Back to the basicsPublished 10:31am Friday, June 6, 2014
In the world of an athlete, there is no such thing as a day off.
The Benjamin Russell High School and Alexander City Middle School Lady Wildcats basketball players are no exception to it, and have wrapped up the first sessions of their off-season improvement programs.
Current ACMS and varsity/junior varsity BRHS girls players took this past week to sharpen their hardwood skills in the Elite Basketball Camp directed by Selma University women’s basketball coach Ron Rembert.
“The camp went extremely well. We had a mission that was two-fold: assess the kids’ skill level and then meet them where they were to introduce exercises and drills that can help to enhance that skill level,” Rembert said. “We’ve been doing this for the past three or four years, and I haven’t seen a drop-off with the girls. That’s a very good sign, as it also means we’ve generated good interest in Alexander City.”
Rembert added that the camp’s focus on fundamentals is to teach abilities that can translate across any level of the game.
“That’s always been the goal,” Rembert said. “We always start with the basics because no matter what level you’re at, the fundamentals are the essence of the game, and they’re very important. We took a step-by-step, progressive approach to it. On day one, we work on ball-handing and passing. On day two, we focused on individual defense and lay-ups. We progressed into basic shooting and offensive fundamentals, as well as team defense, and as the week went on, we put it all together in 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 gameplay.”
“We had about 28 girls that participated,” BRHS varsity girls basketball coach Alexis Hines said. “They had a lot of fun and were able to learn new skills.”
According to Hines, one of the biggest benefits was getting the newest Lady Wildcats up to speed. With the loss of Cookie Kelley, Jernika Russell and Aaliyah Lawson to graduation, the Lady ‘Cats will go into the 2014 hoops season with a tall order: replacing the bulk of their scoring and rebounding.
“We had the young ones in there – our babies,” Hines said. “And that was one of the most important things. Next year looks pretty good; we’ll be young, but we’ve got some athletes coming up. We still have time to continue developing over the summer.”
The newest Lady ‘Cats were impressive during the drills, Hines said, as she praised their willingness to learn and accept coaching.
“I definitely saw an improvement from the start of the week to now,” she said. “I could see the wheels turning in their heads. They got out of it what they put into it, and they put in a lot. They were trying to change, listen and adapt to what was being taught. Numbers-wise, we had about the same amount from last year, but the quality was up. We had some quality players there.”
Hines added that with players from ACMS and BRHS there, each coaching staff will be on the same page as the respective Wildcats continue to build a synchronized program.
“That was the main goal – to have us all running what amounts to pretty much the same system,” Hines said. “We want to have the same program across each team, and we want them to know and understand the terminology when they get to BRHS. We wouldn’t want it to be like Greek to them.”
While this camp is coming to a close, the Lady Wildcats’ work has only just begun this summer. The ‘Cats will begin conditioning drills three times a week, and will play twice a week in order to stay sharp.
“By the end of the summer, I expect double the improvement we’ve had during this week,” Hines said.