Bulldogs witness improvements
What a difference one year can make.
It has for the Baldwin High School soccer team, whose summer camp saw nearly double the numbers it did a year ago.
The Bulldogs finished their camp Friday morning and assistant coach Matt McCune was impressed with the players' improvement in one year.
"Camp was good," McCune said. "We had about 18 kids. I helped out last year and this year was by far better. Skill wise, we were able to do more advanced drills than last year."
BHS senior Kirby Flory also thought this year's camp was better than the inaugural year last summer.
"It was a lot better than last year," Flory said. "We have a lot of skilled people coming out. Hopefully we can get a lot more people out to our games to support us this year, because we are going to have a lot better team this year."
Since many of the players were on the BHS team last year, the camp was much more enjoyable.
"It was great fun," BHS senior Travis Moore said. "Everybody came out and had a great attitude. Everybody was in shape and ready to go. We were a lot better this year than we were last year."
Although the camp was enjoyable for many of the players, it was also a lot of work.
"It was lots of fun," Flory said. "I haven't played for a while, so I was kind of sore at the beginning. We worked on a lot more ball control and dribbling. We also worked on passing, because last year we struggled at controlled passing. We had a lot of fun this week."
While the team was having fun at camp, it was also learning and improving its skills.
"We have mostly been working on passes and touches," Moore said. "We did a lot of scrimmaging, which was a lot of fun."
McCune and head coach Gus Wegner also made sure the Bulldogs got plenty of conditioning during the week-long camp.
"We worked on conditioning," McCune said. "Also, when the team gets together, we want them to be more advanced on defensive pressure and ball pressure. We're not worrying about scoring right now, just defense and keeping possession of the ball."
Despite the many things that the coaches were teaching the players, McCune is confident the Bulldogs are learning the proper techniques.
"I think they picked things up quickly, but at the same time they are introductory skills," McCune said. "I haven't gone too far in advance on tactic drills or team drills."
One way the coaches tried to let the players have fun while testing their skills was with contests and scrimmages.
"We tried to have a challenge at the end of every day, like soccer golf or soccer croquet," McCune said. "Today (Friday) was nothing but scrimmages. The ball hits the net a lot and they like that."
Although this was the BHS players' second year with McCune at camp, this fall will be his first as a coach on the team. Moore is glad he will be a part of the team.
"It's awesome to have coach McCune," Moore said. "He is a great guy. I'm looking forward to having him coach us."
The added experience of one season helped the players' chemistry at camp. That made the camp run smoother and Moore hopes it will help during the season.
"It helped a lot with camp," Moore said of knowing his teammates. "I think we will be ready to go when the season starts."
Flory is ready for the season to start, which will happen on Aug. 14 with the first practice.
"I am really looking forward to the season," Flory said. "It is going to be a lot more fun this year, because we have most people back and the support for us should grow."
McCune agreed the team is ready to start playing and he hopes the camp helped fuel that desire.
"They are eager and ready for the season to start," McCune said. " I think a lot of them are tired of sitting at home, so that helps. This helped them run around and get the blood going."