Cats respond well Wednesday with good focus, energy

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Following its first practice of the season Tuesday night, Matthew Mitchell was anxious how his team would respond with such limited recovery time before Wednesday morning's practice. Afterwards the head coach, who is entering his 10 season at Kentucky, was pleased with the results and the focus the players showed. 

"We had a good practice," Mitchell said. "It was a tough turnaround for them because we lifted this morning and then came out for a good practice. I think we got some things accomplished this morning and the players bounced back well and worked hard. You know, it was a tough circumstance for them to be in but I thought that handled it well." 

One thing that Mitchell and his staff has stressed to the team early this preseason is the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity in the gym to get better. To increase the emphasis on that, the staff has a short film study before every practice to highlight high-effort plays from drills and show certain ways to improve in other drills. Mitchell says that is part of the player development philosophy at Kentucky. 

"We want to just try to make sure that our players have the ability to learn something every day," Mitchell said. "All of us improve if we have that kind of mindset that we are trying to learn and get better. There are so many little details the players can really improve in, but you need to show them. I don't know that there will ever be a day where we don't give them some type of teaching clip before practice and just making sure that video is available to them. The coaches work really hard to find those examples so they can learn and get better. It's part of our overall philosophy on player development. They need to see themselves doing it the right way or whatever needs to be corrected needs to be shown to them." 

The Wildcats will have over a day to recover as the team will not hit the practice floor again until Thursday afternoon. Mitchell said retention of what has been installed offensively and mental focus will be crucial in Thursday's practice. 

"We just talked to them in the circle there at the end to make sure that they go back and review things. We will send them some video clips out for them to watch and just trying to make sure for these first two days that we have done some drills that we did in September and making sure those are done very precisely and with great enthusiasm and effort. That way we can move onto some things. There are so many things that we have to install and get going. It is important for them to recover the rest of this day and then be mentally prepared tomorrow night."