Canada basketball
Canada Basketball

Women's High Performance offers virtual development opportunities for age-group athletes

U16 Women

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Dec 9, 2020

TORONTO, ON (December 9, 2020) – As a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Canada Basketball’s Women’s High Performance program has adapted over the past several months to deliver virtual programming to nationally identified age-group athletes.

95 athletes from across the country have been invited to participate in the Women’s High Performance Age-Group Virtual Camp from December 14-18, 2020. The camp is being hosted online and will offer participants an opportunity to continue their development through online programming and training sessions.

“Given the pandemic, we had to be innovative in finding alternative methods to continue the important work of developing young athletes and coaches in our Podium Pathway,” said Denise Dignard, Director, Women’s High Performance.  “I commend our staff for embracing the challenge of creating learning environments in which athletes are fully engaged and can thrive in as observed by an increase in depth of knowledge, communication with a common language and detailed analysis of game footage." 

“The objective of developing self-directed, self-reliant, and resilient young females on and off the court is definitely being achieved,” Dignard said.

This year’s virtual camp will feature five daily online sessions focused on individual player development including physical, social and emotional pillars, as well as growing their knowledge and understanding of the game.

Canada Basketball’s women’s high-performance program first launched online programming for its age-group players in May with weekly online summer sessions, a two-month series featuring expert presentations, panels, and Q&A sessions on the following topics:

SWNT Athlete Panel: Miranda Ayim, Miah-Marie Langlois, Kim Gaucher, and Shaina Pellington

Strength & Conditioning / Prehab: Lauren Buschmann (Basketball Scientist / IST Manager, Women's High Performance, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario/Canada Basketball)

Playing Professional Panel: Kayla Alexander, Sami Hill, and Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe

Choosing a University Panel: Natalie Achonwa, Laeticia Amihere, Bridget Carleton, and Aaliyah Edwards

Mental Performance: Bryce Tully (SWNT Mental Performance Consultant, Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic)

Culture: Various coaching staff members

Nutrition: Christine St. Clair (Sport Nutritionist, Canadian Sport Institute Ontario)

These online sessions were designed to connect athletes and coaches with guest speakers, continue technical and tactical conversations, discuss physical and mental performance education, create individual development plans and to help athletes adapt to new training realities.

In addition, virtual training camps and touch points were offered to athletes across the U16/U17 and U18/U19 age-groups throughout the fall.

“The basketball landscape has been a challenging one for our U19 athletes in recent times, however, I must commend their adaptability and commitment to improving,” said Fabian McKenzie, U19 Head Coach. “We have challenged them to learn in a different manner and they have responded at a championship level."

“Through our virtual sessions they have heightened their awareness of our culture and style of play, while digging deeper into how to improve individual and team performance,” said McKenzie “Their growth has been tremendous and I am excited for our upcoming virtual camp and future on court training.”

Assessment camps, which are typically held annually in-person in December and March, have had a major impact on the growth of the women’s program, including: NextGen athletes, coaches, IST staff, and partners.   

“As a U16 Women’s National Team coaching staff, we have been so impressed with the willingness to learn the game and the depth of understanding from our age group athletes,” said Cheryl Jean-Paul, U16 Head Coach.  “They have shown great resolve to not let these challenging times take away their opportunities to improve even though the forum is completely virtual."

"The long-term benefits will positively impact their continued growth from a socio-emotional, mental and physical perspective and we are thankful that we are still able to meet, teach and grow together as a Canada Basketball family,” Jean-Paul said.

Canada is currently ranked 4th overall in the FIBA women's age-group rankings.

A full list of athletes, coaches and staff invited to the December virtual camp is below.