One thing that all coaches can agree on leading up to the season is the importance of developing a mental and physical toughness among players in their program. However, opinions vary drastically when you start to break down how different staffs do it.
Some programs believe in developing that toughness with long practices that force players to push through being hot, tired, and uncomfortable at times. There are others believe in keeping practice short, utilizing an uptempo approach to both condition and get a ton of reps.
It will come as no surprise to most that Mike Gundy is in that second camp, and those of you at the AFCA this past January may recall him talking about how he and his staff approach developing toughness in players while practicing shorter and lighter than most. Oklahoma State players are never on the practice field longer than an hour and 45 minutes.
Following a recent practice, Gundy (and his glorious mullet) gave some insight to CBS Sports into why he and his staff believe so strongly in practicing shorter and lighter, and how science is on their side.
“This is clearly the better way,” Gundy opens by saying. “Science proves it. We used to concern ourselves whether it was hot enough, fluid loss, fatigue, soft tissue damage due to being dehydrated, and those numbers are through the roof when you’re in hot practices and you’re on the field too long, burning too much fluid that you can’t get back in your body, much less the mental aspect of it.”
Gundy then alludes to the fact that they weigh in players before and after practices to make sure players aren’t losing too much water weight, something a good handful of us that played in the last decade or so can also probably remember doing.
“We’re thrilled with the weather. These guys are getting a lot of work, and we’ve held our weights. In most cases we’re at less than 1.5% body weight loss, so were in great shape.”