Basketball, basketball and more basketball

It’s true what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. The last 2 weeks have just flown by and I’ve enjoyed it…mostly!

Every Monday and Friday we’ve been doing timed sprints and I’m consistently beating my times. I’m so pleased as it means I’m no longer the slowest at training and it means I’m a little closer to getting back in the team. I’m enjoying seeing the improvements I’m making and I’m coping reasonably well with the work load, I’m just a couple of weeks away from being back to a full training week.

I have had a couple of issues with my shoulders since coming back to training but I’ve managed to find a couple of people to help keep me going. Back home in High Wycombe I’ve been lucky enough to discover Steve Lodge (stevelodge.com), an ex footballer turned physiotherapist. From just one session with Steve, I’m confident that he will be crucial in my route back into the team. In Worcester I’ve returned to 206 Physiotherapy, who help out with the GB program from time to time and who have been keeping me going in between sessions with Steve.

Since my last blog the league season has started. I’ve played one match and coached 2 matches. Titans had 2 wins against CWBA in the 1st & 2nd divisions, in two very tough match. The 2nd division match went to overtime, which considering it was my coaching debut, I was pleased that I managed to keep myself and my team calm and take the win. The match I coached this weekend was against Swindon Shock, another tough match which unfortunately didn’t go our way. But lots to work on and I’m looking forward to getting my team together to go through some ideas I’ve had.

That’s all from me for now.

Let the hard work begin

Yesterday was my first day back in Worcester for the GB Women’s centralised program. We started at 7am with fitness testing which will be regularly assessed. It confirmed what I already knew, I’m very unfit and no way near as fast in my basketball chair as I was. But I like to see the positive and therefore the only way is up!

When I decided I wanted to come back to training in Worcester I had an ideal in my head that I would be fit and ready to throw myself back in to training. Unfortunately, although my health is a lot better than it was, I’ve been struggling with training and not getting ill afterwards. This is improving but it is just another challenge to overcome! To begin with I will be doing a reduced training load with the goal of being back in full training as soon as possible.

This coming weekend I have my first league match of the season and I will also be making my coaching debut for Titans 2nd division team away to Coventry. I’ve taken on coaching the 2nd div team as part of my grade 3 coaching course so as well as the coaching, I have a lot of paper work to complete as evidence for the course. Everyone loves paperwork…don’t they!!!

Not much else to report but going to make an effort to do my blog more regularly. Or at least that’s the plan!

Change of plan!

It has been a whole year since my last blog and as I mentioned at the end of the last blog I was planning to take some time out of training. Well that few month out turned into a year and even now I’m still trying to build my fitness back up in preparation for my return to the centralised program in Worcester at the end of the month. It’s been a tough year but I’m happy to say I’m finally feeling more human and as determined as ever to get back on the basketball court.

So what have I been up to in my year off I hear you ask! As well as resting and getting myself better, I’ve been making the most of my free time and spending it with friends and family, something I’m just not able to do when I’m training. I’ve also been developing myself as a wheelchair basketball coach, in May I did my Grade 2 coaching course and managed to get it signed off in time to begin my Grade 3 in August. So this season is going to be a busy one for me because as well as playing in the 1st division for London Titans, I will be coaching the 2nd division team as practical experience towards my Grade 3.

Also, despite not playing at the European Championships, I was there as a volunteer and ended up commentating on the live stream. Another thing to go on the CV especially as the women’s semi-finals and finals I commentated on was broadcasted on the BBC red button. It was a successful tournament for both the men’s and women’s teams securing their place at the Rio Paralympics and both teams on the medal podium, retaining their gold and bronze medals respectively.

In my year off I also took the opportunity to do a little travelling. I’ve been to Milan, Scotland, Malaga, Paris, Devon and the highlight of this summer, Cuba. Off the back of my trip to Cuba I’ve also started writing a travel blog which you can check out at https://accessibleworldtravel.wordpress.com

So the next challenge is getting fit and getting fit without becoming ill again as my immune system seems to have taken a bit of a hit. It’s going to be a long road but as I always say ‘if it was easy everyone would do it’!

Life After the World’s

Another 2 months have passed since my last blog and I really don’t know where the time has gone (I know I say that every time).

