Terri Mitchell's USA Basketball Experience -- Entry 2
July 14, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Wow, it is hard to believe our time in Colorado is almost up! I certainly have been busy and I guess that is why it feels like time is flying! Our team has had eight practices together, and it has been an amazing process to step back and watch. Our first couple of days they barely spoke a word on the court, which they quickly realized doesn't work and certainly won't work when they get to college. It reminds me of of this past season when I had six freshmen - half of our team in case anyone forgot - and practices were quiet to start. Trust me, it wasn't because our freshmen last year couldn't talk, far from it, it was because they were learning a whole new system and didn't have the confidence to talk. Well, that is the same thing here. We have 12 great players who all come from different systems and I could just see their heads spinning! With each practice they have become more confident and are now talking on the court. It is such an incredible difference when you hear them talk each other through things and encourage one another. It brings an energy to practice that helps them get through the rough moments.
We are pushing these young women to levels they never thought possible, and I love when we put them through something difficult and they succeed. Their faces just beam with excitement! The success they are experiencing helps them face the next task with a greater level of enthusiasm. They have come to realize we weren't crazy when we told them they would get through. One of the best parts of this training is seeing their competitive side come out.
Speaking of competitive... You can feel the energy of the Olympians that are here living and training. Our country's finest is preparing to compete at the highest level with the whole world watching in August. I have seen many of the gymnasts, including Wisconsin's very own Paul Hamm. It gives me such a sense of pride because I am seeing first hand how hard they are training and the dedication they are giving to represent our great country. That same sense of pride and dedication is exactly what we are trying to instill in our U18 team, and I truly believe they are getting it because with each practice comes a greater sense of urgency.
We have two more practices tomorrow and then off to Washington D.C. to complete training camp. We still have a lot to get in. To me it feels like October when I am trying to figure out how many practices we have before our first game and everything we have to get in before we play! I have that same feeling now, but with a lot less time to spare! However, maximum effort put forth can neutralize many things. I tell our players constantly, playing hard can make all the difference in a game!!
I am looking forward to being in touch when I get to D.C.!