Chickasaws are practicing via Zoom

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Blytheville Chickasaw boys basketball team is making the most out of not being able to hold practices together due to COVID-19.

Blytheville head coach McKenzie Pierce came up with a solution by ordering basketballs for both the Blytheville High School and Blytheville Middle School boys basketball teams. He plans to go over skills and fundamental work via Zoom video conferencing.

“We had 12 participate on our first day and that was essentially all of my high school players. The plan is eventually to have all our 7th through 12th grade boys basketball players doing it,” said Pierce.

Pierce continued, “It was about a week ago when I decided to get this going, I ordered 15 basketballs online, and I got those passed out to my high school players. I have about 15 more on the way and I’m planning to make sure all the junior high boys have one as well.”

Pierce plans to hold the video conferences three times a week and is hoping to have 30 players online each time.

“We’ll be going over a lot of ball handling and some fundamental work, just trying to make the best out of this unfortunate situation,” he said.

Pierce explained how COVID-19 has impacted the team.

“We made it pretty deep into the playoffs, and typically what we do is once basketball season ends, I give my team off until the week after spring break, which was about two or three weeks ago,” Pierce said. “It’s tough because in the months of March-July we really play catch up with a lot of programs. I feel like the reason we’ve had so much success over the last three years is because of how hard we work in those months and in the summer,” said Pierce.

Pierce added, “The four summers I’ve been here we’ve played 30-40 games and play up and above competition level. We are usually in the gym three or four days a week so it’s really tough because this has been an important time for us to play and get in front of everyone else. This time is especially crucial for the ninth graders because they are coming in from junior high; so this is really tough for them, and they aren’t going to be able to learn everything they need to.”

Pierce said that more than anything the video practices will keep the team connected and ahead of other teams next season.

“With this Zoom situation they’re still not going to get everything they need but it is something. I highly doubt there are too many other teams doing this, so it may not be exactly what we want but whatever it takes to get something out of them separates us from the competition,” said Pierce.

Pierce said, “If nothing else we can stay connected and continue to bond. I do think it’ll definitely develop some of their skills and you have to do that to play the game. It’s definitely going to be useful.”