This also gives coaches a chance to see where his team is at fundamentally, and what areas of the game players may need to work on.
Wins and losses do not matter, but knowing the players are working hard during the off-season puts smiles on the faces of coaches.
The Ashville varsity girls have played games on the campus of Gadsden State, at Albertville, and at Hokes Bluff.
This past Tuesday, they finally had a chance to play at home.
Before Tuesday’s game against Springville, the Lady Bulldogs were 8-6.
“Our team has bonded,” Ashville coach Dale Beason said. “If you don’t do this during the summer, you get behind. It’s hard to catch up if you don’t do it.”
Beason said the state allows so many games a year you can do, and you just have to take advantage of it.
“It is a good team-building experience,” Beason said. “We try to get better and learn from our mistakes. It has been a real good summer for us.”
At Gadsden State every year, Ashville plays two games a day, three days in a row,
This year, it was June 13-15, and they went 4-2.
On the first day, they lost to Hokes Bluff, but defeated Pell City.
Day two saw the Lady Bulldogs defeat Etowah and Piedmont. Day three saw a win over Collinsville, but a loss to Hokes Bluff.
On a trip to Albertville, Ashville was 2-3 with wins over Susan Moore and Crossville, but losses to DAR, Randolph County and Albertville.
Last week, the Lady Bulldogs traveled to Hokes Bluff and won two-out-of-three games. They defeated Cherokee County twice, but lost to Piedmont.
The Ragland boys’ basketball team had a very successful season last year. Coach Andy Eden knows in order to have that same success, some players are going to have to step up and take the place of some graduating seniors.
“In order to be successful in any sport, a great deal of ‘off season’ work is required,” Eden said. “As a matter of fact, there doesn’t seem to be an ‘off season’ anymore.”
Eden said they are having a very good summer at Ragland as far as workouts go.
“Our athletes have been conditioning and getting in the weight room,” he said. “The summer play date we had at Victory Christian last week is an important part of our development for next year’s basketball team. With most of our athletes playing so many sports we don’t get to have a traditional spring training for basketball during the school year. So, we do a lot of our work in the summer.”
Speaking of the play date at Victory Christian last week, the Purple Devils won all three of the games they played by at least 20 points or more. They defeated Sumiton Christian first, then Jefferson Christian, and then the host Lions from Victory Christian.
“One of the things that has made our basketball team as good as it has been over the past couple of years has been our players are a very close-knit group,” Eden said. “Even when they are not in the gym together, they seem to constantly be playing basketball somewhere. Playing as a team has made us successful.”
Eden said overall, he was very pleased with last week’s games at Victory Christian.
“What I saw is that all of our returning players have made improvements,” Eden said. “In addition, I believe the players who are starting their first year with us are going to be contributors also. I was very pleased we were able to win all three games, but more importantly, I saw the areas we need to work on.”
Eden said he was pleased with the offensive side of the ball, but the defense is where they will win or lose games.
“That is an area I saw where we will have to work hard to get where we want to be,” Eden said. “Toward the end of last season, we were very good defensively. Last week, I could tell we were not as good on defense, and that comes from not playing in an organized team setting.So overall, I was pleased with our effort and hustle. We will need to play better defensively during the regular season to be competitive. We are hoping to have another good season next year, and make it back to the Regional Tournament at Jacksonville State University.”
Eden said he was pleased with the number of Ragland fans who showed up at the play date at Victory Christian,
“I don’t ever remember seeing that many fans at one of our summer games,” Eden said.
Springville coach Warren House said summer work is vital for the Lady Tiger program — especially this year.
“I go into this year the youngest team I have ever had,” House said. “On my varsity, I will only have three players with a lot of varsity experience under their belt. The rest of the team, 10 players, are all coming from the middle school team or the JV team. Because we are so young, I am using more play dates than I have in the past.”
Listed below are what House called positives of play dates.
• Players have to learn that the speed of the varsity game is a lot faster than the JV and middle school game.
• Players have to see how physical the varsity game will be.
• Players get to see where their game is in need of work.
• The team has a chance to bond and to see what each other can do. This helps in teamwork.
• Summer work also allows House to get the girls in the gym to work on fundamentals. “This is important because many players currently only touch the basketball during the season,” House said. “Any extra work players can get is a bonus.”
• It allows the players to get to know House better and vice versa.
• Each summer, House tries to put in several of the things they will use during the upcoming season.
“I often change things from year to year to fit the players I have and their abilities,” House said. “During the summer play, I can evaluate the team to see if we can use the things we do during the summer in the upcoming season. If not I have plenty of time to come up with a new plan.”
• Since volleyball has had a good level of success throughout the years, there have been some years with very little practice time before the first game. House always tries to give a couple of days off from practice before the volleyball players have to report to practice. “So when we can use the things we do during the summer, the team has a good base to work from when practice starts,” House said.
• It gives the players invaluable experience.
House opened the gym June 4-8 and June 11-12 to get ready for camp at Samford. During those days, the middle school girls practiced from 7 to 9 a.m., while the varsity practiced from 8 to 10 a.m.
“This gave me an hour to watch or work with the middle school team,” House said. “Both teams went to team camp at Samford on June 13-14. Going to the same camp allowed me to watch the middle school team.”
House also opened the gym June 20-21.
This past Tuesday, they went to Ashville to play.
The Lady Tigers will end summer play for basketball by attending camp at Birmingham-Southern June 28-30.
“I may open the gym some during the summer if players want to come shoot or play,” House said. “I will see how the team responds to the idea.”
House said playing this summer has already paid off for basketball.
“The first day at Samford, we had some positives,” House said. “But we did not play strong or fast. Several of the players were overwhelmed with the varsity game. The second day we came out and played much stronger and faster.”
Springville went 2-4 at Samford.
The Springville and Ashville girls battled it out this past Tuesday. The two county foes did not keep score, as both coaches were more interested in seeing their girls develop their skills, work on fundamentals, and stay in shape during the summer.
Contact Gary Hanner at email@example.com.