After warming up, it’s over to the jump ropes for some intense cardio work. Then it’s on to additional running the length of the floor several times.
And nobody has touched a basketball yet.
Conditioning, getting a team in top physical condition, is perhaps the main goal Martin has for the 2012-13 edition of the Callaway Lady Cavaliers.
After finishing with a 2-19 record in 2010-11, Martin, a 1994 LaGrange High graduate and 1999 graduate of Savannah State, was hired after teaching and coaching at Troup High School.
Although the team didn’t have a winning record in his first season in 2011-12, the Lady Cavs more than doubled their wins over the previous year with a 5-17 record, including a 4-6 mark in Region 5-AA.
The Lady Cavaliers first win last season didn’t come until Jan. 18 against Temple by a score of 54-37, and they were nearly a .500 ballclub from there on out.
Now, with a year under his belt, the Callaway physical education teacher wants his team to win more games with a group of returning players and several new ones who will also have to deal with playing in Class AAA that will feature tougher competition among bigger schools.
Martin says more than anything, having a fit team to take the floor is paramount if there is to be any success.
“Last year we worked on fundamentals all the time,” Martin said. “Conditioning kind of lacked last year so my main focus this year is to be in shape the first game and be ready to play. We’re still going to work on fundamentals. We’ve got to be able to finish. Defense has to improve a lot. This year going into it, I expect us to be more of a team to begin with.”
Martin said when it comes to returning players, expectations are high.
“Latasha Anderson is the big girl in the middle,” Martin said.
Anderson, the 5-10 senior, is expected to patrol the lane and be the mainstay on rebounds and put backs.
Two guards are also returning to this year’s lineup including junior Tytiyuanna Gates and sophomore Monica Jackson.
One of the biggest challenges the team will face are a group of region foes unknown to the players and coaches due to the move to Region 4-AAA.
Those teams include Central-Carroll, Haralson County, Rockmart, Chapel Hill, Jackson (Atlanta), Douglass and Coretta Scott King.
Martin and boys head coach Terry Hayes both admit they know little about the other region teams and will have to examine the first scouting reports that come in once the season gets rolling on Dec. 7 when both boys and girls teams travel across the county to take on Troup.
“I would imagine a lot of teams coming from up north probably have a little size,” Martin said. “We’ll have to deal with that part. Hopefully we can out run them a little bit. I don’t really know we are stepping up from double A to triple A, so the school is getting a little bigger so they’ve got more athletes to choose from so our work may be cut out. We’ll just have to play hard and go get ‘em.”
With only a handful of returning players, Callaway will have to establish an identity and develop a style of play that Martin hopes will be a running team.
“Eventually, what I would like to be is a fast break, run, get the ball out and go team,” Martin said. “However, I don’t think we’re at that point yet where we can actually run, so we’ll have to slow it down some, but if we see the opportunity to run, I encourage them to go and that call will come from me on the sideline. A year or two from now, they’ll be able to decide on their own whether they’ll be able to push it or stop it.”
After its opening game against Troup Dec. 7, things don’t get much easier for the Lady Cavaliers as they host LaGrange the following night on Dec. 8.
Callaway opens its region schedule on Jan. 4 against Rockmart.