Personal trainer and GB Maxis player Max Curle shares some of his personal experiences of the GB Maxibasketball men’s performance camp at the end of April 2021. Max runs his own business, Max Curle Fitness, so we were keen to read about his camp experience, both from a playing and professional perspective. The full blog post can be found on Max’s website – https://maxcurle.co.uk/2021/05/04/team-gb-maxibasketball/ – but we’ve shared Max’s introductory words and some excerpts from Day 1 at camp. He begins with:
“Wow. It has been a while since I last wrote anything for this journal. We all know what a turbulent 18 months it has been, so I wont say too much about it other than a lot has changed.
My main reason for writing again was to talk about last weekend (24/25 April 2021), the first of the eagerly anticipated Team GB Maxibasketball age group training weekends. Team GB Maxibasketball falls under the elite player Talent Pathway in England, allowing players to represent GB at 35+, 40+, and upward. I had originally stated my intention to try out last Autumn and, apart from a Sunday session in October 2020 held at Brighton University, this was the first time we were able to attend a facility and train/tryout.
Since I signed up, I have spent as much time on the outdoor courts as I can, 4/5 times a week in all types of weather. Tracking (almost) all of my shots and keeping stats on my computer, (closing in on 40000 now). Keeping a good fitness level is part of my job, but with this opportunity on the horizon it has been relatively easy to stay motivated over the last 6-months. For that, and the GB Maxibasketball S&C group chat, I am grateful, as it could have been easy to sit around and get into even more Netflix box sets.”
“The logistics of organising 75 players, coaches and medical staff under Covid conditions must have been a massive undertaking, and all credit goes to Sadie Mason MBE and Emma Parslow for doing so. Full medical screening, Covid testing playing histories, fitness tests all had to be completed before turning up in Sheffield. They had recruited a quite exceptional coaching roster, with Jesse Sazant being appointed the program coordinator for the Men – I remember playing for London Towers against Jesse’s East Kent teams almost 20 years ago. I have since found out more about his coaching background and his coaching experience in Canada, and I am simply delighted to be involved in a program headed by him. Jesse was joined by former BBL Manchester Giants coach Danny Byrne, Richard Parker of Birmingham Bullets fame, former Italian junior national team coach Riccardo Raggi, and the coaching talents of Brian Deacon, Karl Buitendam, Mike Martin (a former teammate of mine) and Tom Griffiths.
Mark Dayson, a veteran of international basketball, headed up the 5 person medical team, did have his work cut out with the number of players, their age and the fact that many were stepping back on court for the first time since the Covid outbreak.”
Looking back, our first day blurred into one really, Coach Danny Byrne and Coach Tom Griffiths were assigned to the 35+ group. We started with some shooting drills, if I remember rightly I air-balled my first shot, I blame adrenaline and nervous energy, after which I settled down and don’t really remember missing again during the first practice session. The coaches were looking to see how we as players adapted, how we spaced the court and made decisions on the fly. I felt quite comfortable doing this, as I have been playing at a relatively high level for a long time.
I had a couple of little private chats with the coaches and they encouraged me to be creative in the ways I sought and created space for my teammates and myself. The final session of the day was predictably the toughest, fatigue began to set in and we were being challenged mentally as players. I struggled with my shot but tried to maintain my effort and let my fitness levels carry me through.”
On his return to the designated team hotel, Max recalls:
“There were physio appointments for those that needed them available in the hotel, which I wasn’t expecting but equally was not surprised given how professional everything else had been throughout the weekend. James and I opted for Wagamamas this time, chilled for a while and then after some more stretching headed to bed at around 10.30. I didn’t have the best night’s sleep, the adrenaline was flowing, the hotel bed felt odd, the AC wasn’t right and I was thinking about various things.”
Max completed his blog as follows:
“I would like to say a massive thank you to Sadie and Emma for such a well-organised weekend, and to Jesse and all the coaches for giving us freedom to express ourselves. There were so many old friends and teammates present in Sheffield, as well as guys I played against at various points and of course plenty I hadn’t met before, all of which I got on with so well. Basketball has this strange quality in that it draws us all together in such a positive friendly manner and after the last 18 months it made me incredibly happy just to be invited and whatever the end outcome is for me personally, thank you basketball.”