FIBA.COM - CANADIAN TALENT CARLETON CAPITALIZES ON HOME COACHING

 

If rising Canadian talent Bridget Carleton wants advice on any aspect of her game ahead of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic, it only requires a request from one side of the kitchen table.

The 16-year-old playmaker can turn to her mother Carrie, whose parental support is further enhanced by her role as the local high school basketball coach.

"My mom is the reason I started playing basketball," smiled Carleton Jr.

"She continues to support me through everything and she pushes me to become the best player and person I can be, always making sure I continue to have fun in the process.

"Having a coach in the house is helpful - it's awesome to have someone who I can talk to that loves the game as much as I do."

Meanwhile, Carleton Sr. is thrilled to be able to offer an added dimension to her support for her daughter, but confessed that it can sometimes be a tricky balance to get right.

"I feel that coaching one of your children is extremely rewarding but it definitely has its challenges," she said.

"Although Bridget is not a player who needs to be pushed. It's easy to coach a player who is driven to keep improving at all aspects of her game.

"Using your best player as an example for the rest of the team is a coaching strategy that I sometimes employ. However, this can lead to an interesting ride home or a quiet dinner."

While Bridget is already developing into something of a role model herself through her basketball ability, she is continually looking upwards and trying to draw inspiration from those whose footsteps she would dearly love to follow in.

"After playing on the Cadet Team last year and Team Ontario for the past three summers, I've had the opportunity to meet some of the senior national team players.

"I love watching them compete against the top players in the world and learning from their progress."

In her first outing in Canadian national team colours last year, Carleton helped her nation secure silver at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women in Cancun, Mexico.

And her Mexican adventure is one that will always be cherished by the player who was careful to not only enjoy the competition, but also take away plenty of food for thought.

"My first major tournament wearing the Canadian jersey was definitely an experience I will never forget," said the Chatham native.

"I had a huge sense of pride playing for my country for the first time.

"Playing with and meeting girls from all across Canada that I got to share this opportunity with was amazing.

"Our coaches were able to help us improve and develop as a team on and off the court to successfully accomplish our goal of qualifying for the Worlds.

"From the experience in Mexico, I learned that at the international level every player is a threat.

"It really helped me understand the amount of training I needed to do to be able to keep improving throughout the year."

Having averaged 11.4 points per game last summer, Carleton is likely to be one of the players spearheading Canada's challenge when she gets to compete for the first time on the world stage.

Back in 2012, Canada managed to get onto the podium at the second edition of the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women and that will be a tough act to follow for Carleton and Co.

Nevertheless, the guard is definitely capable of making a splash and also being considered good enough to play at U18 level also. But the teenager is trying to take everything in her stride and is keen to keep her feet on the ground.

Carleton freely admits that she loves the game so much, she just wants to get onto the floor as quickly as possible and of course like most players, already has a pre-game routine nailed down.

"Before a game I am pretty relaxed, but just anxious to get out onto the court," she revealed.

"After the warm-up, the nerves are usually gone and I am ready to play; while the superstitious part of me always listens to music before games and I have to put my left shoe on before my right!"

And with the 1.85m point guard on board, Canada certainly look to be on a sound footing ahead of their all-important trip to Europe in late June-early July.