Selection Time

I’ve been trying to write this blog for at least a week now but basketball and tiredness keep getting the better of me!

Another month had passed since my last blog. It’s been a busy one but nothing compared to what is coming up in June/July.

When I wrote my last blog I was struggling with an ear infection which ended up lasting almost 3 weeks. This might be down to the fact that I only stopped training for a few days while I was feeling unwell, rather than taking time off to get well! But that’s just an athletes way!

2 weeks after my IRU visit we were back in a training camp at Sheffield. Having had major issues with my shoulder, this was my first camp in a very long time where I was able to join in with training sessions. It’s safe to say I did way more than my physios told me I could but despite being incredibly tired, I was really pleased with how my shoulder held up. All those boring shoulder exercises were starting to pay off.

The week before the camp I’d had car trouble and I was driving round in a courtesy car for 10 days. Although it was a lovely Astra, it wasn’t quite as luxurious as my car (I’m very spoilt) and I was driving on temporary hand controls. Anyone who’s ever driven with them can vouch for the fact you need a thumb of steel because you basically press the accelorator with your thumb. This made the 500+ miles I did in the Astra very hard work, thankfully I had cruise control.

Not only did I do the drive to Sheffield in the courtesy car but I also drove to Bath for my friends baby shower. I was so late getting there after camp that most people had gone home but I’m so glad I made the effort and very chuffed with my artistic ability, painting a baby grow with the IPC and ParalympicsGB logos.

  ParalympicsGB IPC

IPC and ParalympicsGB Baby Grow

After a long camp and drive from Sheffield I decided to treat myself and spent the night in a very lovely hotel in Bath. It was lovely to relax for a while and I got to have the biggest omelette I’ve ever seen, needless to say I didn’t finish it all! This set the tone somewhat for the rest of the week, which by my standards was very chilled out, I even found time to do some work around my house.

It didn’t last long, the following weekend saw the GB Women play 2 matches against Titans WBC. I went along as support for the girls and ended up playing to my surprise. I didn’t play a huge amount, probably no more than 5 minutes, but I played quite well and even scored a basket. Read the Titans match report here.

My biggest fear having had so long out was that I would have completely forgotten how to play but thankfully I got back into the swing of things pretty quickly.

The after affects of those 5 minuted on court were worse than I was expecting and as a result I found myself struggling with day to day tasks. I decided that I would book a massage in for the Monday to enable me to train later that day, I also booked a physio session for the Tuesday because on the Wednesday it was back to camp. Not just any camp, final selection camp for the Europeans.

As I’d not participated a huge amount in camps and matches since the new coached took charge, I really had a lot to prove and only a few days to do it in. To my disappointment, we were without a physio for a day at the camp, which wouldn’t normally be an issue but because of where I am in my rehab it meant that I had to sit out the majority of the second day of camp. The third day at camp saw us take on Shropshire Warriors, a great challenge for the team as they’re tougher than any women’s team we will face. Although we didn’t get the win, it felt like the team was playing well and I got a mention from the coached for how I played 🙂

So we left camp knowing that we would get the phone call from the coached on the Tuesday, letting us know our fate! I knew I’d made the most of my time on court in the recent matches and I had proved that although my fitness is lacking currently, I’m still able to keep up with play and be an effective player, so I was hopeful for a yes. Tuesday came around and I got the ‘yes’  I was hoping for, followed by a ’embargo is in force until the 5th June’! So I had to keep it quite for over a week, almost impossible when you want to share your good news with the world! But I managed it and I want to say thank you to everyone for their kind messages after the announcment was made.

The 30th May saw the GB Women’s team that competed at London 2012 attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace. It was the first time the full squad had been together since London and it was lovely to see everyone. I even managed to have a conversation with the Queen and Prince Philip, as well as Princess Beatrice and Eugenie and the Duke of Gloucester.

Buckingham Palace

Sarah and I at Buckingham Palace

After a lovely day at the Palace it was back on the road, off to Sheffield for the League Finals. Playing for Titans Women, we were aiming to make the final and had a very passionate Steelers Women’s team to get past to earn our place there. It was a fantastic game, probably one of the best we’ve ever seen in the Women’s League and I’m so pleased to say we came out on top. The next day saw us take on the reigning champions, East Blue Stars, and although we gave them a good game, we knew it would take an excpetional game from us to claim the title. We finished second in the league and after the season we’ve had, that is excellent.Titans

Titans Women – Women’s League Runners Up

After all that we’ve made it to last week, another basketball filled week as it saw the GB Women travel to Holland to take on The Netherlands and Germany who are Bronze and Gold medal winners from London. So as expected, it was a very tough series of matches. The coaches tried out a lot of line ups and although the scored don’t reflect it, there was some incredible GB basketball.

