Today's Tulsa Shock practice was no practice in the traditional sense, but rather a mental practice of film, film and more film. In fact, over two hours of film that usurped the regularly scheduled running, jumping, shooting drills and more.
"I think Coach said it best, sometimes it's not about coming out here, getting on the court and actually going through drills and a lot of that stuff," Sheryl Swoopes said. "Sometimes a mental practice is better than actually coming out here on the floor. We were in there for a couple of hours and I can honestly say that the film session we had today, we needed it."
The team went over the first 30 minutes of the game. A first half that saw the Shock up by 15. And a third quarter in which Tulsa turned over both the ball and the game to the Seattle Storm.
"It's frustrating to be losing, but at the same time I feel we're building and I think the players are feeling how we're building," assistant coach Teresa Edwards said. "I think we just have to remain optimistic about everything. We have to keep building, we have to take one game at a time and I think we're there. We're right where we need to be, I just wish we had a couple more W's."
The benefits of a day of tape don't go unnoticed by the vet who said she can't remember the last two-hour film session she sat through but was cognizant of the potential rewards.
"You know, lots of times when coaches come to you and they tell you what you're doing or what you're not doing you don't believe it," Swoopes said. "Sometimes you just think 'they're just saying that or it couldn't have been that bad, I didn't do this or I didn't do that'. When you go and you sit and actually see it for yourself; like they said the tape doesn't lie, then hopefully that will sit with players mentally and it'll help prepare them for the game tomorrow."
Fresh off a workout of the mind, it's also a relaxation for the body in a week with three home games in five days.
"Coach thought it would be better if we just take a look at ourselves, see where we made our mistakes from yesterday, which was good," Edwards said. "Just a film session, hopefully and give the girls a little break on their bodies because we've got an early game tomorrow."
One such woman that might be looking for a break, though she'd never tell you as much, is rookie Kayla Pedersen. Pedersen is playing complete and nearly-complete games on the regular, including 38 minutes in yesterday's loss to Seattle. She's averaging over 31 minutes, 11 points, five rebounds, three assists per game with a +13 efficiency rating through her first seven contests in the W.
"You've got Kayla Pedersen who's playing huge minutes," Swoopes noted. "Yeah, she's young but at some point her body is going to get tired so it gives us a little extra day to rest physically"
"I'm used to that at Stanford," Pedersen said of her extensive minutes. "I played full games at Stanford a lot, so I think stamina wise I'm used to it. Did I expect it? Not necessarily, but I think it's awesome and it's obviously what the coach sees that this team needs so that's what I'll do for this team."
But Pedersen herself is ready, willing and able to play and play some more, according to her.
"When we finally get over that hump I think we're going to show that we're a really good team and we are working hard and that everything's paying off," Pedersen said. "I just carry that winner's mentality everywhere. I think it's more of a fighter's mentality - whatever the outcome is, that's what it is. But I see the light and that keeps me really hopeful."
The woman with the self proclaimed "fighter's mentality" is ready for the the next bout - an 11:30 a.m. date with the New York Liberty.