With a few minutes left in practice, you hear the sound of your coach's whistle. You know what's coming—a brutal end-of-practice conditioning session. You might have some, let's say, negative feelings toward this part of your practice, but your coach might be on to something.
As reported by the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star, Connie Yori, head coach for the University of Nebraska women's basketball team, has her athletes perform what she calls the Husker Toughness Test, a drill designed to measure and improve conditioning. More importantly, it builds the mental toughness her team needs to perform well late in games.
The results have paid off. The Lady Huskers have come from behind several times this season, even eliminating double-digit deficits. Coach Yori and strength coach Rusty Ruffcorn attribute their ability to succeed in difficult situations, not necessarily to their skills, but to their mental toughness. "They're tougher than nails," Ruffcorn said. "They've been able to do things that are damn impressive."
Conditioning like this stinks, and some Huskers agree with this sentiment. But next time your coach has you line up for a conditioning drill, approach it as an opportunity to get better, not something you dread. Yori says, "Our kids don't like it, but I know that they know it gets them ready. It's not easy, but it's reasonable."
To see if you're up to Coach Yori's standards, take the Husker Toughness Test. It's designed for basketball players, but you can give it a try no matter what sport you play—but only if you're up for a challenge.
Husker Toughness Test
- Line up on the baseline of a basketball court.
- Sprint to the opposite baseline, turn and sprint back to the starting baseline.
- Repeat three times, completing the set in less than 38 seconds.
Sets: 12x1 with 90 seconds of rest between sets and three minutes of rest after six Sprints.
Looking for another tough workout finisher? Try Todd Durkin's Who Dat? Challenge, demonstrated above.
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