Before last season Shaka Smart and his VCU Rams made a visit to former Navy SEAL John McGuire for three days of physical training exercises. Smart’s players may be more than a decade younger than him but he’s in just as good a shape, if not better. We saw some evidence of that when he participated in the iron man drill at the 2011 Final Four.
We have further proof as Smart enjoyed the results of McGuire’s training enough to go back and take the full two-week course.
Friday was graduation day after 10 weekday mornings of being rousted at 4:45 a.m. by an alarm clock so he could be there for the 5:45 start of the workouts. Smart said that once he got accustomed to being up before sunrise, he found the workout experience rewarding.
“This was fun — very positive for me,” Smart said.
“It pushes you past your comfort level,” he said. “If you can get comfortable being uncomfortable, then you can push yourself to get better. That’s what we want in our players. That’s what we want in our program. It’s part of the foundation for everything we do.”
Now that he’s had two weeks of solid workouts, Smart aims to parlay his SEAL TEAM experience into a regular personal fitness regimen.
Shaka and the Rams will be back to train with McGuire once again later this year to get ready for their first season as members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. It remains to be seen how VCU stacks up with the other squads in terms of talent but there may not be a team in better shape, and that includes the head coach.