First Days Of Practice

Oct. 16, 2000

It's that time of year when my body starts talking to me in funny ways. I start to feel muscles I haven't felt in a while. Like the ones that it takes to bend over and look in the fridge, or pick up that bar of soap I dropped in the shower. Even the simplest of things like squatting down to go to the bathroom or laughing at a teammates joke remind me of just how tough practice was the night before.

The ASU Women's basketball team started official practice on Saturday. Although pre-season workouts were no piece of cake, most of us are still feeling the after shocks of the demanding three-hour practices. 'I feel like I was just run over by a train,' One of my teammates said as she entered the locker room on Sunday.

Practice starts out with a stretching and warm-up routine, but quickly jumps into some intense individual skill work. The schedule varies a little from day to day, but basketball fundamentals are always our team's primary focus. Taking care of the ball and rebounding are enforced in every drill, since both require a special focus and skill level necessary to win games in the Pac-10.

Although we're not picked to win the Pac-10 in the pre-season poll, it is without a doubt our team's number one expectation going into the season. Other people's predictions mean nothing to us, as we all know if we all do what we are supposed to do we will have championship type success. Players take turns leading the cheers in our team huddles. As we raise our hands in unity before and after practice, one of our loudest and most confident cheers has become 'PAC-10 CHAMPS!'

Many are referring to this year's team as 'special.' Coaches often like players who would 'run through walls' for them. This years team is special in the sense that we would all 'run through walls' for each other. Getting through rigorous practice and class schedules and performing on a daily basis requires fuel for not only the body, but also the mind. The team has been great in encouraging each other, and giving each other support when our bodies seem to have 'hit that wall.' This special fuel turns into the energy it takes to get through a long practice, or sometimes just to make it through a stressful week.

Besides being positive at all times, another one of the program's goals is to improve our communication. A weekly journal is one of the ways the program has tried to encourage communication between players and coaches. Players can write anything they are feeling in their journal. This communication should help address problems and concerns throughout the year that otherwise might be ignored. Once we leave training table, which is a cafeteria style dinner available to players and managers after practice, we are suppose to leave all basketball related issues in the confines of the arena.

Nonetheless, on my drive home inevitably to still think about basketball, because even squatting down to get in the car uses those tiny muscles I forgot about. Still it is important to remember:

You have one body
respect it.
You have one mind,
feed it.
And you have one life,
so enjoy it!


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