Viterbo University Women’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Wednesday October 16

An excited Viterbo team departed LaCrosse, Wisconsin in the early morning, for their day long bus ride to Niagara Falls, Canada. The hungry and tired team arrived just in time for dinner at the Skylon Tower Summit Buffet overlooking Niagara Falls, which was lit with colored spotlights in spectacular fashion. After eating and viewing the falls along with a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, the team made their way to the very comfortable Courtyard by Marriott hotel for a good night’s rest.

Thursday October 17

Following a great breakfast at the hotel, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara cruise straight into the mist under the Canadian side of The Falls. Riding into the mist was truly a breathtaking experience. It was like being in a torrential downpour and despite the ponchos everyone was wearing, they were still soaked at the end of the cruise. Everyone then went for a walk along the Niagara River rapids, where the extremely fast river current travels at up to 50 km/hour and roars so loud that it is hard to talk to the person next to you. After picking up sandwiches for lunch the team continued to the Welland Canal Center in St. Catherines where the they had a chance to learn about Ontarian history and see the workings of the Welland Canal which connects two Great Lakes, Ontario and Erie, as part of the St. Lawrence Seaway connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. After lunch the team drove to London, Ontario for a game against Western Ontario University. After battling through a hard-fought game which neither team led by more than 3 points, the Lions fell behind at the end to lose by 15 points, 92-77. They then enjoyed a great post game steak dinner at Moxie’s Grill, before continuing to the TownePlace Hotel and Suites for some much-needed sleep.

Friday October 18

After breakfast the team traveled to Toronto for a guided bus tour of Toronto, Canada’s largest city. Janet, their tour guide, provided them with an interesting look at Center city Toronto, including Toronto University, multiple sports venues, city hall with its iconic Toronto sign, and several of Toronto’s many ethnic neighborhoods. They then enjoyed lunch at Fran’s, a popular city diner. From lunch the team went up the CN Tower for some amazing views of Toronto and Lake Ontario. Then it was on to Paisano’s, one of Toronto’s great Italian restaurants where the head waiter Jesse treated them like royalty. Following this great day in one of Canada’s great cities, the V-Hawks checked into the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Brampton for a restful evening.

Saturday October 19

On a beautiful Saturday morning the V-Hawks made their way into Old Town Toronto for a walking tour with their guide Adam, a native Englishman, who had a typical English sense of humor. He gave the ladies a funny and informative tour of the Old Town teaching them everything from religion, dogs, architecture, and history. Next, they had a great time with a team axe throwing competition won by assistant coach Kris who threw so well he must have been secretly practicing. After lunch at the amazing St. Lawrence Market, the team headed to Guelph to take on a very strong and undefeated Gryphons team. Falling behind early, Viterbo was never able to get it going offensively and were defeated 95-43. On the way back to their hotel, the team stopped for a post-game dinner at the Mandarin, a fabulous buffet restaurant, before returning to the hotel.

Sunday October 20

Up early the next morning, the team packed up their bus for the return drive to LaCrosse, Wisconsin and Monday classes and practice. They took with them their memories of a great team bonding experience that will help them throughout the upcoming season as well as future seasons.

Ashland University Women’s Basketball Iberian Peninsula Journey with Managing Director Jeremy Walker

Wednesday August 14th

After their overnight flight the group arrived excited and ready to explore Portugal and Spain over the next 9 days. After meeting myself and our local partners from Portugal it was off to the hotel. Having taken a direct flight which arrived in the morning rooms were not ready yet so everyone left their bags in a secure room and as a group headed down towards the river for a nice walk to get a feel of Lisbon. After the walk it was back to the hotel for lunch before heading into the center of Lisbon for a walking tour. They got a chance to learn about the city which would be their hub for the next few days while walking around and learning some history as well. After the walking tour everyone got some free time before dinner. Some used it to take the walk up the hill to one of the famed castles of Lisbon which has breathtaking views across the entire city, while others took the time to rest or shop. The group gathered together again before having dinner at one of the oldest monastery’s in the city. After dinner a very tired group returned to the hotel to call it an evening.

