Mind Over Matter Pushed on Day 2 of Boot Camp

Aug. 28, 2012

Related Feature:
• Monday (Aug. 27) - 'Dogs Start Week of Boot Camp with Army ROTC

By Stephen Trembley

FRESNO, Calif. --- On day two of the Fresno State men's basketball team's week-long boot camp with the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), the Bulldogs turned to their inner strength while completing two grueling relays that required seamless teamwork and trust to complete.

"We are all in this together," junior Jerry Brown said. "The ROTC is teaching us the same discipline in terms of working as a team, getting stronger, improving our conditioning and building unity that they are trained to do to fight for our country. It's a great opportunity for us, and helps our team get better."

Master Sergeant Donald Spock explained how the core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are crucial in building a cohesive unit. MSG Spock then turned over the leadership training to the Cadets, who took the team on a warm-up communication run around the track at Warmerdam Field.

After the warm-up, the Bulldogs then split into teams of two for a pair of extended teambuilding activities.

The first test was a 90-pound water jug relay where the partners alternated laps carrying the two 45-pound jugs for a total of 2640 meters (six laps). While their teammate was running a lap with the jugs, the partner did air squats for active recovery.

Senior Garrett Johnson built an early lead after the first lap and his teammate Aaron Anderson kept the strong pace going to power the duo to a first-place finish. The team of Robert Upshaw and Kevin Foster finished second followed by Tyler Johnson and Broderick Newbill. But for this training, it was most important that the teams communicated and picked up their fellow Bulldogs even after they crossed the finish line.

"As we work through this, it is about picking each other up every day," Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry said. "They have to keep pushing each other and know the expectations: you have to work hard and be able to push through the pain and that point where you feel like you just hit the wall."

In the second challenge, the same two-man teams completed a 1760-meter (four laps) buddy carry and exercise relay.

For 110 meters at a time, one partner carried the other - again alternating, but this time after the quarter of a lap - in a manner similar to helping a wounded solider on a battlefield.

After each quarter-lap segment, the team then rotated through a series of push-ups, sit-ups, squat jumps or stationary push-up to jumps at stations around the track.

Johnson and Anderson once again completed the task first, with Tanner Giddings and Jerry Brown in second and the team of Blake Williams and Brad Ely in third.

Throughout the taxing endurance and trust-based challenge, the communication between teammates was nearly constant and again featured the 'Dogs going to their teammates sides as they dug deep to finish.

"We saw a lot of guys push through the mental aspect of it today," Terry said. "They found another level they could go to. I think a lot of guys got out of their comfort level and really pushed through it. This was about character and confidence building so that they can push through it when it really gets tough."

The five-day camp is just one part of the Bulldogs' preseason conditioning. Shortly after completing today's boot camp, the team went hard in the weight room.

With six returners and the addition of at least eight newcomers, Fresno State is building every day toward the 2012-13 season that starts on the road at Texas on Nov. 9. The 'Dogs home opener is a week later against Pacific on Nov. 16.

For fans looking to secure their 2012-13 men's basketball season tickets and support Fresno State student-athlete scholarships, packages are available starting at $99 for Level 7 season tickets (plus a minimum donation of $50) through The Bulldog Foundation at 559-278-7160.

To view all pricing and priority seating locations, please visit: www.bulldogfoundation.org.

To learn more about the Fresno State Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion, please visit: http://www.fresnostate.edu/ROTC/home/index.html.

"Discover Fresno State Athletics!" - Remember to vote every day for Fresno State at www.ESPN.com/CollegeColorsDay and wear your Bulldog red on Aug. 31 for College Colors Day.