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Dontay Hampton and Keegan Bell hopped just high enough to touch the backboard, landed and jogged to mid-court before practice Sunday.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball players and their teammates also endured 10 minutes of active stretching which has become part of their daily routine.

Men's basketball athletic trainer MacKenzie McDonald suggested to coach John Shulman take a new approach, an energetic, to pre-practice activities.

"Mack has convinced me that we need to try something new," coach John Shulman said. "I just want to come out here and practice. I'm letting him, as our trainer, take over the first 15 minutes that he can do some stretching and movement and getting them a sweat.

"That leaves me a couple minutes with the guys on the floor so I can visit with them and be a normal human before killing them over the next two hours."

Instead of having the players standing still or laying down to stretch with bands, McDonald has introduced a series more movement-orientated drills that he puts the Mocs through on a daily basis.

"People are ready to go sooner and it's helped jump-star our practices," senior Jeremy Saffore said. "People are ready to go."

McDonald's proactive involvement has two benefits - hopefully. The first is to prevent injuries such as pulled hamstrings and groins, and to hasten the process of players getting up to full speed with their heart-rate and blood flow early in practice.

"We're trying to have the guys as ready as we can once the whistle blows at the beginning of practice," McDonald said. "They used to come out, sit on the floor, stretch and that didn't prep them for being able to move and juke and be agile and jump.

"We're increasing the efficiency of practice."

And they're possibly preventing serious and nagging injuries.

"There's a link between getting properly warmed up and a decrease in injuries," McDonald said. "Hopefully I'm looking at fewer hamstring strains and fewer groin pulls and we don't have people sitting out."

UTC players combined to miss 60 games last season due to injury.

"I understand injuries a part of it, so if we can avoid some injuries by doing different things on the front end, that's a good thing," Shulman said. "Hopefully it's good for us."

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