Thursday August 15th

A now well rested group enjoyed breakfast this morning before heading south to the ocean side village of Sesimbra. Starting at the old fort in which the town was built around, the team participated in a scavenger hunt through the city where they had to speak with locals in order to find some of the tasks and answer some of the questions being asked of them. Others did some shopping in some of the local shops and enjoyed a few beachfront cafes. After the allotted time to complete the scavenger hunt was up everyone joined together in the park and enjoyed some pizza and laughs about some of the answers. After lunch everyone enjoyed some free time which was mostly spent at the beach, and of course also eating some gelato for dessert. The next stop today was Cabo Espichel which provided views out to the vast Atlantic Ocean as well as back to the western parts of Lisbon far in the distance. Another cool part of this particular cape is that their is an old monastery and still working church which some got to enjoy on the short stop. Everyone back on the bus for one last stop which was in Setubal for a evening cruise with Dolphin Bay. This truly incredible experience included cruising out along the coast while enjoying the sunshine, jumping off the boat and into what many learned is the very cold Atlantic Ocean, as well as a Portuguese BBQ dinner cooked on the boat! After an incredible day it was time to head back to the hotel for another good night’s rest.

Friday August 16th

Time for some basketball to start the day today! It was a leisurely morning as departure was a bit later today. The group made its way to a local gym where today they were participating in Elite Camp which is known for producing some of the best Portuguese players year after year. While the team participated in everything from strength and conditioning workouts to on court drills with some of these Portuguese players the rest of the group took the morning to explore the Belem area of Lisbon before meeting back up with the team. A few tired legs were apparent after a few hours of hard work, but they were all way too excited for the next activity to not make their way quickly to the bus. The reason they were so excited is that it was time for surf school! Making our way to the beach the group was met by their instructors and eagerly started their course first learning some basic skills on land before heading out into the water. Smiles, laughs and a lot of fun ensued as they tried time after time, mostly successfully, to ride the waves. Once the course was complete everyone boarded the bus to head back to the hotel for dinner and a well-earned good night’s rest.

Saturday August 17th

Today, the last full day in Portugal, was spent just west of Lisbon in Sintra-Cascais, one of my favorite areas in all of Portugal. The first stop today was Cabo da Roca, or Cape Rock, which is the westernmost point of continental Europe. Although the wind was whipping quite a bit at this stop, and the sun was not out yet it was still an enjoyable experience and the group got to see just what some of the rugged northern Portuguese coast is like. The next stop was the fishing village of Cascais where they got some time to explore the city as well as have an excellent lunch along the main promenade. After lunch people went their separate ways to shop, check out the beach and also get some dessert. Everyone gathered back together and it was on to the final stop of the day in Sintra, Quinta da Regaleria and its beautiful gardens, fountains and secret passageways. After the group took the somewhat grueling walk up to the entrance a few went their own ways to explore everything the gardens had to offer. Eventually everyone met at the bottom of the gardens, happy they didn’t have to walk the hill again, and made their way back to the bus to return to the hotel for one last dinner in Portugal.

Sunday August 18th

Everyone was up and out relatively early today since we had a long drive to Madrid, our next stop. After breakfast and loading everything onto the bus we started the drive east with a few pit stops along the way while also stopping for lunch in Elvas just before the border with Spain. One thing of note is that upon crossing the boarder (which these days in Europe is just a sign) you have an immediate time change of 1 hour. So if you cross at 2pm it immediately becomes 3pm after getting into Spain. A few more stops, and even a team stretch at one rest stop, and the group finally arrived at their hotel in Madrid in time for dinner and a good night’s sleep.

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Monday August 19th

This morning the group was met by a local guide and started out by taking a scenic overview bus tour of Madrid so that she could explain certain things about the city. After that they were dropped by the bus at the Royal Palace and it was time to get a more intimate view of the city with a walking tour while making their way towards lunch. After exploring the city on foot a well-earned typical Spanish lunch hit the spot before moving on to one of the world’s most famous museums, The Prado. Our local guide continued her excellent service by taking the group through the museum before allowing for some free time to explore the parts she couldn’t get through, unless of course you spent an entire week in the museum! Once everyone had finished in the museum the group headed back to the hotel for some rest as it was again time to play basketball!! The game this evening was against Olimpico 64 and even though this was their first real game of the trip The Eagles started fast and didn’t stop pulling away for a 73-39 victory. After the game it was back to the hotel for a well deserved dinner and relaxing evening.

