This past weekend was the under 18 National cup. Liffey Celtics was a host for one of the pools for the weekend. There were games running all weekend. It was so great to see the parents of my team chipping in to help make the weekend run smoothly. The parents helped organize setting up the gym making sure there were sandwiches, sweets and treats and of course tea available for in between games. One of the parents had the entire team over for dinner as well. It was nice to see the girls in an environment outside of the basketball court. They are a close group of girls, it reminded me of my AAU team I grew up playing on.
Even though I was here last year I didn’t really understand the importance of the cup until I was coaching in it. Everybody seemed a little on edge in the morning before our first game. I had another coach from the club sit with me on the bench and it was a major help. I am still getting to know my girls and she has coached them before. She knows my girls and more about the teams we were playing against than I do. We started off strong with two wins on the Saturday. On the Sunday we had to win the first game to advance to the next round of the cup. We were up against the team from Cork, Father Matthews. The game was expected to be very tough. The girls played amazing and we won by about 20. We have officially advanced to the next round of the cup! The only downside was we only had about an hour off before having to play our toughest game of the weekend, Portlaoise. The winner of this game decided on who got home court advantage which was a very big deal. The girls played so well most of the game but we ran out of gas. Some of the girls had Irish National training all week the week before, two games Saturday (some even three) and then two more games on the Sunday. It was a super long week of basketball for them. It was definitely a learning experience for the girls and for me especially as a coach. Even though we didn’t end up with home court advantage at the end, there was so much positive to take out of the weekend. I got to know my under 18 players a lot better, we advanced to the next round of the National Cup, and my super league team got a win as well! I am feeling very positive heading into this upcoming week looking to grow as a player and a coach.