I’ve done loads of travelling since the World Championships in June. I’ve been to Shetland, Tenerife, Brazil and Milan. The highlight of which was an orientation trip to Brazil.

The intention of the trip was to trial a potential holding camp venue for Rio 2016 Paralympics in SĂŁo Paulo, as well as seeing the basketball venue in Rio De Janeiro. While we were there we took the opportunity to see Christ The Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana Beach. We even made a special effort to get up very early to see a spectacular sunrise over the Copacabana which I’m very glad we did. I’m thinking of having this snap made into a canvas.

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When visiting the Paralympic venue, you can’t help but get excited for the events in 2 years time…in fact it’s just 716 days until the opening ceremony!

After our Brazilian adventure we were straight back into it with preparations for National Paralympic Day. We spent 3 days at the University of East London where we played the Dutch twice and then we travelled to the Copper Box for our showcase match against the Paralympic Bronze medalists. We put out a young squad and although we were poor in the first half of the match, we gave them an excellent 4th quarter and lost by just 4 points. Yet more evidence of the talent coming through in our squad, the future for the GB Women is very bright. If you missed it, you can watch the Channel 4 highlights program here or you can search on the 4OD app.

I’d love to tell you all that I’m back in training and I’m excited for the challenge of the year ahead but I’ve decided to take a little time out of training for now. I’ve been having health issues since March and made the decision to get myself well before I throw myself back into the full on training program in Worcester. My intentions haven’t changed, I’m still planning on training towards the European Championships which are being held in Worcester in 2015 and the Paralympics in 2016 but to be the best I can be on the basketball court, I need to look after myself 🙂

So doctors orders are rest and I have to say I’m awful at that! The new league season is getting under way and although I’m not going to be playing in any matches just yet, I’m hoping to go and watch GB Coyotes play on Sunday (3.30 tip at Woking College), as well as any other local matches I can get to. Hope to see you there.

Onwards and Upwards

It has been a week since we returned from Canada and it’s still sinking in that we achieved our best ever world ranking.

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I’m currently on my holidays so this blog will be short but I thought I would bring together all the match reports from the World Championships with my own short summary, so here you go:

Great Britain are first team to win at 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship!

An early start with the opening match of the tournament. Brazil took us to a very close match last time we played at the Paralympics in London but this time we made sure we didn’t let that happen. Although we stated a little nervous we managed to get a comfortable 56-37 win.

Great Britain put up strong defence against Paralympic Champions at the 2014 Women’s World Championship

This was the match where we wanted to show the progress we’d made as a team but unfortunately our shots just wouldn’t drop. Despite keeping the Paralympic gold medalists to just 55 points, our total of 33 was disappointing and not enough to to win at this level of competition.

Short-benched GB Team battle to victory over Japan at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship

Having played Japan a couple of times at the recent Tri-Nations Cup at Worcester Arena, we knew that this was a team we could play well against. We were missing 2 players due to illness but this just showed the depth of the squad with other players stepping up and taking a lead role. We worked our way to a comfortable 62-48 win.

Great Britain secure Quarter Final spot at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship!

Last time we played China, they got the W to take them to the 5th/6th playoff at the London Paralympics but this time it was us who got the all important win to secure our quarter final spot. It was a close match until we dominated in the 3rd quarter to take control of the match and eventually won 64-47.

Great Britain to face the USA in Quarter Finals of 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship

Another tough match where the lead changed hand many times but the win wasn’t to be ours on this occasion. Our defence wasn’t as strong as in previous matches and our execution offensively wasn’t there. That said, we finished the pool round in 3rd and this meant a cross over against the US. Final score Canada 59-52 GB.

Reigning World Champions battle to gritty Quarter Final victory over Great Britain

Once again our shooting let us down and although we were able to bring the margin back to single figures on a few occasions, the USA proved to be too strong for us and they advanced to the semi-finals with 53-41 win.

Great Britain on track to secure highest ever finish at Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship

Having played the French 5 times at a recent tournament, we knew that they could be dangerous if we allowed them to play offence. It took until the 4th quarter for GB to make our mark on the match but it saw us edge out a 17 point win, with the final score 58-41.

