It’s been a summer of anticipation for the Thompson High girls’ volleyball team. More importantly, though, the summer has also been filled with hard work, improvement and bonding.
Obviously, the anticipation came because the Warriors were waiting to get into the beautiful arena on the new campus. However, the wait also came complete with a heavy dose of hard work.
“I like how our players embraced not being here right away,” Thompson High volleyball head coach Judy Green said early last week, while sitting inside the sparkling new arena. “They just put their nose to the grindstone and said we’re going to make where we were, our own place. We built a lot of really good foundation things in the offseason, at the old school. It was kind of cool, because it was kind of like a volleyball campus in a way. We call it ‘Volleyball U’.”
The Warriors practiced volleyball for the first time in their new home last Monday. Soon after they were through, the boys basketball team got there first workout inside the arena.
“We’re very grateful and very humbled,” Green said. “There are a lot of people in the state of Alabama that will never have the opportunity to compete and represent their school in an arena that has all the bells and whistles that you could ever want. As a coach and as an athlete, there has to be a great deal of pride when you walk out on this floor and have on that Thompson uniform. This is big time.”
Right now, the Warriors are getting used to the new arena. Eventually, though, it could become an important homecourt advantage.
“It’s different,” Green said. “There is way more distance from wall to wall and that changes things from a serving and passing perspective. The ball is going to float more. The depth perception is just different. One of the things I’ve kind of envisioned for us is, we need to become a better serving team. We can use the depth of this facility to help us be a better serving team. We can serve the ball from a greater distance. I think that makes it more difficult for opposing teams to pass the ball when the ball is now traveling, not just 40 feet, but 60 feet.”
That will come with time. For Green and her team, though, it’s just part of what has been a productive summer. The Warriors began the summer with workouts in June. The focus was on the fundamentals of serving, passing and blocking. A few weeks ago, the Warriors transitioned into some competition, which included two days at the Samford team camp.
“There were so many good teams that were there,” Green said. “When we started camp and started competing that first day, it was a totally different team. It was a totally different feel, the vibe was fantastic, the enjoyment of playing the game for each other was significant. It was a bunch of kids being very unselfish. To watch them play the game, for two days like that, gave me goose bumps.”