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Pull your team in the same direction

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in Leaders & Managers,Team Building

Team-building exercises seem to be falling out of favor, yet several college basketball programs have turned to Navy SEAL-inspired regimens they hope will steel players for a run at the Final Four.

Highlights:

•  VCU players ran drills, pulled ropes and plunged into Virginia’s James River for 90-minute bursts of exercise over three days. Workouts included bear crawls and push-ups.

“I’m not a strength coach,” says coach Shaka Smart. “I just put the squeeze on people and show them emotionally, physically, mentally we can all do 80% more than we think.”

•  Marquette coach Buzz Williams loaded his team onto yellow school buses for three days at Camp MiniKani outside Milwaukee for training at elementary school gyms and lodging in ­electronics-free cabins.

•  Before dawn, coach Fran Dunphy squeezed players into sleek rowing shells with the Temple crew team out on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, where they learned some of the exquisite communication, timing and full-body burst of effort needed to win races.

Sophomore guard Aaron Brown tweeted, “I respect them dudes because it wouldn’t be me out there every morning.”

— Adapted from “Navy SEALing the Deal,” Dan Greene, Sports Illustrated.

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