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Greg King eventually came around to the idea. That doesn't mean he's always thrilled with it.
"I still don't like getting up at 3:15 every morning," King said.
King, the baseball coach at Thomas, holds his practices from 5:30 to 7:30 — that's a.m., not early evening.
"Years ago, when we got the field house (at Thomas), we had revolving time slots," King said. "We could be practicing 9:30 to 11:30 one day, and 3:30 to 5:30 the next."
As the school added more teams, King said, time at the field house got more crowded. So the baseball team might be practicing, but the basketball team might be using one of the courts. So the baseball team figured, why not practice early in the morning, and we can have the whole field house to ourselves?
"When we first started, I said, 'If I (have to) practice at 5:30 in the morning, I'm probably done coaching,'" King recalled. "Then I got to thinking about it. I said, 'What the heck? Let's try it.' It just seemed there were more benefits than not doing it."
The Terriers have 42 players listed on their roster, so the extra space is especially useful. King might have some players work on the weights, and others doing sprint work — things that wouldn't be possible if practice were in the afternoon.
"We don't want everybody just doing busy stuff, but to a certain extent it is," King said. "We just do all kinds of different drills."
Believe it or not, King has also heard that the early practice times makes the players better students. Instead of practicing until 7:30 at night and then being too tired to study afterward, the players know they have their day free every day after 7:30 in the morning.
"I actually got phone calls from some parents saying it was the best thing that could have happened," King said. "Their grade point average actually increased. They didn't have to disrupt their studying to go to practice."
King says the practice setup is also good for the players who might need a year before they can be ready to make a contribution at the college level.
"If they went to another program, they'd probably be cut," King said. "We give them a chance to develop."