Rich Dalatri was the first full-time strength and conditioning coach in the NBA starting with New Jersey Nets in 1987. He has coached for 25 years in the NBA and with various national teams worldwide. These teams included the Italian National basketball team that, within one year, went from being a mid-level team to winning Silver medal in the 2004 Olympics. He has also taken the Ukrainian National team, once the worst team in the world, to the World Championships within four years. These rapid transitions occurred when Rich introduced the Zone Diet and high-dose fish oil into his training program.IN THE ZONE – WHAT A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE
It is hard for people to understand the benefits certain findings in life can reward you with. More so when you explain to them that giving your body a substance will improve the quality of their life. I was one, until I was persuaded by the results the ZONE DIET and OMEGA 3 supplementation gave me 24 years ago.
My Zone Story
My ZONE stay started in Bormio, Italy. I was the Athletic Coach for the Italian National Basketball Team. We were in the Alps for training camp prior to the 2004 Olympic Games. Now, we were a team of good Italian players, but by no means were there any superstars, or NBA players. We had surprised the world and especially France, whom we beat for third place, in the European Championships the year before to punch our ticket to the Olympic Games.
While in this training camp my assistant Victorio Mattioli approached me and asked if he could make our training table ZONE acceptable, and give the players OMEGA 3 supplementation. He explained he was in contact with a Dr. Barry Sears, and that this Dr. told him of the benefits it could possibly bring to us. Victorio was a very resourceful person, who constantly studied his field to become better. Knowing this, I agreed and we began the transformation.
Reaching Peak Performance in the Zone
I always thought that the large percentage of carbohydrates consumed by athletes was extreme. As a player, I would feel bloated and sluggish digesting the 70-80% carb diets that was supposedly good for athletes. Therefore, when presented with the 40% – 30% – 30% breakdown of the ZONE it was starting to make sense to me. We were sure to have all the nutrients vital to the ZONE at every meal at the training table, along with the daily dosage of OMEGA 3 for each player. Do you know all the players bought in. We angered a few of Italy’s best chefs who were brought in to cook for us, but as they say, you cannot make everyone happy.
We had grueling long days of practice, which consisted of double sessions on the court, weight training, and hours of therapy. Full days to say the least. I noticed that we were doing much better in the second practices than we ever did before. Our players actually were handling larger and larger loads than I ever experienced with them. I finally knew we were really getting somewhere the night we played TEAM USA, full of the NBA’s best talent, and beat them by 27 points in Cologne, Germany in an exhibition prior to the Games.
The Zone for the Win
Well, it only got better, and this group of Italian players stormed all the way to the Silver Medal in those Athens Olympic Games. We had an edge that was our secret weapon, THE ZONE. The month after we won the Silver Medal I was back in training camp with the New Jersey Nets, with whom I was an Assistant Coach/Player Development. We had just come off back to back NBA FINALS appearances. I presented the OMEGA 3 supplementation to the team, and coaches, and it spread like wildfire. If not for an injury to Jason Kidd in the Eastern Conference semi finals we may have had our best chance to win the Championship.
People ask how do you know it helped the players at the highest level in the world? Simple answer, when these players, and coaches follow you around and ask for their OMEGA’S, you know you have something. They are a very tough group to implement change in anything outside of what they do, or their comfort zone. I really had something here, and was even more elated when ZONE introduced a variety of foods which some of the players had delivered to their homes for themselves as well as their families.
From Elite Athletes to My Own Family
I was two for two in presenting this life changing supplementation. Now I had the toughest job to do. Attempt to get my own kids to try it. I have five children. Two of which, my two younger sons, were showing signs of being good baseball players. At the ages of 12 and 10 I started OMEGA 3 supplementation. Not long after I saw similar results as I saw in the other situations. They both seemed to take huge jumps in not only athletic tasks, but also in a sense of higher concentration, and focus, which can be a challenge inyoung athletes. They have both enjoyed very successful youth careers, with the older of the two being a First Team All American, Two time State Player of the Year in high school, and an All American in his freshman year at the University of North Carolina, and ranked as one of the top draft prospects from the very prestigious USA National Team. The younger of the two is in the process of selecting a Division I University to attend to play baseball.
So now I am three for three, and realizing what life-changing knowledge I have been fortunate enough to have been taught by the top professionals in the world at ZONE.
Omega-3s Gave the Boost we Needed
Now I am about to really put this ZONE phenomena to the ultimate test. In 2011 I accepted the position as an Assistant Coach with the Ukrainian National Basketball Team. My good friend Mike Fratello was named Head Coach, and we took on the task of coaching the worlds worst team. Literally, they were ranked dead last by FIBA the world governing body of basketball. Year one we almost made it to the medal round of the European Championships in Lithuania. The next year we presented OMEGA’S and the players, who never even heard of an OMEGA 3 FATTY ACID, were following me around to get their daily dosage. That summer we went 6-1, and qualified for the European Championships in Slovenia. It was a long time since they qualified on the court and not given a wild card as they were given our first year in Lithuania. It was in Slovenia in those European Championships that we really shocked the world, and finished fifth, and won a spot in the World Basketball Championships in Spain. Not a miracle, but about as close as you can get to one. Our FIBA ranking went to #12 in the world.
So, as you see I found something that changed the fortunes of everyone I presented it to. I have been fortunate enough to be helped and guided by people such as Dr. Barry Sears, and Paul Wilk. They have been there for me every step of my long, strange journey. I know what they have done for me, and also know, what they can do for you if you just are open enough to give them an opportunity.
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