Stephen Curry's trainer talks about regimen during MVP season

Stephen Curry's hard work is paying off.
Stephen Curry's hard work is paying off. (USATSI)

Becoming a MVP doesn’t happen overnight.

Stephen Curry has elevated his game to become the MVP due in large part to the tireless work he puts in during the offseason. Since 2011, Curry has worked with Brandon Payne of Accelerate Basketball on all facets of his game. From drills that work on his general conditioning to drills that improve his core and balance, Payne and his staff have put Curry through a multitude of different workouts for the past three summers.

“In our first workout in 2011, I put him through a lot of ball handling and footwork stuff that he hadn’t seen before,” Said Payne. “He really enjoyed it so we’ve been together ever since.”

Curry’s work with Accelerate not only changed his game but it also inspired him to become a part owner of CoachUp, a company that connects athletes with private coaches in over 30 different sports. caught up with Payne over the phone, to find out how his work in the offseason helped Curry become the MVP.

The following Q&A is lightly edited for clarity and flow. How proud are you watching the elevation of Steph’s game this season?

Brandon Payne: Well, I am not that surprised because of the way he approaches his craft. He is just a true professional and works so hard on a daily basis. When we first started working with Stephen, my staff and myself could tell that there was something about him. He is just very detailed oriented.

Am I proud? I am extremely proud to say that myself and Accelerate basketball have had a chance to be part of this. Honestly, you are also just proud to be associated with Stephen and the Curry family because they are such great people.

For him to have the kind of year that he’s had, where he’s been dominating everything, has been a lot of fun to watch and it makes me excited for the work we will continue to do this offseason because we are going to continue to get better. He has been a lot of fun to watch this year. Are you able to see your work in some of his more highlight type plays?

Brandon Payne: Absolutely. I see a lot of his drill work in his game, especially the plays where he is dribbling through traffic. I just kind of laughed at the one against the Clippers.

There are a whole lot of factors that go into that play. There is neuromuscular efficiency, there is cognitive work - where he has to make quick decisions, ball handling, balance and shooting mechanics. These are all things that we work on. Yeah his balance is incredible. He just seems to have a knack for always making off-balance shots.

Brandon Payne: Every drill that we do with everybody at Accelate, involves challenging a player’s balance. When you challenge a player’s balance consistently through workouts, it becomes very easy for them to hit off-balance shots. When he trains with us, we will use a lighter resistance band and pull or bump him right before shots. We do anything that we can, to provide a little bit of contact to keep him in a game situation - we call it training in a game state of mind.

With Stephen his shooting from is very consistent, so the fact that he can take all of these off-balance shots is really aided by his shooting mechanics. Coach Kerr challenged Steph to  become a better defender this season, did you guys work on anything specifically aimed at improving his defense?

Brandon Payne: We did some additional strength work with a lot of single leg workouts. His core is incredibly strong so that helps a lot when it comes to his balance which in turn helps his defense.

You also have to remember that there were two offseasons where he was coming off two major ankle surgeries. That stopped us from getting to some things but these past two offseasons, we were able to do a lot of work to improve his lateral speed and quickness. We would also put him through reactionary work, where he is on a speed band and has to react to a ball handler in front of him. I think what makes Stephen a great defender is that he is so intelligent. There is no wasted effort or movement with him on both sides of the ball. He is so efficient with his game.

For example on offense, he is able to quickly read his defender and wastes no time attacking. As soon as he gets the defender off-balance, the ball goes in the air. It is just a matter of reading and reacting correctly. He does that better than any other player I’ve ever worked with. His ability to see and react quickly and efficiently on defense and offense is second to none.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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