Earning Player Respect with Former NBA S&C Coach Tim DiFrancesco- EP064

 In Podcast

How exactly do you score a job as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers? What is the secret to earning the players’ respect and producing at a high level—without losing focus on their long-term health and fitness?




Tim DiFrancesco spent six seasons with the LA Lakers, and he is a respected thought leader in sports medicine and athletic performance. Tim earned his undergraduate degree in Athletic Training from Endicott College as well as a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Massachusetts—Lowell, and he is a certified Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also the founder of TD Athletes Edge, an in-person and online training platform where Tim teaches his evidence-based, scientific approach to fitness, nutrition and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Today, Tim shares his background and education, explaining how he came to work for the Lakers. He describes his experience working with an NBA team, discussing his secrets to earning the trust and respect of the players and the challenges he faced in implementing a nutrition initiative. Listen in for Tim’s insight on the health and fitness of professional basketball players and learn how you can work with him through TD Athletes Edge!

Topics Covered

[0:46] Tim’s background and education

  • Undergrad in athletic training
  • Doctorate in physical therapy
  • Performance, strength & conditioning
[2:03] How Tim came to work for the Lakers

  • Right place/time, doing right things
  • Opportunity with NBA D-League
  • Recruited by Gary Vitti to ‘own weight room’
[4:13] Tim’s experience working with NBA players

  • Not necessarily fit and healthy
  • Some in league despite limitations
  • Don’t last long without foundation
[8:35] The authority of an NBA strength and conditioning coach

  • Guaranteed contracts, ‘player’s league’
  • Develop trust, respect with players
[10:05] Tim’s insight on developing relationships with players

  • Listen, understand values
  • ‘Be a chameleon’
  • Manage expectations
[12:35] Tim’s approach to training high-level athletes

  • Put player in position to play as often, long as possible
[15:08] Tim’s greatest challenge working with the Lakers

  • Took on nutrition initiative to support healthy choices
  • Players had different levels of willingness to change
  • No one-size-fits-all, must have realistic expectations
[19:44] Tim’s work with TD Athletes Edge

  • Offers in-person and online training (with videos)
  • Targeted resistance/performance training to reach goals
  • Provide voice of reason, help clients ‘play the long game’

Learn More About Tim

TD Athletes Edge

TD on Instagram

TD on Twitter

TD on Facebook


TD on YouTube

TD Online Training




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