This week I’m back in the IRU…no rest for the wicked. Next week sees GB Women take on Canada at the fantastic new basketball venue in Worcester, more details to follow. Then a few days at home before the big one, we travel out to the Europeans in Franfurt on the 27th June.

Until then, Auf Wiedersehen 🙂

Looking Back – 08/01/2012

234 days to go

First match of the year and unfortunately we didn’t get the win we were after today but we gave them a damn good game.

I’m currently playing for a team made up of half the GB Women’s squad, the other half play in the 1st Division Central. The plan is that we get to play the whole season with a size 6 ball and work on our team dynamics and get to play together in preparation for London. Se we’re playing against men’s teams who are taller and faster than any women’s team, so hopefully will prepare us for anything.

Most of the day was spent travelling to/from Exeter although we did get chance to go out for dinner which was lovely.

Then when I got home it was time to get my training diary up to date, send off my heart rate data and sort out the stats for the match. Busy busy 🙂

Quote of the day: It’s not easy to find happiness in ourselves and it’s not possible to find it elsewhere – Agnes Repplier’

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

I actually can’t believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since my last blog, how time flies when you’re having fun!

Its been a very busy few weeks.

First stop having got back from Austria was a tournament against the Dutch at the University of Wolverhampton, Walsall. It took place over 3 days and involved 5 matches against the Bronze medal winners from London 2012. Although I’m not back playing matches I went along to train with the girls and to act as a mentor to some of the young rookies. The training didn’t go quite as well as I’d hoped as my shoulder flared up after a high five, quite a good indication that my shoulder it ready for playing yet!

We knew it was going to be a tough tournament and the Dutch didn’t disappoint. Both teams were missing key players from London however that didn’t deminish the quality of  the matches, especially the last match which was a high scoring, high quality match. It was fantastic to see the rookies playing well and some other players taking on new roles. You can find the round up of the tournament on my Head-to-Head news page.

There is nothing like being away at a tournament, it is definitely my favorite bit of being an athlete. There is a such a huge contrast between the stressful, serious nature of matches and the downtime which will either be sleeping or relaxing with team-mates, whatever you as a player need to be able to be at your best for the matches. For me it was always sleeping but anyone who knows me know that I do like to sleep!

After my few days in Walsall, it was home for one relaxing day before a week in the Intensive Rehab Unit (IRU) at Bisham Abbey. As the name suggests, it is a facility that offers injury rehab and believe me when I say the intensive bit is very intense. 5 days of 9-5 rehabilitation completely tailored to your needs as an athlete. This was my second visit to the IRU so I knew what to expect but this time I was further along in my rehab journey so they pushed me even harder than before…I loved it! For the first time since before the Paralympics I was allowed to lift weights and pretty heavy ones at that. I was also allowed to push properly in my basketball chair, before now I’ve been pushing very tentatively to say the least. I even did a 3 minute max test, so 3 minuted pushing as fast as I could, which was used to program my interval training for the next 4 weeks. A fantastic team and I’m so grateful for all their help!

I spent the following weekend sleeping a lot!

And then we come to the week just gone, I was ready to hit my new training sessions hard but instead I got an ear infection and I’ve only managed to train one day since finishing in the IRU. It was a pretty crazy day of training involving a lot of press ups, supine pulls ups and intervals after which I had a lovely bath to soothe my aching muscles but my ears had another idea. I have an ongoing history with my ears but it has been a very long time since they’ve been this bad. I’m happy to say I’m over the worst of it now thanks to the antibiotics I’ve been given but its been a very difficult week.

So what is to come in the next few weeks…well we’re off to Sheffield on Thursday for a training camp. I’m hoping to be able to do more at this camp than previously but still won’t be able to join in with the game play. Very frustrating but I have to keep reminding myself that if I want to make it to Rio then I need to look after myself now. Immediately after the camp GB Coyotes have a match at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield against Leicester Cobras, come along and watch if you can, 3pm tip off.

It’s getting late so I’m going to love you and leave you. Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday weekend <3

Looking Back – 01/01/2012

So as I mentioned in my first blog, I would post entries from the journal I wrote in 2012. Having had a read through the first few weeks I thought it was quite fitting that we went back to the beginning of 2012, so here it is word for word!

