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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Building Varsity Team in Summer

The summer is an exciting time for basketball coaches, you get to work with a "new" team preparing for the coming season. For us, we have been playing for 3 weeks but have gotten to play a lot of basketball. We started the summer with-

8 girls who played regularly last year
2 girls who dressed but did not play for the varsity
1 new junior
1 new soph
1 new freshmen player

Since the beginning of the summer, we have added one more freshmen to the mix so we have 14 players playing with the varsity.

Too often it is easy for people to feel like things are decided and a player does not have a chance. Sabrina Clay is a soph with us who proves that false. Last year she was on the freshmen team. She never missed an open gym all spring and worked and improved- she appears destined to make the jump from freshmen team to varsity team- impressive.

We opened camp by telling the girls, summer is about working on three things:
1- Individual Skill Improvement- become a new & better player.
2- Team Basketball Development- develop and learn our offenses and defenses.
3- Team Chemistry Development- work to develop a sense of team.

This morning before we played at ND, we readdressed and reminded the players about these 3 things. (It should be noted when you stay in an un-airconditioned dorm room, you have a lot of time to organize thoughts.)

Individual Skill Development- Sadly, with our camp, working at our afternoon camps, and playing league/camp games, individual skill development takes a back seat at this time of year. Our players were told they should think about our games last weekend and this weekend. What are offensive situations you find yourself in? During the games, what did you wish you could do a little better? The players need to identify those things and work on them.

Team Basketball Development- I remember several summers ago, Amanda Gunther was going into her senior season. We were playing tough, tough teams at Stevenson in late June. Amanda was playing as a small #5 for us. After watching us play for a month, the light went on for me as a coach. I realized there were 2-3 plays we could score consistently using. Team development is not just the players learning to execute better, it is the coach learning what works for each team. Today I told the girls the great competition we have played the last two weekends shows not only our team weaknesses but also our team strengths. Quite simple we are beginning to find our team identity offensively and defensively.

Team Chemistry- I believe this is about developing trust in each other. Trust is at the bottom of team chemistry. Our players have developed trust seeing their teammates showing up for camp at 7:30am- they can be relied on. Trust is built playing tough teams and knowing you can count on your teammates to play at camps when tired. And bond is developed with non-basketball things. This weekend when 22 players have to work together to share 4 showers. This weekend each player having to carry their bags about 3/4 of mile to be picked up.

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