A lot of work goes into forming teams as fall sports season continues to gain momentum. For the Lakeland volleyball team, a week of tryouts was the way to go.
The first week of practice was all tryout-based as coaches looked to see what the girls had. Four nets were set-up in the fieldhouse as freshman up through senior showcased their skills.
It all started with a good ball control warm up which led into some team conditioning to give them some adversity.
“We like to push the girls mentally and physically to see how they adjust and overcome toughness,” coach Carley Punzel explained.
The coaches then broke the game down into smaller groups to see each girl more individually in all skills of the game.
Coaches always had a set time for game play where the girls put all of what they’ve been working on into action.
“This is where we can see how girls react to different tempos of the game and move girls around to different positions and courts,” Punzel said.
One of the small things worked on later in the tryout was an exercise of bump, set and spike. One side would serve the ball and the other would work on setting up a spike on the other side.
Everyone rotated to a different spot after a sequence. Once you bumped, then you set. Once you had a chance to set, then you tried to hit the ball over. That way, coaches could see the girls play every position.
“My goal this year with tryouts is to create teams to create wins,” Punzel said. “We want teams to flow and teams that will work positively together.”
Serving the ball was up next. But there was a twist — each player needed to get 10 good serves in. After they served the ball, they needed to sprint to their ball to serve it again. This worked on not just serving, but conditioning.
Players who finished early cheered on their teammates and encouraged them until everyone had done 10 good serves.
Another conditioning drill followed that as girls ran from the baseline to the net and back to the baseline for a certain amount of time.
All of this running garnered them a 10 minute break before the final exercise of the day got underway.
“We are now to the point where all of my players are buying into the offensive and defense we teach them,” Punzel said.
The last thing they did for the day was a six-on-six, game-like competition. A coach would toss the ball in and girls played like they would in a game. They worked together to try and get a point for their side.
All four nets were used as coaches continually swapped different players into different teams into different positions to see who worked best with who and have a full evaluation.
This lasted for the rest of the tryout. Not only do they look for talent, but they also look at some other key areas that make up a team.
“We obviously look at skill, but a big part of having a good team is chemistry, communication and most importantly having love for the game,” Punzel said.
Lakeland will take part in a scrimmage at Northland Pines on Saturday.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]