It was less than weeks ago that the 2020 WNBL Villawood Bendigo Spirit first came together in person for pre-season training.
However, in the months prior the Spirit were training together, albeit with a bit of digital help.
The team would regularly catch-up online and run through drills as well as chat about all things life during online training sessions.
"We're heading into the season with a strong base as during the past five months we've had great Spirit at home Zoom sessions where as a team we focused on key elements of the game," Spirit assistant coach Mark Alabakov said.
"And now, after two really productive weeks here in Bendigo, we're chuffed with the progress of the work and ready for the season ahead."
The Spirit depart for the season on Sunday, with the first stop a two-week quarantine period in Brisbane, before they will then leave for the northern Queensland WNBL hub.
The season proper tips-off on November 12 with each team playing 14 games as part of a regular 56-game season in addition to a four-game final series.
"As coaches we often use the analogy a season is a marathon, not a sprint," Alabakov said.
"But this year it's the complete opposite as we need to be meticulous in how we pace ourselves and have strategies in place to ensure we are robust all the way through the season.
"The challenge of facing a new opponent and style of team will differ greatly night-to-night and being able to adapt mentally and recover physically will be important."
"In terms of the physical side of things that's where we will have a real opportunity to succeed as we haven't stopped training all year."
Above all, the hub experience and 2020 season overall is certainly going to be a challenge for Alabakov and the rest of the team, but it's what they've been waiting for.
"We're all competitive and love what we do," he said.
"We're excited by the challenge and look forward to being creative in our approach during the season.
"Being creative is something I love to feed off as it drives me in what I do."
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