Leader Blues

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

SPORTS >> Practice picking up for SH Bears

Leader sports writer

IN SHORT: Sylvan Hills players are getting used to the heat and practicing with more intensity this week. Head coach Ron Sebastian says his players are showing improvement in the mental aspects.

The Sylvan Hills Bears began week number two of summer practice on Monday morning. The Bears are hoping to repeat the success of the 2004 season, in which the Bruins took the AAAAA-East conference title before losing in the first round of the state playoffs.

Sylvan Hills head coach Ron Sebastian says that the three-hour daily practices have gone smoothly so far, but has a wait-and-see attitude on how his young team will fare this season.

“Initially, August practice always starts out slow,” Sebastian said. “It builds up after a couple of weeks. I feel like our kids are getting used to the heat, and getting mentally ready to play football.”

Although the Bears are getting mental aspects of the game in order, coach Sebastian feels like the team has some catching up to do on the physical side of the game before they are ready to play.

“Physically, we are still a long ways away,” Sebastian said. But mentally they are starting to think about their assignments, and what they are supposed to do. We are starting to see progress after one week of practicing.”

Although the squad has started playing drills, the Bears are still paying close attention to the team’s conditioning. At the Monday morning practice, Sebastian and the coaching staff had the team split into three groups. One group concentrated on conditioning, running quick sprints and doing grass drills.
The second group worked mostly on catching the ball, with some running drills added in. The third group worked on the offensive and defensive lines, specifically opening up a hole offensively for the run.

“We’ve been doing individual drills and team drills both,” Sebastian said.

“We’ve also been working on our agilities, running the ball and catching it.

“Defensively, we’ve worked on mainly blocking and tackling drills and conditioning. All the drills you need to do to get ready.”

Sebastian has yet to make final decisions on which players will step into the positions still up for grabs.

“We’re a young team, we have a lot of starting positions open,” Sebastian said.
“After one week of practice, and just one day in pads, we’re a long ways from knowing who is going to play where on September 2nd.”

Despite all of the younger and less experienced players on this years’ team, Sebastian is cautiously optimistic about how things will go heading into the fall.

The head Bear says that the biggest variable this season will be the team itself, and how they approach each game.

“Teams come together some years, and some years they don’t,” Sebastian said.
“It depends on this team. If they come together, pay the price and show up to practice they should do alright.

“Learning their assignments and not making mistakes will give us more of a chance to win than anything.”

The Bears will continue with morning practices until Thurs-day, when they will make the switch to mid-afternoon practice at the Sherwood Sports Complex due to faculty obligations.