Tuesday August 20th

Today took the group outside of Madrid to the city of Toledo the former capital of Spain. Everyone’s favorite local tour guide was back with the group again this morning to lead them on their exploration of the former capital city. Upon arrival and a brief overview as well as a stop at Mirador del Valle, known for its spectacular views of the city, it was time to explore on foot. The hilltop city boasts many spectacular sights, but the cathedral is always at the top of the list for visitors and it didn’t disappoint again. After lunch it was time to return to Madrid in order to have some time to rest before another game tonight, this time vs. Madrid All-Stars. Tonight’s match-up was a bit tighter, but the Eagles certainly never got rattled on their way to a 80-70 victory, their second of the trip. After the game the group returned to the hotel for dinner and another relaxing evening.

Wednesday August 21st

Today was a free day for the group to enjoy Madrid and do some last minute things which maybe they hadn’t had a chance to do yet. Many of the group enjoyed some shopping, and it sure was easy to see that due to the number of bags in peoples hands when we all met for lunch. Others explored the beauty of El Retiro Park. After lunch myself and a group of 10 enjoyed a tour of the Santiago Bernabeu which is Real Madrid’s famed soccer stadium. The experience was unlike any other and was really enjoyed by all (especially me)! The late afternoon was again used for rest before the final game of the tour again against Olimpico 64 with a few different players arriving home from holiday. The Eagles however were again at their best and finished the tour off with a perfect record with the final score tonight being 84-53. After the game the group again returned to the hotel, but this time for one last dinner in Spain before an early morning departure home.

Thursday August 22nd

As is typical with departure day a very early wake up and trip to the airport is necessary. As with every trip you do the last day is always the toughest when you get to know a group as well as I did this one. Through some sad goodbyes I wished everyone safe travels after getting them checked in before making my way to my own flight home. This group was truly one of the best, classiest and most fun I have had the pleasure to work with. I am looking forward to watching what this team can do this year and can only hope that after welcoming me into your group as much as you did myself and Sports Journeys International were able to provide you with something you will never forget.

John Carroll University Men’s Basketball Irish Journey with Managing Director Jeremy Walker

Wednesday July 24th

After their overnight flight the team arrived at Dublin Airport ready to explore Ireland. After meeting myself and Peter, their coach driver/guide for the week, it was off to the west coast of Ireland and Galway, the first stop of the trip. After a stop for lunch along the way, the group arrived in Galway and got the opportunity to walk around a bit and gather their bearings of the city. After walking around the vibrant streets of the center of Galway everyone returned to the hotel in order to check in and have a bit of down time before a welcome dinner at the hotel. After dinner this evening most took the opportunity to head back downtown and explore the city some more. I took this opportunity to get to know the coaching staff a bit better as we explored some of the local pubs.

Thursday July 25th

After a good night’s sleep everyone gathered for breakfast this morning and got ready for the first tour of the trip. Today the group was headed down to the famed Cliffs of Moher! It was a beautiful drive along the coast followed by some twists and turns through the smaller windy roads of the Irish west coast and arrived at the Cliffs just as the weather was starting to clear. Most of the group scattered and took in the beautiful views from different areas of the cliffs. A group of about 10, including myself, decided to try to make the hike all the way out to the telegraph station at the far end of the point. The group gradually dwindled, but in the end 6 of us made the trek there and back. After a few hours spent around the cliffs, including lunch, everyone boarded the bus again to head back to Galway for a pre-game meal at the hotel. Tonight’s match-up was with local team Moycullen. It was a back and forth battle for much of the night before the pace of play pushed by the Blue Streaks became too much and the game ended 91-82 in favor of John Carroll. After the game members of both teams gathered together at the hotel for some pizza and getting to know each other a bit better. After all the pizza had been finished a few of the Moycullen players took some members of the group to a few of their favorite places.

