Winter sports begin at BHS
The middle of November always signifies the beginning of winter sports' seasons in high school athletics.
All three Baldwin High School winter sports teams held their first practices Monday afternoon. As with every year, the basketball and wrestling teams are focusing on conditioning and fundamentals.
"We have been running them pretty hard," first-year BHS boys' coach Eric Toot said. "We are working hard to get them into basketball shape. We have to do that first."
The BHS wrestling squad has also been working on conditioning during the first few days.
"We have changed our early season focus this year," wrestling coach Kit Harris said Wednesday. "We are doing more conditioning. We had a morning run today and they struggled, but made it through the workout. I am also speeding up our drilling and technique sessions to make them more conditioning-based."
BHS girls' basketball coach Bob Martin was pleasantly surprised how well conditioned his team was coming into the season.
"We are probably in a little better shape than I thought we would be," Martin said. "That's been pretty nice so far. We haven't had anybody drop out yet."
When the coaches aren't running the players, they try to teach the basics of each sport.
"For the first week, we are basically teaching fundamentals," Martin said. "We will start putting in our offenses and defenses by the end of the week. We take things very slowly and try to build one thing on another."
Toot said the basics are important, but he also knows implementing the team's schemes are vital early in the season.
"We are trying to start with the basics of our defensive philosophy," Toot said. "Offensively, we are trying to work on fundamentals right now."
Harris agreed about working on technique and basics early in the year.
"I am teaching things that are basic enough for the new guys, but also good things to review for the experienced guys," Harris said.
The BHS wrestling team has 36 participants out this winter, which is higher than previous years, according to Harris.
Martin was surprised at the high number of girls out for basketball this year. He has 36 girls that have been to practice so far.
"Our numbers are up this year," Martin said. "We are normally a little under 30, but we have a few more out this year. It's nice to have that kind of enthusiasm out this year."
On the flip side, the boys' basketball team has seen a slight decline in its participants. Toot said there are 38 boys on the team this year.
Despite the differing numbers on each team, all three BHS coaches are glad their season started Monday.
"I am excited that the season has begun," Toot said. "It's nice to get out on the floor. As coaches, there's only so much you can do before the season, so it's nice to actually get out there and be with the team."
"I am excited for the season, but to be honest, I wasn't as ready and prepared as I should have been," Harris said. "I think I am seeing the beginning of getting into a groove. We are working rust out and getting into the flow of things. I have to say the kids have been excited and eager and I have really appreciated their enthusiasm. I rely a great deal on the leadership and help of the returnees, they have been doing a great job of helping the new kids. It can be difficult and confusing at first for them."
Martin said he is enjoying practice, especially since the girls are also having fun.
"It's kind of like you expect," Martin said. "Everybody is really enthusiastic, which is great. We are a little ragged right now, but it's early. They are playing with a great deal of enthusiasm and they are going to learn stuff everyday."