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Screens & Cuts

Posted by tdifranc on November 18, 2009

Well if you know basketball terminology you are probably thinking the title is about setting “screens” for a pick & roll or “cutting” to the basket but, you are wrong!  So much has happened in the last 5 days that some of it is hard to remember and most of it blends into one big long day!  In the days since the draft I have been attempting to completely outfit an empty 3,500 square foot strength facility I am calling the Jam Performance Center (JPC).   It is so exciting to be a part of this – I am in charge of our travel itinerary, all athletic training matters, all strength & conditioning matters, and setting up the caterer who covers meals during training camp!

Players came in on Wednesday and I gladly worked a few of them out in a voluntary format.  Thursday the rest of the players came in and I screened all of them to determine if anyone was functionally a mess!  A handful of them were a mess!  Weak hips, tight hips, ankles that don’t move, complete lack of core strength etc., etc.  The rest has been a blur but included some semblance of the following….

The days include waking up at 5:45ish to get to the hotel (where the players are staying for now) by 6:45 for treatments, manual work, and taping.  The man who runs the hotel (Kal) is one of the most helpful and generous people I have ever met!  He sets a room aside for me to do all of my treatments and taping in and then basically does everything and anything you could ask for.  He and his family run a great business and have helped me and our players tremendously!

We leave the hotel to go to our morning practice at U of Cal State Bakersfield at 8:15 and practice starts at 9.  I am perpetually lugging my athletic training equipment in the back of my truck from practice to practice right now due to the fact that our facility is a week or two away from being complete.  We finish practice around 11 and get back to the hotel for lunch by 11:45.  I ice guys down while they scarf lunch and then they go up to their rooms for an afternoon nap.  Meanwhile I go to the office and fax completed physicals, complete player paperwork, and plan upcoming strength training sessions.  Then I am back at the hotel by 3:45 for treatments and tape.  I bring the players bags of natural nuts (made by Nutland in Bakersfield – great product) for protein and calories for them to utilize during the upcoming practice.  The players come in, eat their pre-practice snack, and foam roll or do treatment exercises with me while we watch whatever game is on TV.  I tape who needs taped and then it’s time to get in the vans for our second practice of the day.

At practice I get guys stretched out individually as necessary then after coach has talked and walked through a few plays I take them through a ten minute dynamic warm up (video coming) and a 5-7 minute dynamic cool down.  Our evening practices are typically held at a local middle school.  Our very first evening practice went a bit longer than expected!  The guys had been run all practice long and many of them who came into camp out of shape were really having trouble keeping up.  Then it was time to hit free-throws to finish the practice.  Then came the misses, and misses, and more misses.  They ran, and ran, and ran.  When it was all said and done we had some hurtin’ dudes.  One player cramped up so bad he couldn’t walk or even hold a water bottle!

After practice we bring the players back to their hotel around 9:30 and their food is waiting for them.  Typically some combination of chicken or beef, salad, whole wheat rolls, steamed or roasted vegetables, and beans/brown rice.  These guys need healthy, dense calories right now and lots of them.  We provide Gatorade right now and eventually it will be watered down due to the high amounts of fructose corn syrup in it!  Gatorade if consumed in excess by people who are not exerting themselves strenuously can be a factor in weight gain due to the sugars and calories.  Right now with two-a-days it isn’t as much of a factor because they need the calories and electrolytes but next time you pick up a bottle of Gatorade take a look at the ingredients and ask yourself how they get those neon colors??????

Players eat in the lobby and then get their bags of ice and clean practice uniforms from our director of laundry services (Chris) and head up to their rooms to crash!  Chris and I sit down and eat and have a few laughs with our new friend Kal (he works ~18 hours/day) and then saddle up and head home for the night typically by 11pm.  That has been our schedule since Friday and it will be similar until final cuts get made.  We started with 19 players (enough for two teams) and now are down to 16 and will be down to 10 by 11.25.  Unfortunately cuts are part of the process and the first three to get cut were great kids and understood that this is just part of the game.  It is interesting to watch the team begin to shape and mold itself with each practice.  The roots are growing and as more cuts get made the team will only get stronger.

I am enjoying every bit of this and at the same time looking forward to the roster getting set and the season starting!

TD

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