Friday July 26th

After breakfast it was time to say goodbye to Galway and make our way to the next stop of the trip, Westport. On the way out of town there was a quick shopping stop at Connemara Marble Factory before continuing northward through the beautiful landscapes of Connemara towards the first destination of the day, Kylemore Abbey. Some of the group took the time just to explore the Abbey and it’s different rooms and artwork, while others also spent some time in the beautiful Victorian Walled Gardens on the far end of the property. For lunch today they were in for something special as they boarded a boat in the Killary Fjord and were treated to lunch and a trip up and down the fjord seeing some of the stunning landscapes along the way. A few members of the group even got the opportunity to drive the boat! After returning to land it was on the final destination of the day, Westport. After arriving and checking in to the hotel everyone was on their own to explore the city for the evening and this quaint town didn’t disappoint anyone.

Saturday July 27th

Today was a special day that everyone was looking forward to. It was the day that the group was set to climb Croagh Patrick, one of the most famous mountains in all of Ireland. It was also during the holy weekend which brings tens of thousands to County Mayo each year. A much needed hearty breakfast at the hotel this morning and then the short drive to the base of the mountain and the group set off towards the top. A few made it in record time, and what was even better was that today was one of the clearest days of the trip and so that made the group one of the lucky few who were able to see for miles when the reached the top. After everyone made it back down it was time to make the trip back across Ireland for a few days in Dublin. After a few hours, and a stop along the way it was time to check in to the final hotel of the trip and enjoy a welcome dinner. Once dinner had finished many in the group took the opportunity to explore the Dublin nightlife and a few of the oldest pubs in the world.

Sunday July 28th

After a bit of a later start today, which many used for rest after a long day yesterday the team was off to participate in a youth basketball clinic with Tuesday nights opponents, Templeogue. The turnout was great and all of the local kids were excited to get to interact with an American team and see how they would go through drills in their practices. After a solid two hours of hard work they ended with a fun game and a few giveaways before saying goodbye and heading back to the hotel to meet up with the rest the group. After grabbing some lunch at a few different places, including the famed Beshoff’s fish and chips, it was time for a walking tour of downtown Dublin. We split up into two groups, adults and players, and the wonderful local guides took the groups to the different famous sites throughout the city. Some of the most enjoyable parts were the explanations and places that were off the beaten path and mostly unknown to many travelers to Dublin. After the tour came to an end some went back to the hotel to rest a bit, while others took the time to explore some of the places they just learned more about before eventually returning to the hotel for dinner.

Monday July 29th

Today’s full day excursion took the group south to Kilkenny to see it’s famed castle, as well as another one of Ireland’s charming cities. Upon arrival at the castle we were led through by a group of wonderful guides explaining the vast history of the castle and what it might have been like living there in the various periods of history. After an excellent tour everyone went across the street for lunch at the Kilkenny Design Center, after of course stopping downstairs to see some of the local artisans work and make a few purchases. They enjoyed an excellent meal and it was then time to get to know the rest of the city a bit more by hopping on the mini-train run by Kilkenny City Tours. The funny/crazy driver lead the group through the city explaining how it grew to become what it is today and it was pretty much non-stop laughter the entire way. After the tour was over the group got the chance to do something not many do outside of Ireland, practice hurling. This very Irish game is hard to explain to those who haven’t seen it, but a few local kids were playing in the park and were nice enough to teach a few players and coaches how to hit the ball properly. A huge thanks to those two kids for sure. After this great experience we headed back to Dublin for an evening to explore the city on their own.

Tuesday July 30th

Today was another excursion day outside of Dublin, and also my personal favorite day of these tours to Dublin. After breakfast the group headed north to Brú na Bóinne to explore the ancient burial site of Knowth which is known to be older than even the great pyramids of Giza. After touring, and even having the opportunity to go partially into one of the chambers, it was on to the coastal village of Howth for lunch at a local pub and some free time to explore. The group gathered back together and headed back in to Dublin for some rest time before heading back out for another game this evening. Tonight’s game was against Templeogue at the National Basketball Arena. From the start tonight it was an extremely high scoring affair with 3 pointers being hit from everywhere which ended in yet another Blue Streaks win, 121-102. After the game finished it was straight back to the hotel as tomorrow mornings departure was very early. A few thank yous and goodbyes were enjoyed before calling it a night.

