So today was our first full day of basketball and that it certainly was! We started this morning with a team practise working on some team offensive and defensive movements. The gym was probably only 25 degrees at this point.
After the overall tally on the practise meant “blue team” won, white had to negotiate a consequence. You can tell it is the summer holidays, because they took a fair few minutes to decide how to complete their challenge of the whole team crossing the half way line (without their feet) but just their hands touching the floor. Eureka moment after a monumental few minutes of some interesting suggestions, when (correct me if I’m wrong), Katelyn suggested maybe a wheelbarrow would do the trick!
Following the team practise the girls were fortunate to have a coaching clinic by top Spanish national team guard (and European gold medallist), Elena de Alfredo. Elena had various new and challenging drills to share with the girls. It was difficult and frustrating at times, but imagine taking the fundamentals of what you have learnt so far and inversing it. The girls have a lot to take away and work on and personally I am excited to see how far they can progress, so watch this space!
Lunch by the pool followed by some R&R and of course an opportunity for some competitive races/challenges, by some!
Later in the afternoon we arrived at the gym for the first competitive game of the trip, note in was probably closer to 35 degrees in the gym now. We played a very talented and skilled Spanish side that, after the first quarter, took a lot of the girls by surprise. It was undoubtedly difficult to take such a defeat, but we are here to experience, new environments and expose players to different levels of the game. Playing national league basketball in England is not the highest level and although initially daunting I was proud to say the girls showed me and the other coaches a lot about their character today. Not to be too dramatic, but this will be a defining moment in their basketball journey. You seldom remember games you win by 30 or 35 year after year. But you certainly remember losses like these, they make you want to improve, they expose you, highlight your weaknesses. It isn’t easy to take, but nor is the journey to becoming a great player. A lot learned today and a great amount of opportunity ahead!
Despite the margin, there were moments in which each and every player was successful on the floor today and with a few small adjustments we can make some big improvements for the next game. But first we have a castle to explore in Madrid tomorrow!
PS. Can someone let the girls know, basketball may be a better pathway for them than a musical career.