Ever wonder how the Aggies have seemed to outlast teams and pull away from them in the second half so far this season? Do you think they can sustain it for an entire season?
I asked the man tasked with getting the Aggies in condition for an up tempo style driven by defense, former Aggie player and second year strength and conditioning coach Trei Steward a few questions.
Did you do anything differently?
Steward: Coach came to me with some concerns about last year's conditioning. Me being a first-year strength and conditioning coach there were a lot of things that I changed. I knew we had to get better in certain areas, one being able to get up and down the court. ... Coach put it on me and said, 'Hey Trei, we have to get this done.' I put it back on the players if this is the kind of style you want to play this year and they did it. ... I think we are below average right now in my eyes but we are playing well. If we continue to build it, we can make defense a staple for this team for years to come."
"We put in some new drills with a lot of resistance training for quick sprints, but we went old school too and did a lot of suicides and 30 second on and 30 second off drills to get them ready for games. You aren't going to be in basketball shape before you are playing. Simulating basketball in conditioning drills is tough. We weren't allowed to touch a basketball but I can still work on defensive conditioning because we don't need a basketball. We can still tell how you are supposed to slide and cut people off."
Steward said that there was above average participation for summer workouts
"Even guys who aren't playing minutes now were here. Something that clicked I think was losing last year in the tournament didn't sit well with them. Defense was always the key for this year's team. They knew that they aren't going to have that scoring punch all the time so we have to do it with our defense. In order to play defense, you have to be well conditioned and able to move side to side."
"When they got back for school, we did testing to see where they were at and then just went at it three days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sometimes we went four or five days with certain guys like Chili and Hamidu trying to get those big guys to run more. They still aren't where we want them to be but nobody is. That's OK. I want them to peak in February to be the type of team that can outlast teams."
"I felt like going into the season last year, we were decent but we didn't keep up with it in practice like we should have. This year there is more emphasis that if we want to be this kind of team, we are going to have to run more in practice."