Questionable calls, bad bounces, untimely injuries—sometimes in the game of basketball, you've got to deal with the hand that's dealt you.
Fortunately for the six-time national champion DeMatha Catholic High School basketball team, the players are trained to expect the unexpected, so when the game plan goes awry, the Stags continue to attack with relentless intensity.
"We just want to keep coming [at you]," says head coach Michael Jones.
As seen in Eastbay's Preparation Nation series, Jones deals his team a Card Toss Drill during pre-season practices. The ultimate goal of the drill is to build the mental toughness the player will need to capture a seventh national title.
Card Toss Drill
Two players hold 10 playing cards apiece while a third player sprints back and forth between them, attempting to snatch tossed cards out of midair. Once all the cards have been tossed, player 3 must count off and touch every card on the floor as quickly as possible.
Jones says, "It has a conditioning aspect to it. It prepares our guys and reinforces what they've heard from us in terms of keeping their feet moving. Lastly, it reinforces the whole relentless attitude."
An added bonus of the Card Toss Drill—it's fun for the players.
For Jones, the drill helps him stack the deck in an effort to develop that relentless, never-give-up mindset among his players. "There is no quit in a DeMatha Stag," Jones says.
See how other elite high school teams prepare at Eastbay's Preparation Nation.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock