Photo provided by Steve Ikenn
Despite the winter sports season being temporarily paused, varsity girls basketball coach Steve Ikenn starts laying out plans ahead for the varsity girls basketball in preparation for their games and practices once the season resumes.
Even with the current pandemic, Ikenn looks forward to working with the girls to start shaping and conditioning their physical health and also training their mentality during games, while observing COVID protocols.
Ikenn focuses his plans for the team in the upcoming season through working out every individual to have their own space for growth and make sure to perform their very best. “It is just to try to get the players to work the best they can, to be the best team we can be, and individually help the players be the best player in person they can be,” Ikenn said.
Ikenn looks forward to building a new solid team and seeing how each and everyone works for their positions. “My expectations are just to see how they fit into different roles and kind of see how we develop as a team. I think players will get used to their new roles where they’re maybe being more dependent,” said Ikenn.
Ikenn plans to go with the girls into a different strategy of taking offensive plays since most of the rosters will be new in the team. According to Ikenn, “We do have to plan differently because different people will be playing roles on the team. We’ll probably change our offense a little bit, so we can take advantage of the strengths of this year’s players, as opposed to what we did last year.”
Girls basketball player Mary Kate Drevline looks forward to meeting her goal for the upcoming season games. “My goal for this season is to create stronger team chemistry so that we can win as many games as we can and to have fun while we do it,” said Drevline.
According to Ikenn, they will have a tough time practicing contact sports turning into a noncontact, one of the most important things on following COVID precautions, and he will definitely do his best to make sure that each and everyone on the team is safe during practices. “Practices will follow every possible COVID precaution. I work really closely with our trainers. We talk to the nurse and follow the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines,” said Ikenn.
Drevline specifies the things that they must observe in order to stay healthy on practices and games while dealing with the COVID pandemic. “Some things that I will do to make sure I am healthy for practices and games are to wear a mask at all times in the building, use hand sanitizer, and use the ball that they gave us each specifically so we don’t share them,” said Drevline.
Ikenn said building a relationship with his athletes in order to accommodate and improve themselves as a whole person is an important matter for him to make sure the girls are doing well. He said, “Building a relationship with the players is really important for us coaches. There’s always bumps in the road, and helping the team learn to deal with those things is important.”
Drevline shares how she supports her coaches not only to get herself better, but also for the whole team to be successful. “I support my coaches during practices by listening to their tips and working hard to use them to get better. Coach [Ikenn] is very effective because he makes a specific schedule for each practice to get us ready for games. Our team has been very successful in the past few years,” said Drevline.
Ikenn focuses more on the personal growth of the athletes and improving their capacity and capabilities of being an athlete. He prioritizes the team’s improvement in order to prepare them for the game in the real world.
“We’re just going to keep moving forward and doing whatever we can do to be the best team we can be,” said Ikenn.