Wednesday July 31st

As I said today was a very early morning for all getting to the airport to check everyone in for their flights home. After a quick trip to the airport everyone said their goodbyes to Peter after an excellent trip. Then it was my turn to say goodbye before boarding my flight home. Although more of an until next time feeling with many of these goodbyes. I look forward to watching this team grow and hope that Sports Journeys International, and myself, helped them bond a bit more and have an experience they will always remember.

Using Your Game Notes for Mid-Season Planning

Following up our earlier blog, “Evaluating the Past Season” and “Using Your Game Notes for Off-Season Planning“, we want to suggest using your in-season game notes to take a look at where your team is at mid-season.

This is a method that I utilized for many seasons and one that requires someone on the team bench take notes during the game. These notes can be comments by the head coach, the assistants, or just things that the note taker notices during the game. The notes you see below were taken by myself during this current season while sitting behind the bench at home games and while watching live streaming of away games. During the December break, these comments were compiled into a master list, with an indication of the number of times the topics appear in the notes. The topics appearing at the greatest frequency then become the areas that need work in order to have the team make progress during the second half of the season. Many teams also use these notes during time outs and to review before half-time talks.

I have provided a sample of this season’s comments for you to see how this works. In this document, “Mid-Season Master List“, you will find a list of the topics and the number of times that they appeared in the game notes.

You can then make your own judgment about are the areas that need the most attention going into the second half of the season. This list can also contain some analysis of the topics and what needs to be done to improve that specific topic.

I hope this idea, along with those in the earlier blogs help you in looking at evaluating your season both at mid-season and at the end of the season in preparing for the next one.

Some of this information have you interested? Keep an eye on our blog for more thoughts throughout the summer as we continue this series of comments from our Owner and President Jim Walker. Want to hear about a topic specifically? Email us at info@sportsjourneysinternational.com and we will try to accommodate all requests.

Are you thinking of taking an international team tour in 2019? How about 2020, or the future? We would love to help you get started planning today. Whether it’s Ireland, any of our alternative sample tours, or even somewhere else you had in mind. Contact us, or call us at 610-390-9298 for more details.

If you are interested in videos from the past 30+ years of Greyhound Coaches Clinic’s please complete this form to order them by mail.

York College Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Friday October 12th

It was an excited group of players who gathered at York College alongside the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center, joined by President Jim Walker, for a 3:00 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. In route there was a stop for dinner at Applebee’s in Geneseo, NY before arriving at the Canadian border around 10:00 pm. It was a short drive to The Peninsula Inn Niagara Falls, CA for check-in.

Saturday October 13th

Following great breakfast at Sunset Grill, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara Cruise around the Falls and a truly breathtaking ride. Riding into the mist from Niagara Falls was like being in a torrential downpour and despite the ponchos everyone was wearing they were still soaked.

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The team then went for a walk along the Niagara River rapids where the extremely fast river travels at up to 50 km/hr and the waves are as high as 5 meters. Everyone was in awe of the powerful rapids.

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After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a several large ships on their journey to and from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting.

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The team was then back on the bus en-route to their first game at Redeemer College in Hamilton, Ontario. The Spartans started out strong and led by 17 in the 3rd quarter. However, Redeemer’s relentless pressure allowed them to take the lead near the end of the game. York had opportunities to regain the lead but fell 3 points short at the end. Following the game, they shared pizza with Redeemer and then headed to Toronto and check-in at the Hampton Inn Brampton, their hotel for the next three nights. Next, the hungry team headed to the Mandarin Buffet for a gourmet all you can eat experience which everyone enjoyed immensely. Needless to say, sleep came easy.

Sunday October 14th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, local tour guide Barry met the team in front of the CN Tower and joined the group for a Toronto city tour, exploring much of an exciting downtown Toronto.

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The team then enjoyed an excellent pregame lunch at the crowded and popular Fran’s Diner. Following lunch and a bus trip to Seneca College, the Spartans defeated the Seneca Sting by 10 points. It was a good win over the Canadian College National Champs as the team played much better than the day before. After the game, both teams joined together again for some subs and birthday cake for the Seneca coach. The team then went back into Toronto, Canada’s largest city with almost 3 million people, for some free time exploring the popular Dundas Square area. Everyone worked up a good appetite for the team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant.  The bus then took the team back to their rooms for some much-needed rest.

