The Wildcat basketball program entered this season with lofty expectations, as the NCAA defending champions bringing in yet another #1 nationally ranked recruiting class.
Now, 9 weeks into the season and 4 losses later the formerly ranked #3 team is unranked headed into SEC conference play.
John Calipari understands the expectations of him and his players, and he knows that it’s his job as the coach to bring out the best in them. Yesterday, on his website he wrote about the fairly unconventional way he ensures he’s getting the most out of his team in practice.
Because we have very few returning veterans that our new guys can imitate or mimic, we haven’t gotten the level of work – conditioning, toughness, effort and exertion – that we need and we expect. That is not an excuse for our record. I’m proud of how far we’ve come and excited about where we will finish, but I’m just stating facts. We don’t have guys who have been in the system that can show them how hard they have to work. I have had to convince our guys that they aren’t working hard enough because they’ve been under the impression that they are. Each individual thinks they are working hard.
To help me do this, each player is now practicing and playing in games with a device that measures their exertion rate, sport zones, caloric expenditure and heart rate.
The device gives us the ability to monitor and check how much effort players are giving in real-time. Because we are able to read their heart rates, now we know who is maxing out in practice and who is hiding, who thinks they’re going hard and who isn’t, who is able to push themselves through pain, and who has mental toughness to be special.
Calipari wants his players to practice like they play in games, and that means the heart is working at a 90-percent level. So what happens if his players are registering levels in the 70’s and 80’s?
We get on the baseline and we run to get them back in the 90s.
Well…no faking in practice for these guys. I’m just glad they didn’t have this back in the day when I played. Those suicides are a beast.