LISA THOMAIDIS: COACH'S PERSPECTIVE PART III
With the head coaching position filled and the national team season approaching, the Canadian senior women’s side can begin to move forward and build upon their recent successes.
This past summer, the Canadians’ Olympic hopes came down to the last day when they qualified for the 2012 London Games in a do-or-die game against Japan on Canada Day.
“To see our team rise to that occasion and get the job done when it was ‘perform or go home’ was tremendously rewarding and a very proud moment for us, especially to have it happen on Canada Day,” remembers Thomaidis. “Then the whole Olympic experience was just second to none, you really can’t explain the amount of excitement, the feeling of just overwhelming sense of accomplishment.”
Where some were surprised by Canada’s seemingly sudden launch onto the international stage, Thomaidis has been with the team through the past decade and seen the progress that built the team into a global contender.
“I think we’ve been quiet in building this program over the last decade or so, but the performances have been there and it’s great to see that they’re starting to be noticed,” said Thomaidis. “We have a tremendous amount of talent on the rise as well, so where we see this team heading in the future is very promising and very exciting for us. We’re looking forward.”
“We have to keep building on the success that we had,” Thomaidis continues. “The big thing for us is to continue on the path that we’ve created and hopefully returning the core of our athletes that were successful in London and integrating maybe some new, younger athletes at the start of this quadrennial and providing them with the benchmark for where they need to be to be the best in the world.”
For a program that has built themselves into an international power, the goal must now be to continue to climb that ladder and not to be satisfied with simply qualifying for the World Championships and Olympic Games, instead putting on podium performances once they get there.
It’s a winning mentality that Thomaidis, her coaching staff, and the rest of the coaches at all of the developmental levels are working to instill in the players. These support and training systems will then give the athletes the opportunity to be successful.
The next steps for the senior women’s program are going to be taken shortly as school and club seasons wrap up and players begin to report for national team training camp.
“In May we’re going to have our first tryout and training camp,” said Thomaidis. “From there we have a tremendous competitive schedule this summer with an opportunity to play a number of different nations who have been at the Olympic Games, who anticipate will be at World Championships, so very high level competition.”
“We’re going to first do a European tour where we go to France, Serbia, Montenegro, and Czech Republic, then we have competitions in China and a tournament in Brazil and that all leads us to the FIBA Americas championship in Mexico and that’s in late September so lots of opportunity.”
With the proper systems in place for a number of years, the team that has been marinating through the developmental ranks now has the opportunity to cook their competition on the international level with an experienced and dedicated head coach who has been developing alongside them. All the ingredients seem to be coming together and Thomaidis is ready to lead the Canadian women into what looks to be another promising national season, and beyond.