Friday, June 16, 2006

Day 16: Last day in Stralsund!

Last day in Stralsund!! It turned out to be a really great day for the WNT, who had an opportunity to spend their last training session in Germany with the coach of a local Division I team, and a few of his players.

The coach, Holger Schneider, arrived at the gym ready to get to work with the WNT! From the beginning, it was an intense practice, but it was nice having the men's players there to show us how to do the drills correctly. Even with the language barrier, he was very clear about how he wanted things done.

The drills started off with basic warm-ups that included ball-handling, passing, and quick feet movement. Then we moved onto defense, and then broke-up into our position groups to do position-specific shooting exercises. It was fantastic for each of us to work with one of the players in our position, really focusing on some of the specific skills we needed to work on.

After the position-shooting, we all got together to work on fast-breaks, and how to draw the goalie (while the goalies worked on defending fast break shots!). We finished with a game of "35 points"- wherein we started with 35 and every shot we made took us down one point, and every shot we missed took us up two points! The idea was to end practice when the score reached zero. (This was definitely a game we knew we'd be seeing again in our practices once we got back to Cortland). With time limited, we cut the game short and brought it in for the day. Everyone was exhausted, but very excited about what a great practice it had been.

With lunch time growing near, we headed to the hotel next door for food, while the coaches talked tactics at a nearby table.

After we got back home, the coaches gave us the afternoon off to take care of laundry, shopping for handball stuff (shoes, kneepads, and all sorts of exciting stuff that you can't get in the US!), or just relaxing.

Later that afternoon, we meet the Stralsunder HV team at one of the local handball gyms for a joint training/scrimmage session. The WNT split up into two teams, supplemented by members of the Stralsunder HV team, and we played 3 15-minute periods, after which we all gathered outside for a delcious BBQ.

As the sun went down, the WNT enjoyed good food and socializing with the Stralsunder ladies, who described what their training and life was like in Germany. It was a fun day, and a terrific way to end our time in Germany!


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