Savage: Magic Already Hitting the Ring

By Dan Savage
May 11, 2011

The end of the NBA season often means the start of vacation season for most players.

But after a difficult First Round series loss at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks, the Orlando Magic are overlooking that summer tradition and already starting to prepare for their 2011-12 campaign.

Even though this year’s playoffs are still far from over, the Magic are determined to make sure they don’t waste any time in their quest for a 2012 NBA title.

That’s why while other team’s players are starting to hit the beach, members of the Magic are hitting the boxing ring.

After participating in workouts with several of their teammates at Amway Center, guard Chris Duhon and forward Earl Clark joined Magic Strength-and-Conditioning Coach Joe Rogowski over at Gym Rat Boxing.

The trio then participated in a strenuous hour and a half workout to help increase conditioning, core strength as well as improve their hand-eye coordination and footwork.

“It helps with your core strength which is vital to everything that you do,” Duhon explained. “Hand-eye coordination and footwork, again which is relevant to what you do on the basketball court.”

The workouts inside the ring have now become a regular part of the Magic’s offseason training program.

Gym Rat Owner Todd Drespling has assisted Rogowski for the past five seasons in helping the Magic find their touch in between the ropes. And according to the Certified U.S.A. Boxing Coach, there can be great value to players who decide to spend some time in the ring.

“You can work the total body and on your explosiveness,” Drespling explained. “With basketball players, we like to wear their shoulders out before they box. It forces them to keep their hands up and when they play the game they have to have their hands up constantly, so it helps them with that.”

In addition, the routine forces athletes to remain in constant motion as they move around the ring, which in the past has helped players such as All-Star center Dwight Howard and former Magic big man Marcin Gortat develop their body control in the post.

Clark is now hoping to follow in their footsteps.

“It takes a lot out of you and it keeps you in shape,” he said. “It gives you a strong base, (which helps you) defensively and in the post.”

Plus, it beats the alternative of sitting around and watching other teams play from home.

“You can take it as you lost and you’re going to stay at home and sleep and watch everybody else play or you can go into the gym and work hard,” Clark added. “The guys on the team, we’re all in the gym getting ready for next season, trying to improve ourselves to make the team better.”

With a jumpstart on their offseason routine, the Magic are definitely on the right track to ensuring they deliver a few knockout punches to other squads next postseason.

Follow Dan Savage on Twitter here