Wichita State starts basketball practice on Sunday, two weeks earlier than the traditional mid-October start date.
More accurately, the Shockers continue practice on Sunday.
With the introduction of summer practice and limited team and individual workouts in the early fall, practice really never ends. With the added workload, the emphasis at WSU has switched from conditioning to injury prevention. Strength and conditioning coach Kerry Rosenboom is cutting back on running and doing more work to keep his players flexible and healthy. The traditional timed mile run is less important in the new atmosphere.
“They practice so much, they don’t get out of shape,” Rosenboom said.
Yoga is a big part of the preparation for this season. Keeping legs loose and bodies limber to preventing injuries is one of Rosenboom’s main goals.
“The first couple weeks were pretty interesting when you’ve got 6-foot-9 guys in there trying to pretzel up,” guard Ron Baker said. “It’s not sitting there with your hands, meditating. You start sweating in a cold room and it’s painful, very painful.”
Baker, who said he struggled with knee problems as a freshman and missed 21 games last season with a stress fracture, likes the emphasis on flexibility.
“It definitely helped me and I’ve seen a lot of changes that will, hopefully, keep me healthy,” he said.
More practice isn’t always a favorite for players.
“We should be on pace starting Sunday,” WSU guard Fred VanVleet said, smiling. “I don’t know whose idea it was to give (coaches) two extra weeks. It’s year-round. You get three weeks in May to go home after school lets out, but other than that it’s 49 weeks a year for us.”
But they understand that more time on the court means more time to improve their skills.
“It gives the coaches a chance to develop us even more,” VanVleet said. “Obviously, they’re going to be smart and witty about how much they put us through. You’ve got to keep injuries in your mind. You don’t want to overdo it.”
THIS WEEK IN SHOCKER HISTORY
Sept. 29, 2006
Missouri State’s volleyball team ended Wichita State’s 31-match home win streak with a 3-2 victory at Koch Arena. The Shockers led 13-12 in the fifth set before the Bears ended the match with three straight points, two by outside hitter Erin O’Connor.
“There were missed opportunities in this match, “ WSU coach Chris Lamb said. “We had a blocking play on (at the end of Game 5) and, well, there’s Erin O’Connor one-on-one. I don’t know how that could happen. Those are big-time mistakes. That’s leaving Jerry Rice one-on-one and that’s not supposed to happen.”
The loss also ended streaks of 29 regular-season MVC wins and 27 MVC wins at home.