The Future of Performance Athletics: A Q&A with NBA Performance Coach Bar Malik

What happens when LeBron James and his trainer, Mike Mancias, can’t find a supplement brand that delivers professional-caliber results? They make their own and call it Ladder. Ladder is a Presenting Sponsor of Gear Patrol’s first two-day event called Stocked: A Product Culture Conference. On Day Two of the festivities, Ladder hosts an active recovery session with NBA performance coach Bar Malik. We had the chance to catch up with Bar and get some insights on the future of performance athletics.

Bar, tell us a bit about yourself.

I am Bar Malik, I work in the NBA for the New York Knicks and this is my 6th season. Sports is my life. I’m passionate about health and human movement and I love helping people reach their highest potential, both physically and mentally. My goal was always to work for the Knicks, so I volunteered for a couple years to learn everything about the profession. The best part of the job is helping develop some of the best talent in the world.

What do you enjoy most about working in performance athletics and where’s it going?

I’m a student at heart, so I enjoy learning more about each player as the season goes. Nothing matters more than building relationships in performance athletics and I feel that each day is a fresh opportunity to learn something new. Pro athletes are a lot younger these days, so the quicker you can forge a relationship with them and consistently help them create good habits, the more buy-in you get as a Performance Coach. These days, sports performance is totally tech-enhanced and this trend is not stopping. Prepare yourself for a future of wearable technology in pro sports.

Can you tell us a little bit about Ladder? Why’s it important to raise the standards for quality and safety when working with supplements?

For me, Ladder is a different kind of supplement than I’ve previously seen on the market. I like that it’s certified by the highest third-party testing available. It only contains ingredients that are backed by intensive research and most importantly, it’s created by people who are passionate about the ethics around performance supplements. Athletes are always inundated with supplement choices, and most of them aren’t certified for sport, which could potentially do more harm than good. Ladder has made things easier for my athletes to choose both quality and safety.

Outside of NYC (of course), what’s the most memorable city you’ve travelled to over the last year? What made it so memorable?

I love Venice, Italy. I love the water, the homes on the canals, the boats in the water. It’s all surreal and so romantic. It’s by far the best place I’ve been to over the last year.

What’s next? What do you have planned in 2020 both professionally and personally? Any big trips or adventures? What’s that single piece of gear that you can’t live/leave without?

2020 will be different for sure. Obviously, I hope we make it to the playoffs. But personally, I’m in the process of creating a platform where people can learn about all of the cool stuff I’m exposed. I love to help athletes filter through all of the fads and gimmicks that this space is saturated with. I also hope to highlight the influential people who have helped me in my journey so that others can learn some tips to becoming a high performer as well. Next summer I plan to go back to Italy since I was unable to go this past summer. And in terms of gear, I can’t live without my Theragun.