Perhaps last week’s rain was a good thing for the Maumelle Hornets.
With games cancelled and not being able to practice outdoors, Maumelle Coach Barrett Davis used the time to make his team mentally tougher. The Hornets (6-10, 0-3 4A-4) have been plagued by errors and miscues, and Davis believes they just needed some conditioning drills and exercises to develop their mental awareness.
"I told them they only had two options," Davis said. "They could make up their mind to dig down deep and finish or quit. I also told them they couldn’t talk."
At the time they didn’t know it, but the Hornets had to perform 58 repetitions of every drill they did. Those included push-ups and running the basketball court. The 58 represented how many errors they made through last week. During the exercises, Davis noticed a change in the Hornets.
"After a while, they started to pull together as a team," he said. "At the end of the drills, I could see them smile and realize they can do this. When I gave them a new drill, they would have a smirk that said we can do this. It was not punishment but mental toughness."
Monday night, Maumelle lost to North Little Rock, 7-6, but Davis could see such a difference in the Hornets. For one thing, North Little Rock scored first. He said usually when that happens the flood gates open. Not this time, Maumelle took a 4-1 lead before North Little Rock fought its way back and tied the contest at 6-6 going into the bottom of the seventh. With the bases loaded, North Little Rock hit a bloop pop fly to win the contest.
"We played much better," Davis said. "We only had one error which is three less than we normally have. The game could have gone either way. I saw the guys play together and keep going. It was the proudest I’ve been of them. This is the team going into the season I thought I had."
Davis noticed more positive comments between the players. Instead of telling each other you need to do this or that, they complimented one another on the good things they did. He thinks that is because of the bonding from the drills last week.
He gets to see if the North Little Rock experience was a one-time thing or not. Last night, Maumelle had a conference game at Dardanelle, play Jacksonville Charter at home tonight as also host Little Rock Mills in a non-conference meeting Thursday. On Friday, they host Mena in another conference contest.