241 days to go

I actually can’t believe it’s 2012 already, 2011 just flew by. But that said, I’m excited about 2012 and all it has to offer.

Having had wrist surgery in September, my fitness levels are low at the moment. My goal for the next 2/3 months is to get my fitness back and lose the weight I’ve gained whilst recovering from my op and over the Christmas period. I’m finding will power quite difficult at the moment as well, so I need to get that under control to help me get back in shape.

I was quite ill at the end of December so I’ve not trained as much as I’d like in the last few weeks but I’m hoping to change that now we’re back to normality.

I don’t have any new year resolutions as such, just to make the most of 2012.

Quote of the day: “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to produce uncommon results” – Andrew Carnegie’

Austrian Adventure, Weddings and Other Stuff

Its been almost 2 weeks since I launched my website and I’m so pleased with the reaction.  I’ve had lots of good feedback and I’m doing my best to keep you all up to date with news, tournaments, etc. If you have any comments about the website, please do contact me 🙂

I’ve been very busy in the last 10 days as I had a very important wedding to get ready for. My auntie married the man she has been with for 25 years on the 5th April, therefore I had to get my hair and nails done along with many other treatments to beautify myself.

Amongst all the preparations I received a last minute call from British Wheelchair Basketball which saw me attend the Wheelpower Time To Shine event at Stoke Mandeville. A fantastic event where kids with disabilities get to try out many different sports. This years event saw coverage from BBC 5 Live and ITV, which shows how last years Paralympics has increased the public’s appetite for Paralympic sport.

I also found a bit of time to pop to London to see an acoustic gig by one of my favourite bands at the moment, Deaf Havana. My sister happens to be their agent which means that we were able to get front row (thank you Beckie). It was an incredible gig in a beautiful venue.

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Deaf Havana at Union Chapel

The wedding was fantastic and it was great to see my family at such a great event. The highlight of the evening after the wedding was the casino where we gambled for hours with pretend money!

But that was just the beginning of the fun because two days after the wedding we were off to Austria to celebrate my new uncles 50th birthday. 40 of us were joining them on their honeymoon in Austria for a week.

Last time I tried skiing I was rubbish to say the least and with my ongoing shoulder problems I decided that skiing probably wasn’t the best idea, so my mum took it upon herself to find other fun things I could do on the slopes and she really did a good job.

The first two days I spent on a Skibike named ‘Mad Max’ with the very talented Jacek Stalmach. Jacek is the designer of the tandem Skibike and also very experienced competitor in the Skibob field. This gave me the opportunity to explore the mountain, sometimes at breakneck speeds which is an opportunity I would not have had otherwise.

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On Mad Max with Jacek

Day 3 on the slopes was in a Bi-Ski with Dominik Jonas of Active Therapy. This is a sit ski with two skis rather than one on the bottom. In my day in the sit ski I manage to conquer about 75% of a long blue run on my own. Now I’m not saying I’m a pro by any means but it has definitely changed my opinion of skiing and I’ve found muscles I didn’t even know I had.

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Me and Dominik

The last few days have mostly involved relaxing and sightseeing and today is our last day before travelling home on Sunday. Sad to be going home but what an awesome week!

My week away does mean that I’ve missed GB camp with the new coaches but I’m looking forward to next weeks head-to-head against Holland. Hope to see you there <3

Exciting New Website

This is my first blog on my new website and it feels only fitting that it is about the website itself.

It’s currently just gone midnight and I’m sat at my computer trying to get my new website looking fantastic before I launch it in just under a week.

Having my own website is quite a landmark for me because in my mind only celebrities and businesses have their own page but here I am putting the finishing touches to it! Although I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity and I’m definitely not business, I just want to share my passion for Wheelchair Basketball with as many people as possible and I figured there was no better way.

My main motivation for setting this up was to promote the visits I do in school and businesses which is another way I’ve found of getting more fans of my sport. I love watching peoples faces as they try out Wheelchair Basketball and I enjoy sharing my story of how I got into the game and my journey so far.

So my plan for the website is to put up regular blogs (although if my schedule is hectic, it might not be as regular as I hope), this includes excerpts from my journal I was writing up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. I will also be putting up dates of league matches I’m involved in and GB Tournaments wherever they are in the world. Basically as much information as possible about Wheelchair Basketball and where you can get your fix because I know there are a lot of you out there who have an empty space in your lives since the Paralympics finished.

Thank you for reading and keep checking back for regular updates <3