Great Britain defeat Paralympic silver medallists to secure best ever finish at the Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship

This was without a doubt our best match of the tournament and although the scores were tied at the end of 40 minutes, we made no mistake in overtime. We kept calm and edge to a 7 point win, scoring 77 points against a strong Australian squad.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent good luck messages during the tournament. The positivity we felt from everyone at home was incredible and really helped to boost the squad at difficult times. I’m hugely proud of what the squad has achieved in such a short space of time and I’m excited for the next 2 years building up to Rio, although I know it will be a lot of hard work.

Shut In & World Championships Prep

For those of you that follow me on Twitter you will know that the Tri Nations Tournament in April was a mixed bag for GB. We had 2 wins over Japan and 2 losses against Germany. The showcase match of the tournament was by far our best team performance even though we lost by 7 to Germany.

In May we entered ‘Shut In’ which was a time to get the whole squad together as much as possible. This is our main prep for the World’s and it has been hard work but hugely enjoyable.

This weekend was especially tough as we had league playoffs as well as early training every day. On the Saturday Titans women took on Vixens in a tense match and came out with the win. Sundays match was against Steelers where we didn’t perform and ended up losing by 20 points which meant we finished 3rd in the league. A disappointing end to a great season!

Now we’re in Germany playing a series of friendlies against Germany and USA. Next week we travel to France for more matches and 16th June sees us travel to Canada for the World Championships. I can’t believe how fast this year has gone! I doubt I will have a chance for another blog before the World’s but I hope you will follow the teams progress.

Huge thank you to everyone who came to Worcester to support us at the Tri Nations. If you’re craving some more Wheelchair Basketball action, the GB men take on Japan in the Continental Clash at Worcester Arena on 5th June. For more information go to www.gbwba.org.uk

GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team announced for World Championships 2014

GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team announced for World Championships 2014

GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team is ready to take on the world with a young and developing team at the 2014 World Championships (Toronto, 20th– 28th June 2014).

The current European Bronze Medallists, Great Britain, head to Toronto at the end of June led by the new coaching duo of Miles Thompson and Mathew Foden and will be looking to improve on GB’s 6th place at the World Championships in 2010.

GB Women’s Head Coach, Miles Thompson, will give two players their debuts in a Major Championship, bringing in Fi Tillman (GLL & Aspire London Titans), as well as Joy Haizelden (Blackhawk Mallards and Hampshire Hornets), who will be the youngest member of the team at just 15 years old.

Thompson said, “The two new players add something extra to the team, the energetic Fi Tillman brings with her energy and a voice that sparks not only herself but the rest of the team, she is a great component to have in any team. Whilst the youngster Joy Haizelden, alongside Charlotte Moore, are the next generation of GB basketball to the forefront and they are here to stay. They will not only perform in the future but now as well.

“At the World Championships we want the team to unite itself and make sure we are all pulling from the same side of the rope in all situations, both on and off the court. Our goal is the same as at any tournament we enter as GB and that is to get into the semi-final and take it from there.”

Great Britain will open their Championship campaign in Pool B alongside London 2012 Gold Medallists Germany, Canada, China, Japan, and Brazil.

GB Women’s Team for World Championships:

  • Sophie Carrigill (20, Wakefield)
  • Charlotte Moore (15, Coventry)
  • Clare Griffiths (34, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire)
  • Fi Tillman (29, Herstmonceux, East Sussex)
  • Louise Sugden (29, Wokingham)
  • Laurie Williams (22, Altrincham, Manchester)
  • Joy Haizelden (15, Southampton)
  • Helen Turner (36, Chobham, Surrey)
  • Helen Freeman (24, Watford)
  • Judith Hamer (23, Exeter)
  • Amy Conroy (21, Norwich)
  • Madeleine Thompson (19, Hope Valley, Derbyshire)

GB Women’s World Championship team will be in action at the Tri Nations Cup 2014 this weekend (Friday 18th and Saturday 19th April) at the University of Worcester Arena. Book your tickets to see them in action http://www.gbwba.org.uk/gbwba/index.cfm/gb-teams/events1/tri-nations-cup-2014/

Around the world in 10 days

What an exciting few weeks I’ve had!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve been travelling the world with my first stop being SĂŁo Paulo in Brazil. I actually think I spent more time travelling to Brazil than I was actually there for but it was a very productive trip and I even got to go to Carnival! We even managed to get VIP tickets which meant the opportunity to get our hair and make-up done…carnival style

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The purpose of the trip was to find a training venue for a camp later this year and in the build up to the Rio Paraplympics in 2016 and we managed to find two viable options, now we just have to choose which one works best for both the men’s and women’s squads.

