by Wendy Whitworth
The Chester Lady Jackets volleyball team has finished up a great first week of practice and first scrimmage. It was a tough first week of practices, with lots of adjustments made to the Lady Jacket team, which made it to the playoffs last year.
Chester has eight returning players and six girls who have moved up as freshmen who will contribute on the varsity squad. The team traveled to Beaumont last Saturday for a three-team scrimmage against Legacy Christian Academy of Beaumont and Newton High School. Chester split its varsity squad to allow more time on the court for the freshmen on the team, and in the end, had a successful scrimmage.
The score was not kept at the scrimmage, but the coaches were able to evaluate how the first week of practice has helped the Lady Jackets as well as what needs to be done in the future to help Chester return to the playoffs for a second year in a row. The coaches' number one concern right now is getting the girls used to playing together and developing good team chemistry. From a conditioning standpoint, Coach Hall is confident that there isn't a team in the area that works as hard as the Lady Jackets do. "We will never be beaten because another team is in better shape than us," said Coach Hall. From a fundamental volleyball standpoint, the Lady Jackets are being taught the proper techniques and positioning to be successful as the season progresses. The scrimmage was a very important coaching tool.
By splitting the freshmen and returning players, the coaches learned that the freshmen are comfortable working together, and the returning players are comfortable working together, but when the two groups were mixed, they did not play as the cohesive unit they we will grow to be. Volleyball is a sport where it is important to know where all of your teammates are on the court and where they are all supposed to be moving to. "Once we get comfortable with each other and know where each other are going on the court (which will happen very soon), we will be a tough team to go against. We are looking forward to a great year," said Coach Hall.
The first week of practice went great for the Chester Yellowjackets. There were 22 young men and one young lady to make the practices. The first week of practice was probably the hardest as they worked on conditioning. All the athletes have worked incredibly hard and have put forth a great effort.
"We have raised the expectations of the players and they are working meet them. Obviously we have got to be more consistent on both sides of the ball, but that will come with repetition," said Coach Fudge.
The third annual "Midnight Madness" was a positive experience for the team. The community was able to experience a Yellowjacket practice and the team was able to showcase its immense talent. The coaches were able to use this practice as a learning tool in order to make improvements.
"The most important thing is that we did not have any major injuries throughout the first week of practice. With us only having two district games, we need to do our best to stay healthy throughout. I'm really looking forward to seeing how we improve over the next 5 days," Coach Fudge said.