USA Women’s U16 National Team Begins Training Camp
Just four days after being selected as members of the USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team, the 12-woman roster, plus three coaches, were back at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, for the team’s first official workout.
“It felt great (to be on the court)” said head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S./Lubbock, Texas). “It was exciting. I thought the kids showed up excited, ready to go and they had a lot of energy.”
The athletes will train at the USOTC through Friday, June 10, generally holding two practices per day in preparation for their competition, the 2011 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, the following week, June 13-18, in Merida, Mexico.
The players, who went through trials that featured 115 girls last week at the USOTC, found out Monday morning that they had been selected to the U16 national team. Schneider then ran the team through a brief workout before everyone departed for their hometowns.
“It was good to be back and see my mom and my parents and my friends,” said Recee’ Caldwell (Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S./San Antonio, Texas). “I rested. Everything that we did to our bodies, and all the hard work during the trials was exhausting. I took a lot of ice baths, I stretched, went to the trainer. I still got some shots up, but I did a lot of resting.”
While their time at home was brief, it was much needed for the girls who won’t be home again until after their competition in Mexico, at least 20 days on the road in a span of 24 days.
“I’m going to miss my family,” Caldwell said. “It’s kind of weird being away for so long.”
Caldwell’s USA teammate Jordin Canada (Windward School/Los Angeles, Calif.) agreed.
“It’s going to be hard because we won’t be with our friends,” she said, “but once we get back it will be really exciting to see everyone and tell them what we accomplished.”
|Jill Rankin Schneider talks about the USA Women’s U16 National Team beginning its training.|
Friday’s first practice ran 2 hours, 30 minutes, with Schneider and her staff of assistant coaches, Gail Hook (Monarch H.S./Louisville, Colo.) and Letitia Hughley (Mott Community College & Flint Northern High School/Flint, Mich.), focusing on basic drills, plays and a lot of teaching.
“There is a lot of learning and it’s philosophical on my part so that they’ll know what I’m talking about,” Schneider said. “They come from 12 different backgrounds and they’re having to unify into one philosophy in a week’s time.
Overall, the first run through was a learning process, but a success according to Schneider.
“They’re just doing an exceptional job,” Schneider said. “They’re very good communicators and I think that’s the thing I come away most impressed with. The fact that they communicate with each other that well is really going to go a long way in helping them become a lot better.”
“Practice was intense,” Caldwell added. “The elevation still gets to me a little bit, but it was a good first practice. I love these practices because all of us want to go get it so bad that we work really hard.”
The team will be back on the court Saturday morning at 10 a.m. MDT for a closed practice at the USOTC.
“It’s going to be a fun week here,” Canada said. “Everyone’s playing hard, working together and getting along real well. We’ve got a great group.”