When South Arkansas Community College’s men’s basketball team takes the court on Jan. 8 at Arkansas-Cossatot, it will have been exactly one month since the Stars last played.
The layoff has been even longer for the women’s team, who last played on Nov. 22.
So what happens with so much downtime in the middle of the season?
For Nate Davis, the coach for both the men’s and women’s programs at SouthArk, staying in shape and accountability from the teams to make sure everyone was on the right track were crucial.
“I gave both teams about a week off,” Davis said. “During that time, players had power conditioning and body weight training to do. They were required to send videos of their workouts in our group message to hold everyone accountable. They were also required to continue getting shots up when they could.”
Conditioning has also been a focal point in practices.
“We have been starting practice with conditioning (after stretching) to get our blood flowing,” Davis said. “It has been a big help in getting them ready for the day. We’ve been brushing up on defense and we’re continuing to get a lot of shots up.”
With such a big gap between games, an obvious question is could the Stars potentially add some games or possibly play in a tournament to avoid this scenario again, but Davis said it’s not as simple as it would seem.
“Scheduling late December games can be difficult,” Davis said. “Other institutions have their players going on break early after finals and it’s just hard to get together. We would not be opposed to looking into it in the future if given an opportunity.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams got out of the gates quickly.
The men’s team is 8-0 and has been ranked in the Division II poll a couple of times during the season. As of the Dec. 13 poll, they were not ranked, but receiving votes.
The women’s team is also unbeaten at 4-0.
Coaches can get concerned when their teams have enough time off between games to lose their timing and rhythm, but Davis said other schools are in the same boat.
“I’m not too concerned about the layoff,” Davis said. “A lot of schools are going through the same thing we are. We have used this time to brush up on things and become a closer unit.”
For the coach himself, the layoff not only allowed him to evaluate his teams, but also get out on the recruiting trail.
“This down time was good for me,” Davis said. “I was able to spend some time with family. It was also good to be able to get out and do some recruiting. This fall was hard for me to get out and do a lot of recruiting but this short break has been utilized for that. Being able to watch film on ourselves has also helped us in what we have been harping on during the layoff. We’re excited to get back on the floor and compete.”