A Leg Up On The Competition

1 decade 11 months 2 days ago Monday, November 12 2007 Nov 12, 2007 Monday, November 12, 2007 1:52:32 AM CST November 12, 2007 in Sports

Tiger basketball is going more than 5,000 years in the past to help the team this season. They're working with a new exercise and fitness program, and it's not just their muscles getting a workout.

The motto of the Mizzou basketball team is fast forward, that means constant movement and action. But this season the team is kicking its shoes off and doing something different.

"Calm down, relax myself, and breathe calmly and slow," Missouri senior guard Stefhon Hannah said.

Coach Heightmeyer, the director of nutrition, is teaching the team yoga.

"She's a yoga expert to take the guys through yoga. Work on their flexibility, a little bit of relaxation stuff," said David Deets, Missouri's strength and conditioning coach.

The Tigers hope the workout will give them a leg up on the competition.

"For sports it's a different yoga than it is for the normal person, this is more sports-oriented yoga," Deets said.

A yoga workout doesn't just test the Tigers brawn, but also the muscle between their shoulders.

"It's teaching you how to relax. A lot of times people might be dealing with some problems or something," Hannah said.

"In the weight room, everything you do is tightening. This is lengthening and you're relaxing. They like that aspect of it, especially for the longer guys," Deets said.

Yoga is defined as bringing together parts to create a union or balance of a body's mind and spirit. Pro athletes started using it about 10 years ago.

"It's difficult for them because it's something that they're not used to but at the same time they like it because they know guys at the NBA level are doing it," Deets said.

"It calms you down, you only think about the good times, not any of the bad," Hannah said.

They do positions like " the warrior" that serve to help them dunk better.

"The more flexible they are, the more they're able to run up and down the court faster, not be as sore. It helps with the soreness," Deets said.

Coach Deets isn't afraid to try new things, but yoga is about as cutting edge as the Tigers are willing to go.

"What's next, I'm not going to have them do ballet. They won't let me do that to them. I think this is as far as they'll let me go," Deets said.

Coach Deets said when it comes to yoga skills, Vidas Volkus is the most skilled. J.T. Tiller and Demarre Carroll were wobbling a bit and Deets said they need to work on their flexibility.

The Tigers plan on doing yoga workouts at least once a week all season.

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