Just because the No. 5 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) Lady Warriors snack on fun-sized Snickers during halftime doesn’t mean they’re not focused on the job at hand.
It's just part of the team’s halftime routine, which also includes recharging by digging into snack bags of fresh fruit and sipping Gatorade, according to coach Corey Barrett. There's no point in changing the routine now.
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In his first season as coach, Barrett credits consistency in the weight room for keeping his players healthy, strong and able to compete against bigger competition. He says his team is undersized compared to other elite squads.
At 6-foot-1, junior forward Brandy Alley is the team’s tallest player, and the Warriors have several 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-7 guards.
The Lady Warriors may be on the small side, but they’re surely big on wins — 28, in fact. Fresh off a 72-43 blowout of Blackman in the District 7-AAA championship game, consider the team up to the challenge of adding to its collection of state championships (2007, 2010 and 2012).
Below, Barrett shares what’s helped Riverdale stay in the game.
Tell us about the team’s in-season weight training.
Barrett: We lift two days a week. We won’t lift on game days, but lift the day before or after depending on our schedule. We’re always attempting to get stronger. The day before a game we may back off on weight and do higher reps or circuit train for 20-25 minutes to get the heart rate up. We do a lot of explosive movements and Olympic lifts — hang clean, push press, squats, box jumps and bench press. It’s a total body workout.
What benefit have your athletes experienced as a result of in-season weights?
A lot of teams quit lifting or don’t make it a priority throughout the season, but it’s vital for us to stay healthy and for our durability. We’re undersized for an elite high school team, so we’ve got to be very physical and be able to absorb contact.
What’s another consistent part of the team’s training?
We do an ab workout at least one day a week for 8-10 minutes. The majority is mostly bodyweight — planks, leg raises, crunches and bodyweight squat holds.
Outside of the weight room, tell us about one of your most intense drills.
A couple days before or the day after a game, players perform an extensive finishing workout with the ball for 20-30 minutes. One of the drills includes a defensive slide while holding a basketball. We’ll slide lane line to lane line with the ball. When you get to one lane line, jump as high as you can. Then slide to the other lane line. We do that for a minute as a finisher.