It was precisely 367 days in the past when Canada’s girls’s basketball staff certified for Tokyo 2020.
Quick-forward to immediately, and the staff is coming off a week-long digital coaching camp, unable to satisfy in particular person as a result of pandemic that compelled the one-year postponement of the Olympics.
“That was form of just like the final large factor earlier than the wheels fell off, and also you suppose again to your mindset and simply how every little thing felt at that cut-off date in Belgium: residing the life, competing, taking part in towards one of the best on the earth, successful video games, qualifying for [the] Tokyo Olympics, doing all of it collectively. We had been on prime of the world,” head coach Lisa Thomaidis mentioned of the Olympic qualifying match performed final February.
Coaching camp kicked off very first thing Monday with phrases from Canadian chef de mission Marnie McBean, who reassured the staff that Tokyo 2020 would certainly be going forward in 2021.
McBean suggested the staff to dam out studies which will come up within the coming months, such because the single-source story from the Occasions of London in late January that claimed the Japanese authorities had concluded to cancel the 2021 Video games.
“It was good timing as a result of it had come out [two] week[s] previous to us getting collectively. And so for her to come back on the Monday morning and simply be form of like, ‘OK, that is what’s actually taking place,’ it was good simply to form of do away with the elephant within the room,” Thomaidis mentioned.
We had a particular, shock visitor be part of us to kick off our 🇨🇦🏀 Senior Girls’s Nationwide Staff digital coaching camp.<br><br>Thanks <a href=”https://twitter.com/TeamCanada?ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>@TeamCanada</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/MarnieMcB?ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>@MarnieMcB</a> for talking with athletes, coaches and employees about <a href=”https://twitter.com/Tokyo2020?ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>@Tokyo2020</a> this morning.<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WeAreTeamCanada?src=hash&ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>#WeAreTeamCanada</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/StandOnGuard?src=hash&ref_src=twsrcpercent5Etfw”>#StandOnGuard</a> <a href=”https://t.co/QHLZWluvQh”>pic.twitter.com/QHLZWluvQh</a>
McBean’s insistence set the tone for per week of day by day two-hour conferences overlaying every little thing from staff imaginative and prescient to Olympic logistics to Tokyo warmth.
“[We] went by way of a whole lot of envisioning and projecting what it’ll be like in Tokyo, the circumstances, the residing preparations, our competitors schedule or coaching schedule main into it,” Thomaidis mentioned.
These workouts helped put gamers’ minds comfy about attending the Olympics throughout a pandemic — not that there was a lot hesitance after already ready this lengthy to compete.
Ahead Ruth Hamblin mentioned it was vital to listen to assurance from McBean when she sees a lot negativity surrounding the Olympics daily on Twitter.
“I really feel like this assembly simply form of solidified what now we have as a staff and our system and our momentum. It may be completely different, nevertheless it’s nonetheless an Olympics. I feel that that does not change. And if something, it is greater than ever as a result of the world wants some positivity,” mentioned Hamblin, who at the moment performs in Poland.
Social exercise welcomed
With questions surrounding the Olympics sorted, Thomaidis started instilling a few of the staff’s on-court methods. It is powerful to implement something too difficult over Zoom, however some base ideas helped sharpen how the staff will try Canada’s first-ever Olympic girls’s basketball medal.
After a lot time aside, the social side of the week was additionally welcome to each coach and gamers alike.
Some conferences included video games with quiz software program Kahoot, and one other ice-breaker matching Emojis to completely different gamers kicked off every day’s festivities.
“It is simply good outdated occasions, just like the familiarity with these folks as a result of we spent a lot time collectively. It is actually good to simply hang around with them,” Hamblin mentioned.
The staff will proceed to satisfy commonly over Zoom, doubtless each three or 4 weeks with frequency rising because the Olympics method.
Subsequent alternative to satisfy in Might
Whereas another groups, together with the U.S., had been in a position to meet in particular person through the worldwide window, Canada was caught on-line with gamers dispersed all through the U.S., France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany.
Ahead Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, who performs for Lyon in France, thinks that would work in Canada’s favour.
“I do not suppose anybody expects us to get collectively two hours daily and watch movie collectively and have a digital actuality. And I am simply actually completely satisfied that we’re doing these items that may achieve us a aggressive edge over a few of the different international locations,” she mentioned.
Canada’s subsequent alternative to satisfy in particular person is in Might, when the staff hopes to carry coaching camp in Edmonton forward of the FIBA AmeriCup in June.
Abroad professional leagues shall be finished by then, which means the logistics of gathering might be simplified. Then once more, planning in a pandemic is fluid.
“I feel it’ll be one of many strangest Olympics ever,” Hamblin mentioned. “And our means to adapt to unexpected circumstances goes to be a key to our success.”
A basketball staff going over a 12 months with out follow forward of its greatest match definitely qualifies as unusual. However from all corners of the world, Staff Canada seems to be adjusting properly.
And after the lengthy interval of inactivity, that aggressive fireplace solely burns brighter.
“We’re a basketball staff, we simply need to go and compete. I feel everybody’s simply lastly wanting ahead to that. So, yeah, undoubtedly some pleasure constructing,” Thomaidis mentioned.