GoBlueRaiders.com THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

Blue Raiders Watch Blue Sunrise

September 26, 2001 · MT Media Relations
The Blue Raider basketball team has taken on a new approach for the upcoming season.

The team is involved in Blue Sunrise workouts designed to whip the team into shape both physically and mentally with the opening of preseason camp only a couple of weeks away.

The Blue Sunrise workouts are voluntary, but every team member has chosen to participate in the grueling program. Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Cedric Walthaw is conducting the team's 6 AM workouts three days a week, and, according to Walthaw, it didn't take long to begin realizing the goals behind the idea.

"The whole idea is to find out who the leaders are," said Walthaw. "We wanted to know who would push through when they were tired and who was willing to step up. We wanted to know which players had the discipline that we were looking for. We want to develop mental toughness in these players and find out which guys were the ones we could count on when it came down to crunch time."

Head Coach Randy Wiel agrees with Walthaw's assessment.

He said, "These workouts have been high intensity and we know that we'll be able to find out who our leaders are. Blue Sunrise should prepare us for the tough competition that lies ahead of us."

Aside from the individual benefits of the program, the team concept is the biggest winner of all. Walthaw said that Blue Sunrise was designed to help build team chemistry by presenting the players with a difficult challenge to show that, together, they could overcome obstacles.

The idea for the workouts initially came from the Blue Raider football team, which undertakes Blue Dawn each spring. The physical activities are not the same but the purpose behind them is.

Walthaw said, "The workouts really worked well for football. It gave them discipline and helped them know how to work hard and what was expected of them."

Even though the team has only been through two workouts so far, Walthaw indicated that the team's attitude toward Blue Sunrise was extremely positive so far.

"We have a couple of guys that have never been through anything quite like this, so they questioned why we were doing this, but now that they can see that the drills were basketball related then the questions have kind of gone away."

Wiel added, "The workouts have been very positive so far. The team is really responding to what we're trying to do. The workouts are designed to get tougher as the program goes along, so the team's intensity level should get higher as we approach the beginning of fall practice."

The team goes through seven stations of physical workouts each morning, spending five minutes at each. The team sprints from station to station, getting only a minute to recover between drills. The regimen also includes time for stretching and cool down.

Walthaw said, "The team has kind of surprised me in how well they are taking to everything. We start at 6 AM and I require them to be there at 5:45. It's a hard thing to be able to get up that early when you're not used to it. We've only had one guy miss and he's been disciplined for it, so we don't expect too many more problems."

The workouts are also designed to let each player know where they stand in the workouts. Blue headbands are given to the players that have completed their workouts in an excellent fashion. White is the color assigned to those with average workouts, and black headbands are given to those players who exhibited a poor effort.

"It's a motivational tool for us," Walthaw commented. "We hope that those guys that aren't wearing the blue each morning are working hard to get there. We want them all to wear a blue headband, but its important for each player to know where he stands."

According to Walthaw, one of the program's goals has already been accomplished.

"Everybody is coming in and busting their butt to try and get better. We can't ask for more than that."

The first official day for basketball practice is Saturday, Oct. 13. The Blue Raiders will begin their team workouts at that time in preparation for their opening game on Nov. 17 at home against Bryan College.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.