Amber B-ball

Amber O’Reilly – Represents South of England Basketball

1 October, 2018

In the past few years I have found a growing love for basketball. As my passion grew, so did my ability. In the beginning, I started playing for just the school team until I decided to take it to the next level and trial for a team; Team Solent Kestrel Girls.

Basketball is about co-ordination, power, agility, speed, control and most importantly…teamwork. To be a good player you need to have mastered all of these qualities. To be an excellent player you need to excel at all of these qualities!

Kestrels is where I have played for 2 years now, moving into my 3rd being coached by Vicky Milner. Vicky is a coach at Itchen College so she knows exactly what she is doing and pushes you to the limit. Every training session is filled with hard work and determination. Improving is the key to success. Whether you win the game or not, basketball is about noticing when you make mistakes and then working on them for future games. Training is no time for messing around!

Last season Solent Kestrels U16 girls team were undefeated in the National League which means this season we will be going up to the Premier League. This change means that our games will be much harder and we will travel further each weekend e.g. to London, Bristol, Wales etc. Although our success rate may decrease, our mental and physical rate will increase. This will push us to be stronger, further improving our ability.

I enjoy playing for numerous reasons but the main one is the social side. I have met so many kind hearted people through playing and some of them will be my closest lifelong friends. They make it better at training so you can challenge each other in every way; speed, agility, power etc. It really pushes you to beat them and compete like you would if you were in a real life game situation. They help bring the energy if you are not feeling it that session.

In 2016, I was asked to trial for the South England team, which includes Hampshire, Berkshire and the Isle of Wight. This was when I was just starting to play and still only played for the school team so you can imagine how shocked I was when I made the team! Every 2 weeks we travelled up to Reading to do a 2 hour training session leading up to a tournament in September in Sheffield which occurred over 2 days. Some teams we played against were North, South East, South West and many more. Everybody who played was very strong and earned the right to be there. Unfortunately, we only came 5th.

In 2018, I was asked to trial again and I have just recently made the South U15 team. We still train every 2 weeks for 2 hours however on the 15th of July we will have a 2 hour training session and then a game after so we can run through some of our plays properly. In August, we have an 8 hour training session from 10am-6pm. In these long sessions we cover fitness, running through plays and a core session. All of this building up to a tournament in September in Manchester.

In 2017 and 2018 from the 4th-9th of July, I travelled out to Poland to play in an international tournament playing for Solent Kestrels but representing the South of England. Last year we placed at 8th which was not very good. It was not what we were expecting as we didn’t think all the teams would be that incredible. This year however we managed to place 4th out of 12 teams! We were so happy with the result although it was a shame we just missed out on a medal!