"We are currently doing three-a-days. We go at 6:30 in the morning. We run for an hour on the track, doing a series of 800's, 400's and 200's. The morning session is more of a technical session where they work with the ball, but it is obviously still fitness related as well, since it is pre-season. The night session is two hours but it's all tactical. They may not be working as hard physically, but we are making them think a little more."
During this morning's practice schedule, you did a new drill, but you did it early in the practice. Was that done at that time so that they wouldn't be as tired and could be more efficient with it?
"That's right. And that's a big thing because mentally they will start to switch off if they are exhausted. Since it was something that we had never done before, we wanted to give them the opportunity to be successful. They actually did the drill quite well"
There was a drill (see video clip 2 below) where your girls kicked the ball while running in a circle area. Was that more to develop conditioning while also developing skill with the ball?
"Yes. The reason we introduce the ball is to take their mind off the fact that they are running all the time. That way, they concentrate on the ball as well. Obviously, the game is 90 minutes long, so when they are very tired they still need to have excellent skill and good touches on the ball. That drill encourages that. The more tired they are, the more likely they are going to make mental mistakes, so we always try to put the ball at their feet while they are tired."
Overall, did your players come back in good condition?
"Yes, we were very impressed with them. I think we were in better shape than we have been in the past."
Did they have some kind of programs that they did during the summer that got them in shape?
"Some of the girls played in the W league, which is the women's summer league. But most of them probably just worked out by themselves, maybe went back and played a little bit with their old clubs. They are fairly dedicated."
Have you had a chance to form an impression about your signees?
"I think that they are all doing very well. The two Challenge (Club) girls, Jennifer Turpin and Kevyn Shelledy, are doing exceptionally well. They are doing a magnificent job. They look like they are seasoned college players. So, they are going to have an immediate impact. Everyone else is doing great, although there is going to be a period of transition for them to get into the flow of things because the game is much quicker and more physical in the SEC. So, it's going to take them a little time to adjust. But the early signs are great."
Freshman signee Brandi Parker from Vicksburg, Mississippi, had ice on her knee. Has she not been able to practice?
"No, she hasn't been cleared to play yet. She is still going to physical therapy twice a day trying to get ready. We are still waiting for the doctor to clear her. We're not sure when that will be."
Video clips from Friday's soccer practice.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the source for Mississippi State sports on TheInsiders.com sports network on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.