A little more than half of the basketball players of the Kaunas “Žalgiris” club for the upcoming season gathered on Wednesday for the first official training session, preparing for the 2022-2023 season. for the season.
Before the first training session, the players were greeted in the dressing room by Paulius Jankūnas, who ended his career and started working in the administration of “Žalgiris”, who became the right hand of the club manager Paulius Motiejūnas, and Gintaras Krapikas, who replaced Kazi Maksvyti in the head coach’s chair during the preparation.
Karolis Lukošiūnas, Mantas Kalnietis, Keenan Evans, Edgaras Ulanovas, Kevarrius Hayes, Laurynas Birutis and Motiejus Krivas started training with the team. Dovydas Giedraitis, who is recovering from ankle surgery, watched the work from abroad, and Tomas Dimša, who recently left the Lithuanian national team camp, will join his teammates at the weekend. The rest of Žalgiris continue their work with their national teams.
“The preparation for the season is different from previous years, not only because we have fewer players, but also the coaching staff is not full. There are many such challenges, but we try to adapt, we try to squeeze the best out of the situation. We have fewer players, so we can personalize the work more, provide more supervision, especially with new players. We can analyze their weak points. We think that this can also help”, said Sigitas Kavaliauskas, the physical training coach of “Žalgiris”, about the first physical training sessions.
The representative of the coaching staff of “Žalgiris” emphasized that there is a considerable challenge in individualizing the loads of the Zalgiris players throughout the season, when the remaining players will join the team before the first official match.
“It will be a challenge not only in the pre-season, but also in the whole season, because if you miss the initial part of the pre-season, without that real normal preparation, then it is very difficult to stay in shape for the whole season. It’s not like we can make up for those missed days in a week. Throughout the season we will have to take that into account, how was the pre-season, how we worked. Naturally, you will not be able to avoid the pits and those jumps. We will try to reduce them so that they are not so deep, we will take into account each athlete individually”, asserted S. Kavaliauskas.
Team veteran M. Kalnietis, for his part, was happy to have recovered from the injuries suffered last season. The native of Žalgiris talked about the first training session and the feeling after starting the preparations for the new season.
“The first training sessions are always introductory. Especially newbies are so tight-lipped, there is not much laughter, everyone looks around, how, who works, who to communicate with here. The background is a little quieter, but the training was successful, the coaches praised us, so we are happy and looking forward to the evening training, – said M. Kalnietis. – I don’t want to talk about it, but in the summer I managed to recover from the problems that plagued me all year. I am happy with my form. I’m a bit anxious for that serious job, I hope my situation won’t get worse, then everything will be fine.”
The coaching staff of “Žalgiris” will have a considerable choice in the rotation of defenders next season, but M. Kalnietis was not going to evaluate the composition of the assembled team.
“Before last season, everything looked good too. For us basketball players, August and September are always very good, and then when the games start, the problems start. I don’t want to speculate about the future. Only in the course of the season and later will it appear how successful we are,” the player smiled.
After the long-time captain P. Jankūnas finished his career in “Žalgiris”, M. Kalnietis took his place in the dressing room. The defender joked that he was back in the place in the locker room that he used to belong to.
“As soon as we moved to the “Žalgiris” arena, Paulius went to the “Khimki” club, and I started from that place in the dressing room. I returned to the place where it was better, so I hope it will be like that,” explained the player.
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