The U.S. youth basketball team hit the ground running in Israel with 5 a.m. wake-ups and lots of practice.
Ardmore resident Jamie Chadwin is coaching the U.S. youth division basketball team. This post was pieced together from a few of his blog entries and edited for clarity.
We hit the ground running in Israel on July 8 with lots of practice and solid work by our guys. Five a.m. wake-up calls came quick!
We practice at Armonim, a school in Ramat Gan where the people have been absolutely wonderful to us. Already, we have had professional coaches, teachers and children drop by to watch our guys practice. At night, we bonded around the piano.
Our second day opened with talk about "winning the day." Without any games to play, that might seem like a strange challenge but our program certainly "won the day" of practice. With another double session, we got better with each segment and are starting to see roles and leadership take shape.
The next day, along with our two women's teams, we visited the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled. Our athletes toured the facilities, met with athletes who train at the center and even played some hoops. Our players brought gifts from the United States for the children who train at the center as well. The experience certainly gave perspective to our athletes.
Then, on Thursday, July 11, we laced up at noon for a hard-fought exhibition against the Israeli junior national team in their training facility. This team will be traveling to Macedonia next week for the World Championships.
While we lost the game 66-64, we got a lot out of the exhibition. Most importantly, we learned about our team and what we need to do to get better.
Our Israel Connect program starts tomorrow with a trip to Tel Aviv. Of course, that will only be after we get our 6:30 a.m. practice in.
Yours in hoops,