By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Working on some ball drills at Tuesday’s Open field with Summer League in the rear view mirror, first-year head coach Lael Anderson enjoyed how her team progressed through the small ball strategy.
“We’ve had a consistent 12 to 15 participating in summer and/or open fields,” said Anderson. “But every group of kids that I do have, come out with a good attitude, getting ready to work hard and that’s a pre-requisite for me is that you just come with an attitude to work hard regardless of who’s looking.
“There all very hard workers and a little bit praise goes a long ways and I’m a high praise coach, so that’s been a good connection that we’ve had together.”
With an interesting spilt between upperclassmen and sophomores that have saw Varsity minutes in 2015, Anderson is excited for the youth she has and the leadership from the seniors as they look to carry the summer momentum into fall practice in August.
“When you talk about carrying momentum, I think a pivotal piece is creating cohesion with the team,” started Anderson. “So summer has been a piece of that and we’re going to have a team experience. I’m going to work really hard when the season starts to create opportunities for them to get to know each other as students and just girls, as young women first and then as athletes.”
If they create this cohesiveness s, continued Anderson, then it becomes easier to trust one another on the field to work hard during a game.
How they’re approaching this is focusing on the small game. Three-on-three’s and five-on-fives all to win the ball and keep the ball said Anderson.
“For me I really believe in winning the ball and keeping the ball and a big piece of keeping the ball has to be the team willing to trust each other tactically,” described Anderson. “I’ve seen a strong improvement with just their ability to have a two-touch and have a ball go where they want it to go.”
Though it’s repetitive, Anderson knows that during the season, they’ll be able to measure this improvement as she introduced concepts now so that the team is familiar with them when August 15 comes around.
As practice continues, the girls are having fun as they’re more used to their new coaches. Music is blaring and the vibes are loose and fun.
“Socially they’re just feeling a lot more comfortably being themselves where they know I like to have fun, and want to keep that fun factor turned up as long as we’re working hard and that hasn’t been abused at all,” said Anderson. “Which I’m really grateful for.”
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