Monday October 15th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning the Spartans boarded their bus for a ride downtown to explore the Distillery District and Old Town Toronto. Despite a light rain the team enjoyed this part of Toronto that includes St. Lawrence Market, the Flatiron Building, and St. James Church. During the walk the team had lunch at Toronto’s Big Smoke Burger and enjoyed one of Toronto’s culinary delights, specialty hamburgers.

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After lunch they continued walking until they found their bus which then took them to their team-building activity Canadian axe throwing. This proved to be one of the highlights of the tour. Split into two teams they competed against each other by throwing axes at targets. Although a difficult activity, the team took it to heart and competed against each other with much “gusto”.

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Following a day of sightseeing and axe throwing they had a nice steak dinner at Moxies Steakhouse before driving to York University for Game #3. The Spartans saved their best game for last as they defeated the University division team by double digits before returning to the hotel for a final night pizza party.

Tuesday October 16th

After an early breakfast at the hotel this morning, the team braved the rush hour traffic and headed to downtown again for a ride to the top of the CN Tower and spectacular views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.

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After picking up subs for the return home, it was time to say goodbye to Canada. They arrived back at school with many wonderful memories and great experiences.

Marywood University Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with Managing Director Jeremy Walker

Friday October 12th

It was an excited group of players gathered who at Marywood University for a 3:00 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. Not before celebrating two very special birthdays of course. In route there was a stop for fabulous dinner at Mama G’s, in Rochester, NY, before arriving around 10:30 pm at The Peninsula Inn Niagara Falls for check-in. Upon arrival at the hotel Managing Director, Jeremy Walker was there to meet them.

Saturday October 13th

Following great breakfast at Sunset Grill, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara Cruise around the Falls and a truly breathtaking ride.

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After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a large ship in the lock on its journey to and from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting.

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The team was then back on the bus to the first game at Redeemer College in Hamilton, Ontario against Toronto University. After a hard-fought affair the result didn’t go the Pacers way in the end.

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Following the game, they shared pizza with Toronto U and then headed to Toronto and check-in at the Hampton Inn Brampton, their hotel for the next three nights. Next, the hungry team headed to the Mandarin Buffet for a gourmet all you can eat experience which everyone enjoyed immensely. At dinner Coach Mastroianni surprised the team with a once in a lifetime experience as a long time friend of his, now working for the Toronto Raptors, scheduled a visit to the Raptors practice facility. Needless to say, sleep came easy.

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Sunday October 14th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, the team enjoyed an exciting ride to the top of the CN Tower and spectacular views of Toronto and Lake Ontario.

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The team then enjoyed lunch at Subway not far from the tower. Following lunch, local tour guide Barry met us back in front of the CN Tower and joined the group for a Toronto city tour, as the team explored much of an exciting downtown Toronto.

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After finishing the tour everyone said goodbye to Barry and were given some free time to shop and explore additional parts of the city. Not before a group photo at the iconic “Toronto” sign.

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Everyone had worked up a good appetite, after all the walking, for the team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant. After dinner the bus then took the team back to their rooms for some much-needed rest.

Monday October 15th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, the Pacers headed off to their team-building activity Canadian axe throwing. This proved to be one of the highlights of the tour. Split into four teams they then competed against each other by throwing axes at targets. Although a difficult activity, the team took it to heart and competed against each other with much “gusto”.

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Once the competition had ended they boarded their bus for a ride downtown to explore the Distillery District, a rebuilt area that once was home to many whiskey distilleries.

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After spending a few hours exploring the team had lunch at Toronto’s Big Smoke Burger and enjoyed one of Toronto’s culinary delights, specialty hamburgers. After lunch, and a quick stop inside St. James Church, they found their bus which took them to Seneca College for their second, and final, game of the trip. Yet another hard-fought game didn’t go the Pacers way, but much valuable experience was gained this evening.

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After the game, both teams joined together again for some pizza and conversation. After another full day the bus took everyone back to the hotel for one final evening.

