Everyone who plays basketball wants to experience the sport in the United States. Nowhere in the world do you live so intensely. The best players in the world come together in the North American Professional Basketball League (NBA). The 21 boys from the Hittfeld Sharks basketball team at TSV Eintracht Hittfeld got to know pro and college basketball at its peak this season. On a two-week trip to Florida, Sharks Hittfeld was greeted by NBA stars Franz and Moritz Wagner.
Coaches Lars Mittwollen, Sascha Habekost, and Daniel Schuster gave the 14- to 16-year-old boy a unique experience: Before the Orlando Magic’s NBA game against the Utah Jazz, the famous basketball brothers took time to warm up to the young players from Germany and posed for photos with them. Magic moment for teens! “Rarely have youngsters been speechless,” says Sharks coach Lars Metöllen.
On the trip to Florida, German basketball players played friendlies, so the Sharks got a comprehensive view of sports life in the USA. They attended the University of Florida and had conversations with students.
On the first day of travel, the Sharks players experienced the thrill of a Florida high school basketball tournament. Culture shock: “The boys first had to deal with the schools that came with their own big bands and fans,” said Lars Mitullen. They were deeply moved by the spectators who beat their school with whips for victory.
German gained insight into American merit and coaching in sports at a private high school in Daytona Beach, which was specifically geared toward sports. It recruits students from all over the world to train them for college and the National Basketball Association.
Basketball in the United States is different: the game is played more physically on the court. However, there are no discussions with the referees. The facilities for students are comparable to those in the best facilities for professionals in Germany.
It was very important for the Sharks coaching team to visit a public high school to get an idea of how to train the students. It was not easy to connect with an American school. Strict requirements on the part of the sports federation in the states make contact with foreigners in schools more difficult, Lars Mitvollin reports. With much effort and sensitivity, the Sharks were given their morning at a new school. The Sharks athletic director showed the classrooms and all the other facilities of the school. He answered questions about school, basketball in the United States, and life in the United States in general. In the end, the sharks were able to brainstorm with the students at the technology fair held at the school.
The Germans also became acquainted with everyday life outside the sporting universe of the USA: the players lived in two large houses that provided for themselves. They felt that recycling was different in the US than in Germany.
“What the boys experienced together in two weeks will provide them with good dreams for a long time to come, but above all perhaps encourage one or the other to go abroad for a while, whether as a schoolboy, student or later professionally,” says Lars Mitvollin.
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