PREP SPORTS: ‘Positive motivation and encouragement alone can make a team so much better’: West Point’s Liberty Shadix ready for senior seasons

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West Point’s Liberty Shadix. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

WEST POINT, Ala. – Lady Warriors volleyball and basketball standout Liberty Shadix learned a lot during her junior season and had a blast playing alongside some great teammates so now she’s ready to carry what she’s learned into her senior year.

“We definitely have a lot to improve on, but I feel like we all got better last season. We’ve adjusted to having a new coach and things being run differently. We just have to keep improving and having fun while doing it. I’ve learned you have to enjoy what you do to be good at it, have fun, and trust the process,” Shadix said. “Everyone was very close friends and we all encouraged each other if one was down. It was like a second family to me.”

Liberty learned a few things from last year’s senior, Brooklynn Wells, and from head coach Kate Kent as well. She has seen her game improve so much from her first season on varsity to now but will still continue to put in the work in the offseason as she gets ready for next season.

“I learned that you have to make the best out of every situation. Even if we were losing or winning, we had to pick each other up and have fun,” Shadix said. “Coach Kent has very high expectations for each individual and she teaches us to strive to be better. She wants us to exceed in all aspects of the game and pushes us to do our very best. I feel like I’ve grown as a player, physically and mentally. I’ve worked hard, along with my teammates, and hopefully, it will be noticed on the court. I try to encourage my teammates, because I know how important it is to have that encouragement as well. Everyone plays better when you feel good about yourself. I’ve learned that positive motivation and encouragement alone can make a team so much better. I’m working on my hitting and my serve-receive passes.”

Liberty has some goals set for herself and for the team this upcoming season and thinks this year’s team will have a very special season. During her time on varsity so far, Liberty has learned so much from this year’s seniors.

“My individual goals are to get 1,000 kills, All-County, and All-Area. My team goals are to win county, area, and make it to state,” Shadix said. “Our team has different strengths that works together. I feel like we have strong leadership also. We all have a common goal, and we respect each other. We have a lot of young talent that is a great strength on our team. I learned that there’s always someone looking up to you, you always need to have a good attitude, and always lift each other up.”

West Point’s basketball team had another successful season, which saw them take home yet another area title, and they made another trip to Sub-Regionals as well. Liberty took away a lot from that season and is so blessed to play with a young, talented team.

“We had a rough start last year, but throughout the season, we worked hard and improved so much. Us juniors last year had to step up and be leaders to the underclassmen because there were no seniors. I learned that you can be a leader, no matter your age, and that hard work will pay off. I think last year’s disadvantage of having no seniors will be this year’s benefit,” she said. “I love getting to play with these girls and seeing all of them improve so much.”

Liberty has learned so much from head coach John Welborn and she’s already seen a lot of growth from this year’s team.

“I love playing for him. He always pushes me to do my best. I wouldn’t be the player I am today without him. I’ve learned how to push through adversity and when my shots aren’t falling, I can make up for it on defense. I’ve also learned how to use my height and length as an advantage for offense and defense,” she said. “We’ve improved so much this year already. I think we have a lot more confidence in ourselves this year than we did last year.”

Liberty will continue to work on her game in the offseason in preparation for this upcoming season. She talked about the goals for this season and what will make this team special to watch.

“My individual goals are to get my 1,000th point, All-County, and All-Area. My team goals are to win area and make it to state,” she said. “We have the same team as last year, so we have great chemistry and having two sets of sisters on the team helps us have even stronger chemistry. We also have great speed, great shooters, and some height on the team that all work so well together.”

Liberty looked up to her older sister, Lexi, growing up, and she talked about the best advice that coach Welborn gave her.

“I loved her hard work and dedication. Watching her made me realize that you’re going to have to put in the work and extra hours to become the player you want to be,” she said. “He always tells us that sometimes, you’re going to have an off night on offense, but you should never have an off night on defense.”

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