FIBA Europe’s commitment to growing the game of women’s basketball was on full display in Postojna, Slovenia at the 1st FIBA Europe International Basketball Camp for U15 Girls, 25 – 30 June 2007.
The camp, organised in cooperation with the Slovenian Basketball Federation and featuring two players and a coach from over 20 FIBA Europe member countries, was meant to prepare the girls for the pressures and demands of performance basketball.
The participants worked on basketball basics like shooting, passing and rebounding while being addressed by doctors and officials about issues ranging from nutrition and properly treating injuries to balancing basketball with their everyday lives.
Martina Sepelkova of the Czech Republic was voted MVP of the camp while Eline Kasius from the Netherlands won the Most Improved Player award.
The players and Welsh coach Trudie Hopgood, who was selected by her fellow coaches present at the camp, will attend this year's EuroBasket Women in Chieti, Italy as official guests of FIBA Europe.
"The camp was so great, I will miss it. I really look forward watching the EuroBasket," commented Kasius.
Hopgood added: "I owe an enormous thank you to FIBA Europe for not only that incredible gift but also for the experience of the past week.
"It has been so valuable and I wish FIBA Europe the best in your goals for producing a bigger version next year! "
Hopgood's words, together with the breathtaking location and the vigorous organisation by the Slovenian hosts did not go unnoticed by FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin, who was present at the camp.
"You're developing the future. I would certainly like to help this camp grow in the future" Zanolin told the coaches present.
The coaches at the camp also attended a coaching clinic focusing on the development of the young player with special attention to the fundamental skills and mental preparation of female players.
"The quality of coaching at the camp was indeed high level. The players had a real taste of what it takes to compete internationally," commented FIBA Europe Women's Coordinator Radmila Turner.
Janis Darvaric, an expert coach in developing young talent, together with Laszlo Ratgeber, one of the top coaches in Europe, led the coaching clinic and the mentoring.
Dejan Mihevc, Instructor-Coach for the Slovenian Basketball Federation, said: "We are grateful to FIBA Europe for the trust and confidence to host and organise this prestigious event.
"We had a fantastic time and met some good coaches and players from all over Europe. We hope that next year the camp will be bigger and better."
Practice sessions and coaching apart the camp was also meant to bring together girls from different sporting and social backgrounds and cultures.
"I really enjoyed the camp. I met new people and made many friends. It also helped me understand the game and some basic stuff that make a big difference," English player Rheanne Bailey said, summing up the spirit of the camp.
Camp All-Stars: Ionescu (Romania), Tesssari (Italy), Da Clarc (Belgium), De Klein (Netherlands), Gortnar (Slovenia).