Lady Hornets

In the third day of the Era Lady Hornets’ basketball clinic, head coach Don Neu said he noticed some significant growth from his athletes.

He made a point to single out a few of them after the practice to recognize and encourage them.

Neu said moments like that are imperative towards building a program.

“I like to touch base with these kids and I’m fortunate enough to have some of them in PE class,” Neu said. “I think that’s a big part of it. Kids get to know us. You know, they don’t always have access to us when they’re in elementary school.”

Neu is constantly communicating to his players the need to constantly be improving.

“I always tell him, you have to do the things that that get you out of your comfort zone,” Neu said. “Because if you use your right hand for layups, you’re comfortable with that now so getting better is about getting out off that comfort zone. We’ve got to take chances and work on things that maybe we’re not as good at or don’t really feel as comfortable doing. I think that’s important. It teaches them that there’s more to it than just what they already know.”

The clinic, which wraps up Thursday, Aug. 1, had athletes ranging from fourth grade to eighth grade.

Neu said the clinic began with fundamentals and gradually got more complex, but he knew the athletes could handle the jump.

“They have to take two hands just to get their shots up there sometimes and then of course as those kids get older, they want to shoot three-pointers, so they continue to shoot two-handed,” Neu said. “So I think it’s important to work on the proper fundamentals and as they progress and get stronger, then they can start to shoot the ball right. In other words, I always use the term muscle memory. I think if you learn how to do something over and over and over again, it just becomes a habit. So if you get to the big game and things were really heated up, muscle memory kicks in.”

This is the 21st season Neu has put on a summer basketball clinic and the eighth season at Era. Neu said these camps are key to building and maintaining a program.

“I think it gives them that base they need going into the next level,” Neu said. “I think it’s really important for those girls coming up in the seventh grade and eighth grade to get in that extra work.”

Patrick Hayslip can be reached at sports@gainesvilleregister.com or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip

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