The Lindsay Lady Knights volleyball team has a new coach in Makala Neighbors and she was able to get her feet wet immediately.
The Lady Knights recently held their summer volleyball clinic and Neighbors has been hard at work installing a new defense, moving from a rotation defense to a perimeter defense.
Neighbors said she was pleased with the team’s ability to learn.
“A lot of the focus was on the defense and it was a learning curve for some of them, but they picked it up super quick with the blocking, their footsteps and everything,” Neighbors said. “It was different from what they’re used to. They picked everything up pretty quickly. They can learn a lot in a short amount of time, really in three days.”
The Lady Knights were a few points shy of a state championship last season, so Neighbors knows she doesn’t want to change things just for the sake of changing.
“What they call everything and all that kind of stuff, I’m keeping it what they’ve had,” Neighbors said. “I don’t want to come in and wipe out everything because they have been very good here. But at the same time, I’m a new coach, and I got things that I want to implement too. So I think it’s just finding a balance. I don’t want to just wipe out everything the girls know because [coach] Bridget Anderle was here for so long and she did a great job.”
Neighbors said she expects the offense to continue to flourish this season.
“We have some pretty good hitters,” Neighbors said. “I mean, they’re all tall and then we’re working on their blocking and everything. They’re talking to me a lot better and just starting to recognize each other and I think getting back in the groove. Offensively, we’re gonna have a lot of options.”
Neighbors also had the aid of Texas Woman’s University and its coaching staff. She said the athletes really responded to their instruction.
“We reveled in the opportunity to learn from some college athletes and I think it kind of helps that they show our athletes how they want to be in that position after they graduate. They’re making that connection to the younger athletes because they’re older. I think the girls had a lot of fun with the college players and the assistant coach. It seemed like it went really well.”
With fall volleyball practice officially beginning next week, Neighbors said she thinks having just gone through the camp should help to make practice easier.
“It’s just kind of fresh on their brain right now,” Neighbors said. “We just went over it. They picked it up pretty quick so I think coming here next week and getting right back on all of that, it’s going to be an easier transition for them. I have my expectations. I’ve gotten to see them play and I’m just ready to get here and get to work.”
Patrick Hayslip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @PatrickHayslip