Van Meter’s boys basketball team started their winter break with a win on Dec. 22 against Interstate 35. Since then, the Bulldogs have spent their break practicing.

Basketball season is one of the longer athletic seasons, and this break splits the season almost directly in half, which can either be good or bad. The Bulldogs coach, Jed Alexander, believes the break is a good thing for his team. 

“I like the break for a few reasons,” said Alexander. “The kids get a little break in the middle of a long season, but it is also a little extra time to reevaluate our team and maybe focus in on some fundamentals or introduce some new ideas that we feel will benefit us for the remainder of the season.” 

Alexander also mentioned that he believe this extra time to practice is good for his team. As any team would, the Bulldogs’ boys enjoy competing more than they do practicing. For this reason, the Bulldog coaches try to fit in a scrimmage during break, just to keep the competitiveness going.

During these breaks, Alexander said he keeps the practices fairly similar to how they would run before or after break. The coaches do some breakdowns of offense and defense fundamentals and introduce some new strategies to the team that they could use in the second half of the season. Another main focus for the Bulldogs is just getting them back into shape, as any team would.

With a winter break or a vacation, comes a different schedule and some time to sit back and relax. The Bulldog coaching staff helped their basketball team avoid the struggle of getting out a regular schedule by pushing their practices up to into the early morning.

“We practice early in the morning to try and keep their regular school day hours going,” said Alexander. “If we didn’t practice until the afternoon, the kids would sleep past noon each day and then when school starts back up, it would be harder to get back into the flow of a normal routine.”

Basketball season starts immediately after break ends, so the practices can be very important.

“I feel we compete each day in practice,” said Alexander, “and the guys get rewarded for that with the games as they come along.”

The Bulldogs have an undefeated record of 7-0 so far this season, and their first game of the New Year is on Jan. 3 against AC/GC at 7:00 p.m.