By: Tyler Scanlon
The transition from off-season to pre-season officially began September 25th, with our first practice of the year. Symbolically, the first practice of the year signifies that the first game is not too far away. In reality, we had been doing basketball skill work and lifting weights all summer, so the first practice felt like another day in the office, as opposed to a nerve-wracking start of the season.
The biggest difference between the off-season and the pre-season is that in the off-season, a player mainly focuses on their own skill development. The pre-season, on the other hand, is the phase in which our own individual skills have to come together to form a cohesive unit. The focus shifts from “me,” to “we.”
Another element of official practices that is different from summer workouts is the introduction of offense plays and defensive rotations. This means that we have to start using our brains much more, whereas in the summer we worked on becoming the best we could from strictly a physical standpoint. Understanding the offensive playbook and the nuances of the defense is arguably more important than any skill work we do in practice at this point. Having five men on the court who work together is one of the hardest things to accomplish as a basketball team.
Our team has shifted dramatically in its makeup since I have been here. As a freshman, I was one of four underclassmen. Now, I am one of just four upperclassmen. That means we have ten underclassmen on our team this year, which can make for a steeper learning curve when it comes to understanding the playbook.
Despite our youth, our first week went about as well as we could’ve hoped. The young guys came to compete at a high level and have brought energy on a consistent basis. Our typical week consists of five basketball practices, and two to three weight room sessions.
Having such a young team, our work in the weight room is key to making sure the underclassmen are going to be ready to endure a 30-game season. Durability can be one of the most overlooked aspects of our sport. With all the running and jumping we do, so many players have nagging injuries in their knees and feet that limit their practice time. Our goal in the weight room is to limit injuries first, and then become stronger and more explosive once we are less prone to injury.
Every week we select an “Attitude of The Week King,” which is presented weekly to the player who exemplifies the values of the team. Our “King” for the first week of practice was Junior Adam Mikula. Adam is in his first year on the team, and his maturity has helped give valuable advice to some of the younger guys on the team.
With our first game just over a month away, we have a lot to improve on before we are close to game-ready. But if we continue to work hard and listen to our coaches I’m sure we’ll be ready come November 6th against Northeastern. See you at The Roof!