Gulf Coast women’s basketball team working through long fall practice season

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 10:42 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -For instance, at Gulf Coast first year head coach Cayla Petree working her first team with the Commodores into shape this week. That’s a process that’s going to seem long and grinding, given Juco teams can practice 60 times here in the fall, but won’t start playing games until January.

Coach Petree working with three returning players, and 8 newcomers. Three of those newbies are incoming freshman. The other five are transfers from both the D1 and Juco levels.

Here’s the schedule coach has laid out for the group while it trudges through all these workouts.

“We try to hit it pretty hard a couple of days a week, what we call contact days where we try to be competitive.” coach Petree told me during Monday’s workout at the Harrison Field House. “One on one, two on two, three on three, four on four when we can. We’ve kind of been hit with the injury bug so we haven’t been able to go five on five yet. So that’s another challenge in itself. But two contact days, and then like a shooting and like a recovery day. And then two more contact days. And I’ve been trying to give them off on the weekend.”

Coach says overall she’s pleased with how the players have handled all the work with no games in sight. And even though the strict COVID protocols make it tougher, she’s relatively pleased with how they’re dealing with that as well. Still she admits, all this work with no payoff, in terms of a game ahead in the immediate future, can be a grind.

“Usually in a normal year you’re going to get a little bit stagnant, a little tired of playing each other. So it’s only natural for them to do that. They don’t really have an opponent. You know we’re just beating up on them every day. So we’re just trying to keep it fresh. That’s why I’ve got the music. I try to keep it light, try to keep the temperature down. I’m not trying to have them in real pressure situations. Now we’re working hard, but just wanted to keep that fun upbeat atmosphere.”

Still even with all that, coach I observed coach Petree smiling broadly several times during Monday’s practice. She truly seems to be enjoying this process, and she says that would be an accurate observation.

“I love to play basketball, I love to coach basketball.” coach Petree said. "So we’re just thankful and grateful for the opportunity to get to be in the gym. We’re not in quarantine. We’re getting to do things you know that six months ago we weren’t getting to do. So that’s something that we’re preaching and talking to the girls about every day, just the opportunity to play basketball

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