Today’s blog is from PPI-ME about the recent retreat the All-Star teams took to Kibbutz Tal Hai.
On September 30 and October 1, the 14-and-under and 16-and-under All-Stars (mixed teams of Arab and Jewish girls who play in the Israel Basketball Association’s elite youth league) from the Arab town of Tamra and Jewish town of Nahariya attended a retreat in the north at Kibbutz Tal Hai. During the retreat they came together to prepare for the upcoming season and get to know each other better. The retreat ended with each team scrimmaging agains the Hapoel Galil league from the Galilee region.
This was an opportunity for the All-Stars to get away from everyday distractions and get in some quality practice time before games start this month as well as participate in activities that focused on learning about each other and working together.
On the court, Coaches Shadi and Dor worked on perfecting their plays as well as bringing energy for everything they do on the court. In the practices on Friday, there was a strong emphasis on shooting, defense, rebounding, and making smart plays. Prior to the scrimmage on Saturday there was a shoot around for each team that got the girls moving and taking some shots they might see during the game.
The practices and shoot around paid off. The girls looked well prepared and competed at a high level during the scrimmages. In the 14-and-under game the teams were evenly matched, which resulted in many lead changes. The game came down to the last minute and unfortunately resulted in a loss for the girls. The 16-and-under team won their game but also had to battle really hard in order to come away with the win. Both games were very scrappy and each team fought until the final buzzer. Coaches Dor and Shadi were very happy with their teams’ effort but they know there is always room for improvement. One thing that was very solid for both teams was the support from the fans. The 14-and-under team did a great job cheering for the 16-and-under team when they were playing and vice versa.
In between the practices and the shoot arounds, the girls met off the court for two sessions where they discussed topics such as communication, teamwork, and the importance of not judging people prematurely. The activity that emphasized teamwork and communication forced the girls to be dependent upon each other. There were limitations to how each girl could communicate and move about. Some girls lacked the ability to see, some lacked the ability to hear, and some could not talk. The girls had to figure out how to get from one side of the room to the other and find unique ways to communicate and work as a team with these limitations.
The activity that showed the importance of not judging people had multiple rounds where the girls chose a coach based on limited information. In the first round, the girls only knew the names of the applicants; in another round the girls knew about the applicants’ years of coaching experience; and the last very interesting piece of information added was whether or not the applicants had any disabilities. It was very interesting for the girls to see how something as simple as a name could affect their decision or cause them to form a certain assumption about the applicant. As more and more information was provided the participants were surprised at how different their ideal applicant was from their initial choice. The exercise led to great discussion about the importance of learning as much about a person as possible and the dangers of assuming.
The bonding and basketball skill already being exhibited this early in the season will make for a strong season and great year of growth!