People

Happy to be stuck in his old routines

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PHILADELPHIA • J.J. Redick plans his meals, his naps, his shots and, well in advance of wearing them, even his socks.

The Philadelphia 76ers guard eats the same kind of granola bar before every game - a routine that goes back to 2012. He has built a high-level career out of this mind-numbing preparation.

"It's the only way I know how to be," the 33-year-old said.

It is hard to catch him off guard, as Brett Brown, his Sixers coach, learnt one night last summer.

He was wooing Redick to the team and, as part of his pitch, he invited him onto the court with centre Joel Embiid.

It turns out Redick had armed himself ahead of the meeting with a mental dossier of plays he had envisioned running with Embiid.

ONLY THING I CAN CONTROL

As you progress, the world around you becomes more and more chaotic... by having habits I can fall back on, it's my way of enacting control.

J.J. REDICK , Philadelphia 76ers guard, on his routines.

Redick, still wearing a blazer, picked and popped for jump shots, while Brown salivated at the possibilities for the team.

"He's as professional as anybody I've ever been around," Brown said.

Perhaps the most meticulous man in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Redick joined from the Los Angeles Clippers last July on a one-year deal worth US$23 million (S$30 million), and he has had a profound effect on the Sixers, who reached the play-offs for the first time since 2012.

Redick has assembled one of the most productive seasons of his 12-year career.

He averaged a career-best 17.1 points in the regular season and has upped his intensity in the post-season, with 20.4 points per game.

The American has an insatiable desire for structure and he finds joy in the mundane.

"As you progress as a basketball player, the world around you becomes more and more chaotic," he said. "There's more talent, there are more distractions - and these are all factors that create a lack of control.

"By having a routine, by having habits that I can fall back on, it's my way of enacting control. It's the only thing I can control."

During the off-season, he trains six days a week but reserves his most meticulous workout for Sundays. On that day, he makes 342 shots - no more, no less.

He settled on the number years ago based on a series of shots from different spots on the court and has never wavered.

And Redick is just as exacting on game days, calibrating many of his routines to the minute.

His pre-game meal consists of chicken, baked potato, asparagus or broccoli and a cup of coffee.

He also goes through the same shooting routine that he has done for the past nine seasons: 35 spot-up jumpers from different locations along the three-point line, 28 three-pointers off the dribble, four catch-and-shoot three-pointers from each wing, and 10 free throws.

For all the intricacies of his daily rituals, he is even more rigid in the 90 minutes before the opening tip, with the same six-minute shooting routine, dribbling drill, hip stretches and sprints.

He also uses six devices from a balancing plate to dumb-bells in the warm-up, and keeps two heat packs and an electrolyte drink in hand.

"It goes back to having control and putting things in place that put me at ease," he said. "If you don't have those mechanisms, then you don't have that foundation - that solid place you can always go back to if you're struggling."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2018, with the headline 'Happy to be stuck in his old routines'. Print Edition | Subscribe