Tuesday October 16th

After an early breakfast at the hotel this morning, everyone packed up their things as it was time to say goodbye to Canada. Managing Director Jeremy Walker also said goodbye to the team before heading to the airport for his flight home. The team however had one last stop in Buffalo, NY at Anchor Bar (birthplace of the Buffalo chicken wing) for lunch. They arrived back at school with many wonderful memories and great experiences.

Drew University Men’s Basketball Canadian Journey with President Jim Walker

Friday October 5th

It was an exciting day as following classes the team, joined by President Jim Walker, gathered at Drew University in front of the Baldwin Gym for a 3:00 pm departure by charter bus towards Niagara Falls, Canada. In route there was a stop for fabulous dinner at Mama G’s, in Rochester, NY, before arriving around 10:30 pm at the Signature Inn Niagara Falls for check-in.

Saturday October 6th

Following great breakfast at Sunset Grill, the team boarded the bus and headed toward their Hornblower Niagara Cruise around the Falls and a truly breathtaking ride. Riding into the mist from Niagara Falls was like being in a torrential downpour and despite the ponchos everyone was wearing they were still soaked. After picking up sandwiches for lunch, the team continued to The Welland Canal Center in St. Catharines. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch and a chance to observe a large ship on its journey through the locks from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. Observing how the locks worked was very interesting. The team was then back on the bus towards the first game site, Western Ontario University in London. The games at Western were played by two Drew teams using a split squad system of two nine man teams that were named Drew and Rangers. In the first game Western Ontario defeated Rangers by 20 points and in the second game Drew defeated Fanshawe College by 7 points.

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Following the games, and a post-game pizza party for all teams involved, the team checked into the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in London and enjoyed a steak dinner at London Moxies. Needless to say, sleep came easy tonight.

Sunday October 7th

Following breakfast at the hotel, there was another double header in which Drew was defeated by Western Ontario and Rangers lost a close game to Fanshawe College. While the split squad teams did not produce great results it did allow everyone to get valuable experience on the floor. After the games, both teams joined together again, this time devouring a large number of party subs while getting to know each other a little better. Once everyone was done enjoying the food and Gatorade, it was time to get on the bus for a drive to Toronto, Canada’s largest city with almost 3 million people. On arrival at the Hampton Inn Brampton, everyone checked in and then enjoyed a great team dinner at Paisano’s, a local Italian restaurant. After the meal everyone headed to their rooms for some much-needed rest.

Monday October 8th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, local tour guide Barry met the team in front of the CN Tower and joined the group for a Toronto city tour, exploring much of an exciting downtown Toronto.

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After a great tour with Barry the group unfortunately learned that the overcast day had fogged in the top of the CN Tower and nothing could be seen. It was decided to set out on foot to explore some of the areas of the city they had missed on their bus tour with Barry. During the walk the team had lunch at Toronto’s Big Smoke Burger and enjoyed one of Toronto’s culinary delights, specialty hamburgers.

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They then continued their walk before finding the bus which took them to their team-building activity, Canadian axe throwing. This proved to be one of the highlights of the tour. Split into two teams they competed against each other by throwing axes at targets. Although a difficult activity, the team took it to heart and competed against each other with much “gusto”.

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After a whole day of sightseeing and axe throwing the hungry team headed to the Mandarin Buffet for a gourmet all you can eat experience which everyone enjoyed immensely.  The team returned to the hotel after the meal.

Tuesday October 9th

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, it was time to say goodbye to Canada and board the bus for the trip back to Madison. They arrived back at school that night with many wonderful memories and great experiences.

Using Your Game Notes for Off-Season Planning

Following up our earlier blog, “Evaluating the Past Season”, we want to suggest another method for evaluating the past season and then preparing a master plan for the upcoming season.

This is a method that I utilized for many seasons and one that requires someone on the team bench take notes during the game. These notes can be comments by the head coach, the assistants, or just things that the note taker notices during the game. At the end of the season, these comments can be compiled into a master list, with an indication of the number of times the topics appear in the notes. The topics appearing at the greatest frequency then become the areas that need work in order to have the team make progress. Many teams also use these notes during time outs and to review before half-time talks.

I have provided a sample of a hypothetical season for you to see how this works. In this document, “Master List“, you will find a list of the topics and the number of times that they appeared in the game notes.

