“How you do Anything is How you do Everything.”
It is with great excitement that I write this “About me” for Northpolehoops.com — I have been keenly watching, reading, and learning about the growth of Basketball in Canada throughout the past two years and I am excited to finally participate in the growth of the game that is getting so much attention.
My name is Neil Purves and I am not your prototypical basketball coach. I played some basketball when I was young, but stopped after Grade nine, when it was clear that I was too small and too big (more of a shot putter build) for the sport.
I have never played competitively since then, and I have only been the head coach for one game at the high school level – a game we lost. BUT, what I do bring to the game is an extensive knowledge of strength & conditioning (sometimes called fitness, training, lifting, runs etc) and long term athlete development (knowing when, where, how and what you should be doing to excel in your sport). To get your life back with superior chiropractor services, sports massage and cold laser therapy just visit us https://www.fixbodygroup.com/. At the heart of chiropractic is an understanding that the alignment of the spine affects the nervous system in a big way. The spine houses the spinal cord, and nerves extend from the brain to the body and back. Therefore it is crucial that this flow is uninhibited and able to carry messages that affect how we function. For this reason, chiropractic services can improve a variety of conditions and disorders including anything from migraines to foot pain. In a recent study chiropractic was shown to greatly improve blood pressure in patients with hypertension. This amazing finding points to something chiropractors have known for a long time – proper alignment of the spine impacts everything we do, and its role in cardiovascular health should be recognized and emphasized more often.
Before I bore you with my resume, let me tell you about how I was re-introduced to the game of basketball two years ago.
I had a student in my class (oh yeah, I’m a PE teacher) who was a 6’0” point guard with way above average basketball sense who had won his second city championship in two years, went to OFSAA, was an NPH showcase MVP and Top 5 ranked NPH guard, but was pulling a low 60 in my Phys-ed class.
This kid had something special as far as his game was concerned, but he was missing a key piece – fitness. Like many young basketball players I have met, he had done little training in the weight room or to develop his speed, agility or stamina.
I made him a deal at the end of his Gr.10 year that went like this, “I really think you need my help to achieve your dream of playing NCAA basketball. There are thousands of six foot point guards with skill in the USA, you need to be stronger, faster and fitter if you want to make it. If you do this program I am giving you this summer, then I will work with you in September”.
He did the program and we’ve been training together since.
As I watched the impact of training on his game during the HS season, I realized that I wanted to be more involved and decided to join our school’s Senior Boys Basketball program (2014-2015) solely as their strength & conditioning coach.
I implemented a pre-season strength training program that was supervised, I took care of all warm-ups and cool-downs for practices and games, played a huge part in managing overuse injuries and started working with players on their nutrition.
The benefit of this was threefold.
1. I got to coach what I was most passionate about – strength & conditioning.
2. Players got to have someone they could rely on to help them be prepared to practice and play, as well as someone to get help with nagging aches and pains.
3. Our head and assistant coaches got to do what they were most passionate about – coaching basketball players and systems.
At the end of 2014-2015 season, I asked our best player if he’d like to do some 1-on-1 training and he agreed. This was my second experience with an exceptional player whose athletic ability (speed, agility, quickness, strength) albeit good, didn’t match his level of play.
Simple footwork patterns were a challenge, his body was beaten up and yet again, he’d done little physical development outside of basketball. He’s just come off a great AAU circuit, has his first D1 offer and is preparing for a prep year in NEPSAC.
So, by now you might have googled my name to see who I am or what I’ve done. You probably won’t be able to find much, other than I am on Twitter as @Torque_AD and there is a hairdresser in England with the same name who was caught doing 166mph on a motorbike.
I have no hair and don’t own a bike…so, let me give you a quick synopsis of me:
I was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but raised in Belleville, Ontario. I have always loved sports, and have probably one of the most eclectic backgrounds you’ve ever heard of. I played lots of soccer as a kid, rode horses for about five years competitively, then participated in two Ontario Summer Games – once in Lawn Bowling, then again in Track & Field.
As a high school athlete, I was self-coached and managed to get to OFSAA twice for Track & Field. I wanted to go to University of Western Ontario for university and to do track, but a conversation with the Head Coach changed that path. I wasn’t throwing far enough and wasn’t fast enough according to him – this without ever seeing me compete. I ended up going to Queen’s University for their Physical & Health Education program and walked on to the track & field program.
There was a no-cut philosophy at the time and the coach was a former Commonwealth Games and National team member. It was a perfect fit for me, that allowed me to get the coaching I desperately needed. I had a rocky first year, but then made the CIAU (now CIS) championships for my final three years.
It was during this time, that I learned about strength & conditioning – first as an athlete (I was nominated twice as an All-American Strength & Conditioning Athlete of the Year) and then as a coach when I became CSCS certified (Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist) and started training athletes. At the time I was working with a couple of OHL hockey players – both of who went on to NHL careers, but also included the university football team.
Following my four years at Queen’s, I completed a two-year Master’s Degree in Applied Sport Science & Coaching at Lakehead University. This was a platform for me to attempt to become a strength & conditioning coach (my goal at the time) at the NHL level.
I spent the next year working at one of Toronto’s premiere multi-disciplinary facility – High Performance Specialists – training Olympians, and pro-athletes from a wide range of sports many of whom were coming off some sort of injury or were looking for elite training. I then spent the next three years working as a Personal Trainer and Manager of Personal Training in West Vancouver and Ottawa.
It was at this point that I realized that I was moving away from the group that I found most rewarding to train – young athletes.
They simply couldn’t afford to pay the $40-60/hr being charged for personal training. So, I decided to go back to school and get my Bachelor’s of Education and become a PE teacher so that I could start working with young athletes again.
10 years later and here I am. I have coached Soccer, Badminton, Alpine Skiing, and Track & Field during those years and have built up a very successful fitness program within the PE department at my school.
This is how I hope to help NPH and its community, by sharing my experience and skills with respect to strength & conditioning and athlete development with young, driven athletes.
In a sport, like basketball, where players have traditionally played themselves into shape, I hope to bring a different perspective to training.
Becoming a better athlete will help you become a better basketball player. Like the game of basketball, you don’t have to have a lot of equipment to become a better athlete, but you do have to have the mindset that physical development is an essential part of your basketball development.
I look forward to participating in the Quebec #NPHShowcase (September 11-13) and to contribute on a weekly basis to NorthPoleHoops.com
As far as my own personal accomplishments as an athlete and coach, here are some tid-bits that show my experience in terms of working with a wide range of sports.
- I’ve been as heavy as 253lbs as a shot putter in 1998 and as light as 199lbs when I did a bodybuilding competition in 2012
- I’ve completed a marathon, multiple half-marathons and many 5km and 10km races
- I completed a two-day adventure race from Squamish, BC to Whistler, BC covering more than 160km by boat, bike and feet.
- I’ve participated in the Crossfit Games as an online competitor (had to film the workouts and submit the results online)
- I built a rock-climbing wall in my garage and have competed in the Tour de Bloc rock climbing competition in Ottawa.
- 3x CIAU Shot Put competitor – best finish 4th.
- 2x OFSAA competitor – Shot Put
- Trainer of the Year – Innovative Fitness
- Two-time HS Coach of the Year – Immaculata High School
- OFSAA Colin Hood Award for Coaching – Immaculata High School
- Consultant to LTAD for Tim Nedow – 2015 Pan American Games silver – Shot Put
- Co-Author – Ch. 11 – Hockey – Sports Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation by Shamus
- Founder of Torque Athlete Development