RIPLEY – As new Ripley head girls basketball coach John Kennedy looked around at his team’s first summer workout, he was pleased with the turnout, but knew there were still several more players that had not yet arrived to the gym.
The reason for that illustrates one of the many challenges of having a young team: only two of the players at the workout were old enough to drive.
Luckily for Kennedy, that challenge is off the court and will be taken care of with better communication between him and the parents of his players.
On the court, Kennedy is working with his young team to build the foundation for his program, starting with the fundamentals.
“As a team, we have to break it down to the fundamentals,” Kennedy said, “[We want] to break down our defense and start off with one-on-ones, two-on-twos, and build into the team concept of five on five. As far as offense, we want to work on some of the basic principles of passing and shooting.”
In addition to working on fundamentals, Kennedy is also using the open period to help cultivate his young team’s identity and work ethic, something he has been encouraging since his hire back in May.
“I hope they can continue to work hard and keep developing that blue collar attitude,” Kennedy said, “They can take those two things away from [the open period].”
Part of that blue-collar attitude involves his players working on these fundamentals on their own time, not just at the gym.
Kennedy made sure to stress that point at the workouts on Monday night.
“The girls have got put time in themselves,” Kennedy said, “They have to do stuff on their own, and take what we’ve done in this three week period and take those drills to the house and work on them in their own time.”
Obviously, there is only so much that can be accomplished in June for the basketball season that doesn’t start until October.
However, with Kennedy at the helm, the young Lady Vikings squad is laying the foundation early in the summer, and they hope that it pays off once the season does begin.
“I hope that we can carry over our team building and bring us more together as an entire team,” said Kennedy, “When you bring in ten or twelve freshmen and you’ve got eight returning players from last year, I’m hoping to bring them together and it continues through the summer. We’ll pick back up in the fall, and we’ll continue to roll and get ready for the season.”
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