Then it was home for a few days before heading to Switzerland for EuroLeague. EuroLeague is the equivalent of Champions League in football so the best league teams in Europe battle it out. We were out there as GB Coyotes, so an all female team, playing against mixed teams as we do in our national league. Because another team from Britain had withdrawn, we had been put up a division which meant we were playing some very strong teams. We weren’t able to get a win in the 4 matches we played but we definitely learnt a lot from the matches and it gave us an opportunity to try a new style of play against new opponents.

We got back on Sunday morning and it was straight over to celebrate my mums birthday with my family. Although I got there and went straight for a nap because I was exhausted from the weekend away. I don’t get a lot of time with my family, especially not together, so it was a really lovely afternoon and we had fantastic weather for it.

Since then it’s been back to Worcester and training full time. Last week our head coach, Miles, came over from America and he’s now moved to the UK until after the Worlds. This means we are being put through our paces on a daily basis. It’s awesome!

I’m currently in Holland for a series of friendlies against the Dutch. They are currently ranked 3rd in the world and 1st in Europe so it will be a very challenging weekend but you have to play the best teams to be the best and that is exactly what we aspire to be. I will keep Twitter up to date with the result so keep checking back.

Also this month we have the Tri Nations Tournament against Japan and Germany. This takes place at the University Arena in Worcester between the 18th – 20th April. We have 2 showcase matches, the first is on Friday 18th April. At 5pm GB take on Japan before the BBL match between Worcester Wolves & Glasgow Rocks at 19.30pm. Tickets to the Wolves game must be bought to gain entrance to the GB game using this link here

On Saturday the main showcase game will be at 19.30pm against Germany. Tickets are free but they must be registered for via the BWB website www.gbwba.org.uk

Hope to see some of you there 🙂

GB Women prepare to take on London 2012 Bronze Medallists

GB Women prepare to take on London 2012 Bronze Medallists

Next week will see the GB Women’s Team head to the Netherlands to battle it out against the London 2012 Bronze Medallists in the Papendal Tournament.

Congratulations to the following players who will represent Great Britain at the event from the 4th-6th April:

  • Charlotte Moore (1.0)
  • Joy Haizelden (2.5)
  • Clare Griffiths (1.5)
  • Siobhan Fitzpatrick (3.0)
  • Judith Hamer (4.0)
  • Amy Conroy (4.0)
  • Madeleine Thompson (4.5)
  • Fi Tillman (2.0)
  • Louise Sugden (2.0)
  • Sophie Carrigill (1.0)

GB Women’s Head Coach Miles Thompson said: “This will be a great first step to what we’re building towards now, which is the World Championship in June. The trip to Papendal means we can work out some of the kinks of travelling and playing under adverse conditions and so, in that respect, it’s exactly what we need to be doing.”

Joy Haizelden said: “I think this will be a good challenge for the team. This is a good chance to try out our new plays against a really good team. It will help us prepare for the World Championship.”

www.gbwba.org.uk

Great Britain to open Women’s World Championships 2014 against Brazil

Great Britain to open Women's World Championships 2014 against Brazil

Wheelchair Basketball Canada has today announced the schedule for the Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships 2014.

Held in Toronto from Friday 20th-Saturday 28th June, the GB Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team will open the first day’s play against Brazil at 0800 EST. The Saturday evening will then see Great Britain battle London 2012 Gold Medallists Germany (2000 EST) before returning to court at 2000 EST on Sunday to face Japan. On Monday 23rd, the GB Women will tip off against China in the morning (1000 EST) before their final pool game on Tuesday sees the team line up against hosts Canada at 1800 EST.

BWB Performance Director Paul Davies said: “We are delighted to be able to get the competition underway, with GB playing Brazil in the first game of the 2014 World Championship. There will be no time for nerves, as we get straight down to business. Our late game on the second day will give us the opportunity to take stock and to get a good look at the other nations as they play through the second of their preliminary games.”

www.gbwba.org.uk