Day 4 – Let’s dance

Written by Valts Rozentāls

Life gets boring if you stay within limits of what you already know. Many great people have pointed out that we should try and do new things every day – always keep learning something new, something that we did not know the day before. Additionally, we should not be afraid to emerge fully in new experiences – without overthinking! Sometimes people tend to overthink – how will I look? Will others find it funny and laugh? What if I fail? It must be too hard for me to do… This inner voice that makes us doubt ourselves before we have even taken the chance to try out that new, exciting experience. Another personal favorite of mine – What if I don’t do it right? But… you will, just as Astrid Lindgren put it nicely in character of Pippi Longstocking:

“I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.”

This is the way – believing from the beginning that we can achieve what we set our minds to, we can achieve greatness. Otherwise, what’s the point? And even if it turns out not to be our thing, at least we tried our best and made some nice memories along the way. This is the story of day four in Bögöz. Day of new experiences and giving our best.

There is something fascinating about starting your day with a quality practice. It is almost as good as cold showers and the smell of a fresh brewed coffee. Surely no one can stay sleepy while moving around, maybe still a little bit tired from yesterday, but certainly not sleepy. Morning practices include the four-station concept – every morning we organize the same four stations (ball handling, shooting, footwork, 1on1) and since day one we work to develop skills of the players and increase the complexity of the drills. This allows us to show and teach the proper structure and what it takes to develop skills over time.

After the practice we had to eat a quick breakfast, shower and rush to the local culture center. We had an appointment with a dance teacher who showed us the folks dance of the Székelys (Szeklers). As it usually is –the youth had some doubts about how they could and would handle this new experience. This is also an important part of new experiences as we learn to share our inner doubts and try to find solutions for them as a group together. This strengthens the bound between the individuals and brings us closer as a group. Dancing is also intimate experience as we must step over our personal boundaries and let other people or singular person closer to ourselves. It really breaks down the walls we set up around ourselves and takes down the shields we hold in our hands, suddenly we see each other in a different light. We all have our own doubts, but that’s just it – our imaginary obstacles and nothing more. By letting others closer to ourselves and working together, we can defeat these doubts and march stately towards the challenges the life throws at us.

The dance itself was a pleasant experience with one exception – all the sweating. It was a really hot day and despite the door and all the windows being open – the air was still. Teacher was the very energetic kind and had the aura – please stay disciplined or… We had a lot of fun learning the steps, of course we also made many mistakes, but within about an hour we did go through multiple dance variations, and I would say – did well. At some point our teacher started to dance between us to show us how it is supposed to look like and one could only conclude that she taught us very, very basic steps. One other thing I enjoyed was that the people walking by randomly stopped to watch us.

We as coaches could also see parallels between the dancing and our footwork drills. It seemed that every one of us wanted to add dancing as an extra activity to develop better footwork and coordination of our players. This is a thought that we should keep in mind for sure.

Next on agenda is lunch and after that games outside. Not basketball games though, diverse teambuilding games. The Youth, both from Hellenen and Bögöz, got split into two teams – black and red, and had to compete against each other in different team games. We played a sporty version of musical chairs, tic-tac-toe, getting a cookie in one’s mouth, picking up objects with eyes tied (and team helping just with a voice guidance) and for culmination a fun game with water which was not only exciting to play for the win (as the teams were tied), but also refreshing when water got spilled on you. At the end black team won thus celebrated as winners! Their reward was ice cream to satisfy the winners in the hot day.

We were really happy about the fact that Hellenen and Bögöz started to communicate with each other more, because it was not happening beforehand while doing scavenger hunt two days prior. This would mean we were succeeding in building the teams together and getting the youth to work together instead staying separate in two groups. It is always nice to see people grow closer, sometimes it takes more time, but maybe it is just like the saying: true friendships are like a sea – it heats up slowly and cools down slowly. Maybe this is just the case.

Evening practice started with twenty minutes of a discipline drill. The goal was to show and learn that the small things matter. If we can’t do the small things right, how are we supposed to do more complicated things right? It is important to understand the concept of small numbers: first, we must learn to handle in small numbers, otherwise we can’t handle in large numbers. In basketball we can’t skip steps. So, on we went to perform one of my favorite drills – one must make a step forward and go on to run to other side, one can’t make a step backward. This went very well! It took some time, but we got together as a team and could perform the drill six times. To be honest, we expected the players to object and lose focus before successfully completing the drill, but everybody did their best to succeed and well… they did!

Right after we went on with the training schedule. Because it was Coach Levi’s birthday – his wish was to play with other coaches against the youth team – Hellenen as well as Bögöz. We went out as five coaches against about twenty youth players. Even with tactical odds against us, we performed very well and could win with a good difference. A gift for Levi on his “21st“ birthday – this is also an insider. For the celebration we got him a cake! Unfortunately, the only available candles were 21 and we had to make it work, everybody knows that candles are a must! Another nice evening in Bögöz.

Here we go, days fly by, and we find ourselves already in the middle of our adventure. We have made progress on the court, in our minds and our hearts. All it takes is to take the step forward and dive in the unknown, new experiences. All it takes is a small doze of craziness, love and courage. This opens the whole world of opportunity and well allows us to makes friends along the way. In the heart of Romania, Bögöz.

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