Lady Raiders working towards break after working hard in fall practice season

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 9:55 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -It is almost break time for the Coach Bart Walker and his Northwest Florida women’s basketball team. Coach Walker and his players with a few more days of practice he tells us, before taking an extended Christmas break.

Coach Walker telling me Tuesday via Zoom it’s been rather tedious at times, and he and his staff have had to work hard to keep the players focused, to keep this terribly long stretch of practice, with no games to be played, interesting. The NJCAA, when it decided to push the start of the Juco season to late January, gave each program 60 practice days during the fall. So the Lady Raiders put in a lot of work, and it may not have been fun, Still the coach telling me the decision to do things this way, for the NJCAA to push the start of the season back to January, was, in his opinion, the right call!

“You know hindsight is 2020 but I think the decision was, with the fluidity of the situation, it was a very intelligent one.” said coach Walker. “As we can see with what’s going on with the Division I programs. And even the professional stuff that is getting canceled. So you know it was a shocker. We are used to playing basketball right now, but I think it’s in the best interest of the student athlete and the communities, and the colleges, the way we are operating.”

As for putting in the work, without the promise of a game anywhere on the near horizon, well that left coaches like Walker and his staff having to find ways to be creative to keep the interest on the court.

“I would say it’s a grind.” the coach told me. “We’ve had 60 days straight of practice Which is not very fun. So we try to keep fresh, we try to mix it up with individual workouts. We’ve done some non-traditional training that we don’t do here. We’re just trying to keep everyone healthy, and we’ve got some time to teach. But you know young people want to immediate satisfaction today so, they’re ready to get after somebody other than the same people every day.”'

The Lady Raiders will head home for their Christmas break starting this weekend, and the team will gather back on campus the first few days of January. The team’s first game is January 23rd, that the first of three non-conference games before the team starts Panhandle Conference play in early February.

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