Vols, Lady Vols working hard on team focus, chemistry in practice
With practices beginning only a few weeks ago, the Vols prepare for the season ahead with hard work, diligence and a bond of friendship.
Ranked 20th in the nation, the Vols equip for the challenges of a difficult schedule through their preseason practices. With practices beginning and starting out well, sophomore forward Kenny Hall believes the team is ready to play as a whole and is looking forward to their first game.
“We’re taking advantage of the time we get to spend on the court, we’re all getting a great chemistry out here, and you’re going to be able to see it come out during game day,” Hall said. “Every practice is getting more intense, and even on days when we’re taking it light, we’re still going hard.”
The Vols are working on chemistry and performance, and coach Bruce Pearl is switching players in and out of scrimmages to help with team chemistry. The team is learning how each individual plays and learning how to get everyone involved to the best of their abilities, which is something that senior shooting guard Josh Bone likes about the team.
“I feel like everything’s been going really good,” Bone said. “Everybody’s getting better, and it’s competitive. This family is more family oriented than any other team I’ve been a part of.”
With the first game of the season only a few weeks away, the team must prepare themselves mentally and physically during practices. Having both the bond of basketball between him and his teammates and the hope of another record-breaking season like last year, Hall is excited for the season and, specifically, SEC basketball to begin.
“We’re just looking to smash them all, basically,” Hall said.
The Lady Vols began practices only a few weeks ago and are looking forward to the start of a new season.
With its first game on Nov. 2, the team has a minimal amount of time to prepare. While sophomore guard Taber Spani said having both workouts and practices going on is challenging, she is enjoying the practices and looking forward to how they will affect the team as time goes on.
“We’re really excited, and we’re really focused and really going at it and working hard,” Spani said. “We started two weeks early, so it feels like ‘Oh gosh, we should be getting going,’ but knowing that games are only two weeks away really give you excitement.”
The Lady Vols are more familiar with each other, with only two new freshmen joining the team, and they have had more experience as a whole. Senior guard and forward Angie Bjorklund felt that the practices are assisting the players as they get back into a routine and prepare for the season.
“We’re a year older,” Bjorklund said. “We didn’t lose anyone, so I think we’re very familiar with each other and the system and the coach’s system. Everyone has another year under their belt, as far as experience, and knows what to expect, so really it’s just been helping the freshmen out and getting back into the regular routine of the season.”
As the team gets together to prepare for its quickly approaching games, the team is excited to see what will unfold and is enjoying practice, knowing the affect they will have on the games ahead. For Spani, this is one of her favorite aspects of being on the team.
“I just love when you get in here and you can start implementing all the basketball stuff and get into the competition and stuff, going against different people and against our guys and it’s really fun,” Spani said. “I love working with the coaches, and I love when we do scrimmages, because we can really work off each other, and I just love the competition part of it.”