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Surviving the Trials of March Madness

Mental toughness, rigorous training, and other tips from four of the country’s most successful college hoops coaches

Frank Martin Kansas State NCAA TOURNAMENT RECORD: 4-2

EMBRACE THE GAME Ranked No. 3 in the nation in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, Kansas State jumped out to a 9-1 start this year. Their only loss in that early-season stretch came against last year’s national champions, the Duke Blue Devils. With top competition throughout the Big 12 conference, the Wildcats needed to play with a chip on their shoulders to hold their own. Led by senior guard (and NBA prospect) Jacob Pullen, they’ve done just that. Scott Greenawalt, the Kansas State strength and conditioning coach, makes everything a competition for Wildcats players—everything. “When I blow the whistle, we’ll compete to see who can get to a stretch faster,” he says. “When we do a warm-up lap around our football field before weights, no one wants to be last.” He and head coach Frank Martin try to instill that spirit once voluntary workouts begin in June. It spikes on Competition Fridays, when players push sleds, flip tires, and carry 100-pound sandbags in teambuilding contests. He says, “Every day, we’re trying to do something to be the best.”

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