- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

After 13 seasons in the WNBA, Dominique Canty thought she’d seen it all. That is until last week, when a workout with her new team, the Washington Mystics, included a day on the Potomac with a Navy SEAL.

“It was pretty scary in the beginning,” Canty said. “I saw a Navy SEAL, then I saw the water, and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not right.’ But once we got going, he taught us to pay attention to detail, to communicate, to be there for each other, and not leave anybody behind.”

Canty described the experience as an exercise in togetherness, just like a family — except for the part where they had to carry boats above their heads. It was exactly what coach Trudi Lacey had in mind.

“In my other life, I was a life coach, but I also coach basketball,” Lacey said. “I want to win games, but it’s important for me as a coach to develop them as total people. Part of what I want to do is build life skills that they can use to win games, and win at life.”

Lacey said her players were apprehensive about the training at first, but ultimately had fun with it.

“It gave me a lot of feedback about them,” she said. “One intangible I thought was missing from us last year was mental toughness. Even though I thought we played tough, I wanted to get them out of their comfort zone and see how they handled that, and how they handled adversity.”

Second-year point guard Jasmine Thomas found the experience especially enlightening.

“I did what I could,” Thomas said with a smile. Thomas played with a Euro League team in the Czech Republic during the offseason and had yet to have her first practice with her Mystics teammates before the Navy SEAL training day.

“Most of it was conditioning-based stuff, running and push-ups. The whole team had to be successful in order to finish and move on to the next thing,” Thomas said. “The most challenging part was the rowing, because a lot of us were spinning in circles. But once we got it together and worked as a team, we understood the point of it.”

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