Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer put his team through a four-hour workout to begin preseason practice Wednesday.
Even though the practice was long, it was just a hint of what the Lady Bulldogs can expect as they train for the season under the new head coach.
MSU sophomore Kendra Grant admitted the practice was tough, but something the players needed.
"It was different from last year, but that's good," Grant said. "We can compare the first practice to what he's wanting the rest of the season and what he's demanding. He likes to get it up and down. We need that and it was a good stepping stone into the season."
Scheafer called it a good first day of learning and teaching drills.
He's not interested in coaching effort, but wants to coach the Lady Bulldogs' mind.
"We don't coach effort," Schaefer said. "Effort is a given here at Mississippi State."
The plan for the first practice was to introduce several drills. Those are drills that will be done every day MSU and the coaching staff instructed the players on how they should be done.
Schaefer understands it may take a couple of weeks for players to get used to the way he does things.
"It will be a big learning experience for them," Schaefer said. "That's something that's going to take a long time. It doesn't happen overnight. One thing we do know, if you do something 21 days in-a-row, it will become a habit, so we'll do these things every day, all day, and every year until it becomes a habit. The more that it becomes instinctive, then they are free to play and that's a key for us. That's what we're doing is teaching habits."
There were a couple of Lady Bulldogs that didn't participate or finish practice because of injury with one of those being former West Oktibbeha player Shamia Robinson, who hurt her knee.
Schaefer said it will be important having the complete team available as MSU moves forward.
"Until we get everybody out here and going every day, it's important for chemistry as well," Schaefer said.
The Lady Bulldogs get another opportunity for learning at 9 a.m. today when they get together for their second practice.
It may be fall break for MSU, but Schaefer said the squad can't afford to waste a moment on the court.
He said the Lady Bulldogs will take it day by day and when the season starts, it will be game by game.
"I don't think we can get too far ahead of ourselves," Schaefer said. "We've got to piece it together game by game. What we're instilling into these kids is really the program. This time next year it will be a different deal with these kids back. The only player we lose is Darriel (Gaynor), so we'll be sitting here having this same conversation and it will be a little bit different and for a good thing.
"In the meantime, while we're instilling and building the program, there are going to be a lot of tiny baby steps. There are going to be games where we'll talk about some baby steps we made that night, but that's part of it."
MSU hosts Shorter for an exhibition game on Nov. 2, then opens the regular season against Houston at home on Nov. 9. Both games are set for 7 p.m. tips.
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