On Monday, August 9th, Yale University’s Women’s Basketball team spent the morning with PPI – Northern Ireland at Stranmillis College in Belfast coaching basketball to 30 of our young female basketball players. The day consisted of basketball drills, a question and answer segment, and a competitive game between Yale and the Ulster Rockets, Ireland’s top women’s team. The experience proved to be one to remember for both the Yale team members, and our girls.
After some brief introductions, Yale’s Assistant Coach Thomer had the girls moving and the energy was electric! The girls dove right into relay races, shooting stations and defensive drills. The last activity was a defensive “hot foot” drill that had the girls diving for loose balls, taking charges, and jumping for rebounds.
When the basketball portion was finished, we had a great 20-minute session where the Yale players and our girls shared a few laughs and were asked some great questions. Zenab, a senior on the Yale team, talked about the experience.
“The most profound question was ‘What’s it like to be you?’ This question was…deep. I never really think about what it is like to be me or to be a part of the team, but I’m sure to a younger girl watching us at a clinic or at a game or wherever, they must be really interested in what its like to be us—young women that are all friends, playing Division I basketball in America, getting opportunities to travel the world and affect young lives. In that moment, I realized how much of an impact just our presence has on these young girls in Ireland and anywhere, and how much our personal actions towards each other are analyzed by them.”
The day culminated with Yale playing a competitive game of basketball against the Ulster Rockets. The experience provided our girls a sense of what to look forward to as they continue playing basketball. After the first half, the Belfast girls entered on to the court to participate in the game; with one Rockets and one Yale player pairing up and playing together with three of our girls. This unity was a great way to end the day!