By TONY EIERDAM
Looking to fill three starting front row positions and another starting spot on the back row, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams will begin August workouts Monday in what will be an important first week of practice.
The Lady Rams return senior all-district libero Bethany Allen and senior all-district setter Erin Burgeson. Lady Rams head coach Taylor Eggleston, in her fourth year as the volleyball team’s top boss, said the first four days of practices will be crucial to not only try to find girls who will earn the open starting spots, but also to find out the right combination of players to fit the schemes.
Workouts all week for freshmen and upperclassmen will begin at 6 a.m. at the high school track with conditioning drills. The freshmen will follow with practice in the morning, and junior varsity and varsity practice will be from 1-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“We don’t just do straight running (during the conditioning hour),” Eggleston said. “We do all types of agility drills and weights.
“It is also a bonding period for the girls.”
The Lady Rams will scrimmage at Fort Worth Western Hills on Friday and at Glen Rose on Saturday.
Eggleston said she hopes to have some questions answered before the scrimmages.
“We have open competition on the front row,” she said. “In the first four days of practice I am hoping to see different people step up and fill in those roles.
“I also looking for combinations of girls who work well together.
“I think a big part of my job is finding the different combinations that mesh well and give us the best opportunity to be successful. Sometimes you mix it up to see different people playing with each other to see how well they will work together.”
The coach not only wishes to see what players will take the extra step to secure a starting spot if not playing time, but also how each individual girl works with her teammates.
“I want to see everyone pull together, and individually I want the players to work on their specific games,” Eggleston said. “I would like to see our play fluid – a consistent flow – to get us back in the swing of things.
“I would hope by the time we have our first scrimmage on Friday that I will see a fluidity in our overall play.”
Eggleston pointed out that the mentality of the team as a whole and individually has changed due to the circumstances.
“This year is different from last year – and every year is different – and it is a totally different mind set because we will have several new players on varsity,” she said. “This is a different group of girls, so the mind set is different.
“The competition on the front row in the players’ minds should be intense, and they have to realize that anyone can earn a spot, and that is not limited to the seniors. It is open competition.
“I expect up-tempo practices all week, and I want to see some girls take control. If they take control and take ownership of themselves and their skills, that will put them at an advantage over someone who is not going to do that.”