“Training Time”

What do the numbers 3 and 21 mean to you?? To me, 3 is the amount of days until official practice begins while 21 symbolizes the number of days we are away from our first preseason game. How crazy is that??  Are you ready for another new season Vol Fans?

Similar questions referring to the perceived fresh start for each player surrounding this new season will be asked at today’s media day. However, I would argue that Friday is not the beginning to a fresh start for this team or each player. Six months after the end of last season and two months into our preseason workouts we have seen improvement in our players. Some more than others. In addition, impressions have been made. Some good, some not so good.  Is there time to change these impressions? Sure it’s only October. Hopefully as our guys evaluate the work they put in the past six months they won’t have any regrets. For those who are determined to be great, there is no offseason. That term, “offseason” should be changed to “training season.” This is the time when players have the opportunity to make the most improvements to their game. Although our coaching staff cannot work with them in the off season, they are able to work with our strength and agility staff and have a much lighter class schedule which enables them to spend a lot more time in the gym.

Unfortunately, the fact that we live in a society which places a huge need for instant satisfaction or rewards on everything we do makes it difficult at times for our guys to bust their butts in the beautiful days of June the same way they do once official practice starts in October. However, that’s normal. If you have a job that gives you a bonus at the end of the quarter for meeting your sales goals, you may find yourself in a similar position. Do you work with more urgency during the last month of the quarter or the first month? Wouldn’t be easier and less stressful if we just consistently gave our best effort regardless of the job or the time of year? But many don’t. Instead that awful thing called procrastination seeps into our heads. I know my hand is raised in guilt.

However no matter your job, each day we have the option to fulfill our responsibilities and or improve. The decisions we make in the business world or on the basketball court ultimately affect our self wealth.  Each day our guys worked out during this training period or did well in class they put a little “money” in their personal basketball savings account. The days they didn’t work out or didn’t do well in class, no money was put in. Or, if something negative was done, some guys may have even lost a little “money.” Just like a savings account, the guys that worked hard and began depositing money in June have gained interest and improved their skills.  On the other hand some guys have trained harder and more often trying to catch up over the last couple months of preseason. Have they done enough?

Regardless, Friday isn’t a fresh start. That fresh start began six months ago. The official start of the season is the final stretch for our guys to deposit work into their basketball savings account. Intensity is raised. Competition and intensity will be extreme as our guys prepare to finally cash in and reap the only rewards that matter to them with our first game on the horizon- Winning and playing time.

Have a great day Vol fans!!

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About Mark Pancratz's Blog

A native of Schaumburg, Ill., Mark Pancratz played Division I basketball at UW-Milwaukee, earning his degree in marketing and finance. He joined Tennessee's staff in 2006 as a graduate assistant, earning his master's degree in sports management later that year. Serving as a G.A., director of video scouting and assistant to the head coach, Pancratz was an integral part of Tennessee's six-consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. At 26, Pancratz boasts an impressive 18 games of NCAA Tournament experience as a player and/or administrative staff member. He is a member of the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and voted one of the 100 Legends of Illinois High School Basketball. Pancratz resides in Knoxville and is married to the former Brooke Waddell.
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