You can then create a second list “Summary” which contains all of topics that appeared 20 or more times during the season and assume that these are the areas that need the most attention going into the next season. This list can also contain some analysis of the topic and what needs to be done to improve that specific topic.

I hope this idea, along with those in the earlier blogs help you in evaluating your season and in preparing for the next one.

Some of this information have you interested? Keep an eye on our blog for more thoughts throughout the summer as we continue this series of comments from our Owner and President Jim Walker. Want to hear about a topic specifically? Email us at info@sportsjourneysinternational.com and we will try to accommodate all requests.

Are you thinking of taking an international team tour in 2019? How about 2020, or the future? We would love to help you get started planning today. Whether it’s Ireland, any of our alternative sample tours, or even somewhere else you had in mind. Contact us, or call us at 610-390-9298 for more details.

If you are interested in videos from the past 30+ years of Greyhound Coaches Clinic’s please complete this form to order them by mail.

Ten Great Websites to Help You with Your Summer Planning

We are following up the introduction of our new blog series, featuring our Owner and President Jim Walker and his thoughts on off-season planning and evaluation, with a list of websites that you might find helpful while doing your summer planning. Just like players, coaches need to constantly strive to improve their coaching and knowledge of the game. So here are ten websites with free, or mostly free, helpful tools for coaches. Also if you missed our first edition of #SJIcoachescorner click here to read about Michigan Coach John Beilein’s planning notes, along with a “playing to your strengths” evaluation.

https://www.hoopcoach.org/

https://coachingtoolbox.net

http://team.fastmodelsports.com/

https://basketballhq.com/

http://basketball.coachesdirectory.com/

https://www.basketballforcoaches.com

https://nothingbutsets.weebly.com/

http://www.championshipproductions.com/news/

https://winninghoops.com/

https://pickandpop.net/

Some of this information have you interested? Keep an eye on our blog for more thoughts throughout the summer as we continue this series of comments from our Owner and President Jim Walker. Want to hear about a topic specifically? Email us at info@sportsjourneysinternational.com and we will try to accommodate all requests.

Are you thinking of taking an international team tour in 2019? How about 2020, or the future? We would love to help you get started planning today. Whether it’s Ireland, any of our alternative sample tours, or even somewhere else you had in mind. Contact us, or call us at 610-390-9298 for more details.

If you are interested in videos from the past 30+ years of Greyhound Coaches Clinic’s please complete this form to order them by mail.

Evaluating the Past Season

No matter how successful your past season was, it is important to evaluate what your team has done (and maybe what they didn’t do) to move on to the next season. Here are some personal thoughts that I have used in the past, along with 2 documents that you might find helpful during your evaluation.

John Beilein spoke at the 2013 Greyhound Coaches Clinic and his topic was planning your upcoming season based on your assessment of the past season. His previous season was the 2012-2013 season and planning for the 2013-2014 season was an ongoing process. He kept his notes in his pocket and they were organized into the following topics:

  • 2012-2013 Keys: (consisting of 7 items) Keep Emphasizing!
  • Some Things Never Change: (consisting of 10 items) Keep Teaching!
  • Things That Are Changing: (consisting of 18 items) Embrace the things that are changing!

All of these points were an interesting way to look back on a 31-8, and national runner-up, season. Here you can find a summary of these notes.

Another way to evaluate your past season is to look at the following:

  • Strengths (How can we use them to win more games)
  • Oks (How do we improve into strengths)
  • Weaknesses (How do we move them to Ok?).

Here you can find an additional document for “playing to your strengths” evaluations.

If you are interested in videos from the past 30+ years of Greyhound Coaches Clinic’s please complete this form to order them by mail.

Some of this information have you interested? Keep an eye on our blog for more thoughts throughout the summer as we introduce this new series of comments from our Owner and President Jim Walker. Want to hear about a topic specifically? Email us at info@sportsjourneysinternational.com and we will try to accommodate all requests.

Are you thinking of taking an international team tour in 2019? How about 2020, or the future? We would love to help you get started planning today. Whether it’s Ireland, any of our alternative sample tours, or even somewhere else you had in mind. Contact us, or call us at 610-390-9298 for more details.