Kansas strength coach Zac Woodfin knows there are no short cuts in building the kind of explosive power needed to be competitive in the Big 12.
It’s why he’s transforming the Jayhawks’ confidence as much as their strength and power after his arrival earlier this season from Southern Mississippi.
“You have to believe not only in yourself but in your team’s ability to have success and to win championships,” Woodfin told the Lawrence Journal-World’s Tom Keegan. “If you truly, truly believe that you can be great and your team can be great that will set the stage for the movement, for the nutrition, for the recovery. If you believe you can be great then you are going to fight to get to greatness. You’re going to do all the little things that greatness requires.”
Creating a mindset of strength
Several Kansas players told Keegan that Woodfin’s biggest change has been emphasizing their stretching while moving.
After early struggles getting accustomed to Woodfin’s demands, players are more supple and adaptable.
“Once you get through that first week or two of it, getting out of those pains, where you can really set in and get deep and really involve yourself in the stretch, now it’s a complete difference in how you feel leaving the weight room, how you feel at home sitting in bed,” Kansas junior center/guard Jacob Bragg said. “I don’t feel sore anymore. I don’t have any back pain anymore. I’m sure a lot of guys are like that, a lot less daily aches and pains. He takes the time and his staff is dedicated to preventing injuries and staying healthy.”
Treating players like thoroughbreds
The Jayhawks have won no more three games in any of the last six seasons. They are a combined 14-70 during that period, showing how hard the rebuilding project will be.
Nine consecutive losing seasons will deflate most rebuilding plans.
Despite those struggles, Woodfin’s analogy of building the program shows his confidence.
“We want to show up to every Saturday refreshed,” he said. “We want to work hard during the week but we want to have the right balance where we show up for the game ready to play at your highest level and highest level means your brain is sharp, crisp, and your body is rested. Like the Kentucky Derby, those horses show up ready to race. They train them hard, but as they’re getting ready for the Derby they’re massaging them. They’re petting them.”
“We want to go in ready. If we’re just beat to a pulp mentally and physically we’ll never perform to our highest potential. That’s recovery.”
His work will go a long way to determining how much improvement David Beaty’s team will show in his third season as coach.