Monday, December 04, 2006

What the Whips are working on at the end of the semester

The post-Thanksgiving period has been a tough time for us in terms of getting much done. Things get busy, we are practicing indoors in a basketball court, finals are approaching, etc. I think there is a natural tendency to relax a bit and let the end of the semester kind of just wind down. Over the past few years, I have really been encouraging the girls to actually ramp up a bit and try to get as much done as possible over these brief few weeks. So here is what I am working on:

-Continued focus on fundamentals: throwing and catching. I stopped by a ARHS game at Regionals in Oct to see how Tiina was doing. She said to me that the boys were struggling with throwing and catching and until they got it together that she "had nothing for them".

-Better decision making. One thing I have started to do at our indoor scrimmages is to make passes over head height a turnover. This does a couple of things: makes the players the think about their throws and forces them to exploit only the two primary lanes (open side or break side via dump/swing).

-Focus on executing "away" dumps: This is the dump pass in which the dump cutter cuts away from the thrower and into the middle of the field. The thrower throws it out into space. This is hard, especially when done as a forehand.

-Mental focus. We continue to work on improving our concentration. I will stop the scrimmages for a break when we lose focus. I am also working on the basics like "focus on the things you can control". I have been lucky this year that we have had tremendous interest in the Whips, and our numbers are up to over 30. Usually, by now, I might be in the low teens. Unfortunately, there has apparently (my captains keep me blissfully unaware of the social knot) been a bit of consternation about how our potential A and B teams might break come the spring. This is a perfect opportunity for my girls to work on focus. Not only is the spring many months away (the first snow of the season is lazily coming down past my window as I type), but I am not even thinking about A and B teams at this point. The goal remains the same: team-wide work on fundamentals. Come January, we will sit down and discuss goals for the spring. The viability of separate teams can be dealt with then.


Fishie said...

Focus has been a problem for us too. What we've done is restructured our practices: Warm up/stretch, throw, drill, scrimmage to 3, drill, scrimmage to 3, drill, scrimmage to 3, cool down. By breaking up the drills we've found that players are more inclined to incorporate skills from the drills into their play, and the intensity stays high throughout practice.

gcooke said...


Thanks for the comments. That is helpful. Do you practice indoors? Barton Hall? How much space do you have?


Fishie said...

In the spring we have late night practice in Barton after hours (11pm - 1am). The great part is that we have full use of the space, so we can set up a field and scrimmage. We also have a running/conditioning workout once a week, and players are expected to attend a cross training session (swimming, rock climbing, shovelling snow, ice skating, etc.) once a week. The cross-training sessions are led by both A- and B-team players.

I should note that the B-team has a different schedule; they are expected to come to one late night practice and our running practice. By keeping their practice times the same as ours, we've avoided complicating friendships excessively while providing the training that each individual requires.