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YouTube’s Goal Guys, aka brothers Cam and Brendan Jones, regularly take on all manner of fitness challenges on their channel. Last year, Cam committed to training like NBA superstar Steph Curry for 50 days, and ended up dominating Brendan in a game of one-on-one. In a new video, Brendan sets out to redeem himself.
“My defense is atrocious,” he says. “What hurts me the most is that basketball used to be my sport. It was the reason I first got into weight training to begin with, and while I continued improving my strength as an adult, my ability to move on the court feels gone. So I want to find out if there’s any way I can get it back.”
In order to reclaim his game, Brendan decides to emulate the training regiment of arguably the best defender in the NBA: Jrue Holiday. He reaches out to Holiday’s trainer, performance coach Mike Guevara, who outlines a four-week program for him to follow. And while Brendan can’t exactly recreate the sheer solid mass that helps make Holiday such a force to be reckoned with on the court, Guevara prescribes core-centric exercises which will make him “feel like a brick wall” and carry over into the game .
“Any time you’re doing a core exercise where you’re standing or you’re practicing a wide base, or a lower level, or stiffening up your core, that’s what’s going to translate to that moment where you cut the ball handler off ,” explains Guevara.
The sets challenge Brendan’s strength, balance, and motor control, and the early workouts take an immediate physical toll. “I thought I would do pretty well from the strength component of this goal, but these workouts hit different,” he says. “The long body holds I’m doing, the stability drills, all of this just has me foam-rolling my legs into oblivion, and I need to add more to my training to work on my speed and lateral quickness… I’ m having to face the fact that I’m not nearly as skilled as I used to be.”
Despite feeling initially discouraged, Brendan is eventually able to get out of his own head and as the month goes by, he regains a real sense of pleasure in playing. But of course, the real test is on Day 30, when he goes up against Cam in a rematch… and beats him with a score of 11-8.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.