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Old 12-07-2011, 10:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Alex McKechnie

The Raptors hired McKechnie over the summer. He spent the last eight years with the Los Angeles Lakers, who chose not to renew his contract among a series of money-saving moves during the lockout. Give the Raptors some credit: They spent money where they could during the labour dispute.

Strength and conditioning coaches, of course, don't do much to get fans worked up. But McKechnie could prove to be important this year, more than in others.

The compressed schedule, released on Tuesday evening, will have teams play an average of 3.9 games per week, up from 3.5 in a normal sea-son.

McKechnie is known for his Core-X program, which uses elastics and resistance to increase strength and flexibility. This year's schedule creates different priorities. Flexibility will be a major focus for the Raptors. Once the games start, McKechnie knows complicated issues will arise.

"Under normal circumstances, it's a major toll," McKechnie said, when asked how hard it would be for stars to play 35-plus minutes a night for three games in a row. "The key is managing the time, managing the minutes that players play, particularly managing our practice time, and that's really important at this point. Because players are going to play minutes, and we expect them to play minutes. However, will they run them hard in practice the next day? Probably not."

McKechnie is trying to determine what kind of shape the players are in after a longer-than-normal off-sea-son. He's developed baseline testing to figure out where to start with each player. Given his methods, that will be important for the Raptors. McK-echnie said each player will have a kit in his locker with a personalized plan for preventing injuries, especially recurring ones.
Raptors aim to get stronger with new coach
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