Feb. 14, 2012
VUCommodores.com returns with the third installment of Five for February with more behind-the-scenes access from the road. The Vanderbilt women's basketball team is playing five SEC road games in February for the first time in program history and we're giving fans a look at some aspects of the program they might not otherwise see during each trip.
February 11-12 at Georgia
While many Commodore fans spent Saturday morning focused on ESPN's College GameDay shooting live from Memorial Gym, the women's basketball team was hard at work in the practice gym preparing for its trip to Athens to take on the No. 21/20 Lady Bulldogs.
But film and practice didn't mean the Dores couldn't take a little time to enjoy the unique event. While several players were able to poke their heads in the gym during the show, the entire team was able to stop and pose on the set.
Then the Commodores headed to Athens, where we give you this installment's behind-the-scenes look.
Many early-arriving fans have noticed the Dores use a little bit more than the traditional stretching routine seen by most teams. Under the direction of strength coach Tasha Weddle, Vanderbilt can be seen using yoga mats, a foam roller and a lacrosse ball when they stretch.
Before practices, shoot arounds and games, Weddle takes the team through a routine of stretching and running designed to get the Commodores warm.
"Before a practice and shoot around, we do rolling on the foam roller and the lacrosse ball," Weddle explains. "That is to address trigger points to help the body work more efficiently."
Prior to a game, the team only uses the yoga mats during their pre-game routine, which happens about 55 minutes prior to the game and lasts for about ten minutes.
"We take our mats out because we want to get into a half-kneeling stance to do a hip flexor stretch," Weddle says. "What that does is open up the hip flexors and helps our glutes warm-up. So think better vertical jump, quickness and such."
Weddle explains that there is a very specific routine to the pre-game stretch.
"We always start with some kind of soft-tissue work," she says. "Then we go with opening the hip flexors and then we try to hit some ankle mobility, hip mobility and thoracic spine mobility. We always add in some squat movement pattern and lunge movement pattern and a lateral lunge movement pattern."
After stretching, the Commodores go through a set of running lines that involves several different types of jogs, runs and sprints, again designed to ramp the players up to game-ready.
"We're starting on the ground and come-up to a standing position, then once we're warmed-up we want to go into game speed," Weddle says. "We add in change-in-directon, starting and stopping, different directions of lateral movement, forward, backward and that kind of thing."
Weddle, who is full-time with women's basketball for the first time this season, was determined to have a set routine with the players.
"I wanted to have (the matt, roll and ball) at practice everyday," says Weddle. "Why not take advantage of everything we know to do. (The team) made a decision to take it all on the road with us. I think you will start to see other teams do it."
Take a look at the pre-game routine before the game at Georgia.
Of course this trip did not exactly end how the Commodores planned, falling to the Lady Bulldogs, 76-63.
Vanderbilt has two more road games remaining this season, they travel to Kentucky on Monday, February 20, before visiting LSU on Thursday, February 23. VUCommodores.com will on the road with them to bring you two more installments of Five for February.