and physical assessment that we test before any exercise program. Once they pass the physical exam from the doctors, we do the anthropometric and body composition assessment to see where their bodies are and where their goals should be.
How about on the nutrition end?
Nutritional plans are necessary due the resources available and what is demanded by their bodies on the road. Most players are not taught a proper diet at the college level. So we make healthier suggestions daily, either through a team chef or staff member emphasizing the needs of each athlete through outside resources.
Are athletes you work with open to new ideas and training methods — or are they committed to how they have always trained?
Athletes have always been receptive to the ideas and training methods that I have been consistent with, but they also question any change in the training due to the alteration of routine. If the concept and data behind the change supports a better alternative, they adjust quickly.
Are some more difficult to get to accept new ideas than others?
Some players have an identity that has been consistent over the years, so they don’t have any interest in making many changes. When a coach is able to educate the athlete, the athlete always listens and absorbs the knowledge and then quickly decides to buy in. Most of the time they do because they trust our expertise.
HASEEB’S FIBO FOCUS
What are you looking to get out of FIBO USA in Miami Beach this month?
I am looking forward to connecting with all the different professional individuals in the industry to further grow my network. I want to learn from any new products or services provided to better grow my experience.
What role do you think FIBO USA should play in your job?
FIBO USA should educate consumers and businesses and business owners. With my involvement with FIBO, more teams and organizations can get involved with applying their expertise and focus to those also in need. This will be my first experience and I am honored to be a part of it.