CHEYENNE – The offseason in any sport is key to an athlete. They either work on their skills and improve them or step back and possibly become rusty.
For the volleyballers at Cheyenne East, the 2012 summer was an experience they’re hoping will make them a better team because they spent the months as a team.
A large group of the Lady Thunderbirds joined up to play down in Colorado as part of a select team under the guidance of East coach Dan Box. They traveled throughout the region playing in tournaments.
While other high school players joined their select teams and split up, East kept the group together.
“It also allows you to come into the season one step ahead instead of one step back,” senior Amberly Chisolm said.
“You’ve already got your team together, you’re already cohesive,” fellow senior Sally Sanders added.
The group of girls worked primarily on developing connections between the hitters and setters. East comes into the season a bit undersized on the front line so getting timing down and the offense fluid was a must during the summer.
Box says he saw the group pushing each other to play better all the team. After a few weeks off before the first practice, there was some rust to shake off but he’s hoping that problem is temporary.
“You get them playing next to somebody and things start to flow together so it’s important that they’re playing together but we’ve still got a ways to improve,” Box said.
The players and Box both agree that focusing on each play is the team’s mindset this year. There is no talk of state championships or where the team could finish after the season is done.
Instead, it’s about winning each play, each set and each game. Sanders said the team is trying to “avoid rollercoaster rides” of emotion that caused the season to ebb and flow at times last fall.
With any luck, the summer work will help East avoid that problem.
“It’s extremely important to play in the offseason so you don’t get cold coming in first day of practice,” senior Kaylie Mossey said.
“With only two weeks before the first tournament, you have to keep going. You can’t just take a break and expect to pick up where you started and getting better,” Sanders adds.