Player Interviews

Chloe Tai

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Chloe Tai is one of the seniors of the DSA Girls Program and one of the leaders on the DSA Damsels. She is a very talented and hard-working player that can shoot from the perimeter and take it into the paint. As good and talented of a player as she is, she is a team player whom is adored by her teammates. Transitioning from the U14 to the U16 elite team, we believe Chloe will quickly adapt due to her high game IQ, training consistency and overall skills. We asked Chloe a couple of questions:

DSA: What lessons has basketball taught you? How has that impacted your life? Chloe: Basketball has taught me it’s okay to miss the shot, to make mistakes, but what’s important is you don’t give up on your teammates, your coaches and yourself. It has given me a new perspective when I am about to give up and made me a much stronger person.

DSA: You have been in DSA for a long time. What has kept you training and what do you like the most about DSA? Chloe: I enjoy training with DSA because I feel like it is a place where I can fully concentrate on my basketball skills. Throughout these years, I can see how much I have improved and I have DSA to thank. Being the very few girls at DSA, my passion for basketball has allowed me to overlook that and continue training with DSA.

DSA: What are some of your goals for basketball? What will you do to achieve it? Chloe: At the moment, I’m aiming to become a better basketball player and improve my shooting accuracy. It takes experience to truly learn from your mistakes and for now, I will just keep playing basketball and make improvements as I go along.

DSA: What aspects of basketball (such as teamwork, discipline, etc.) has DSA helped you improve on? How would these concepts apply off the court? Chloe: DSA has helped in all kinds of ways like working with other people, self discipline and perseverance. All three of these concepts have helped me become a better person off the courts and I am very happy DSA has helped me with these things.

DSA: How has Chloe's confidence and self-image changed since playing basketball? Parents: Prior to joining Dream Sport, Chloe had already been playing basketball at her primary school for a while. She then joined a summer basketball camp one summer and she was the only girl. At the time, she felt that the boys treated her differently and that she wasn't given the opportunity to learn as much as she could. To my surprise, Chloe still wanted to play basketball at a higher level so I enrolled her in the girls class at Dream Sport. After several months however, Chloe didn't find this class challenging enough, so after talking to Tiffany, Chloe moved to Gio's class. This is when I saw a big change in Chloe's self-confidence. After each session, she would come home excited and telling me what she learned. It didn't matter that she was the only girl in the class because Gio made sure that everyone was treated the same. Because Gio gave Chloe a lot of encouragement, she worked really hard to improve her fitness and playing techniques. This hard work eventually paid off when Chloe was invited to join the Elite team. Her confidence level rocketed further and she consistently gives 100% at every session. Since joining Dream Sport, Chloe has learned that discipline and hard work can also apply to her daily school life and she has been rewarded accordingly. I hope Chloe will continue to enjoy playing basketball and be a big part of Dream Sport!

Cyrus Wong

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Cyrus Wong is a very tall for his age. He is the tallest player within the group; therefore, he uses his size and height to dominate games in the post. He is also a leader on the court by his voice and action. Cyrus is a member of the Elite Team and has played in many big tournaments in different places. He will now be moving to our U12 elite team and this transition will be assured by his tenacity, very strong work ethic and dedication to the game. We recently asked Cyrus a couple of questions:

DSA: What made you start playing basketball? What is your favorite thing about basketball that keeps you coming back? Cyrus: I started playing basketball because I thought trying new things would be fun and now it became my hobby, what makes me coming back is that every time I learn something in each lesson.

DSA: How has DSA training helped you on and off the court? Cyrus:DSA training helps me fundamentally and what the coaches say helps me off court like having discipline in doing everything.

DSA: You usually have the height advantage when you step on the court. What skills do you think you have to improve on to maximize that height advantage? Cyrus: I will try to improve on getting the rebound and finishing it by scoring in the post so I can take the advantage of my height.

DSA: You recently went to Shenzhen for a tournament with the DSA Elite Team. What do you learn from experiences like that? Cyrus: The shenzhen tournament helped me with working as team and seeing how other people play around the world and how we can improve from our mistakes.

DSA: How has Cyrus' behavior/attitude changed since joining DSA? Parents: Since joining DSA, Cyrus becomes more devoted to playing basketball. Great thanks to coach Gio who taught Cyrus the only way to improve himself is being disciplined and practice hard. I am truly grateful that he can put that into action both on and off the court.

Savian Bertamini

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Savian Bertamini was one of the first players to enroll in our DB Program, and has been with DSA ever since. He has become one of the top players to emerge out of the DB Program, and recently won Most Improved Player in only his 2 nd Challenge Cup! We want to get to know more about Savian, so we asked him a few questions:

1. What is your favorite aspect of basketball? What do you like to do the most? Savian: My favorite aspect and what I like to do the most are the drills, especially the caterpillar. I also like to play shooting guard and point guard positions.

2. How has DSA Training helped you become a better player? Savian: My DSA training has helped me through discipline. My coach, Gio, has told us that no matter how good you are, no matter how much you practice, the only thing that will make you better is discipline.

3. What other hobbies do you have? Do you play any other sports or engage in any other activities? Savian: I like to play tennis with my dad, I like to ride horses and I like skiing with my family but mostly, I love to play as much basketball as I can in my free time.

4. What do you like about DSA training? What would you like to continue improving upon in future training sessions? Savian: I like how everyone plays as a team because we are all like brothers and if one person makes a mistake, everyone has to do drills. I would like to improve on ball handling and reading the plays.

5.(For the parents) How have you seen Savian change off the court since training with DSA? Parents: The biggest changes we have seen in Savian are the improvements with his focus and his maturity level. He has definitely become passionate about basketball and we truly appreciate that aspect of it because basketball is a positive and healthy sport to focus on outside of academics. Truth be told, we have to give credit where credit is due - and that credit falls squarely on the outstanding coaching provided by coach Gio. Coach Gio for President!

Marco Lam

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Macro has been with DSA for quite some time and has always been the “silent assassin” type of player: quiet, never making too much noise or doing the flashy things, but can win a game all by himself with his jumpshot and hard work. We wanted to get to know more about the quiet, always smiling Marco, and so we asked him a few questions:

1. What about basketball do you like the most? What is your favorite thing about it? Marco: Achieving your goal through teamwork and having fun. I also enjoy making good shots and gaining more confidence accordingly.

2. How has DSA Training helped you in any other ways outside of basketball? (ex. Better focus, more confidence, fitness, socializing, etc.) Marco: Through playing basketball, it enhances my level of endurance and makes me stronger. Besides, my social skills with team members has improved a lot during weekly basketball training.

3. What other hobbies do you have? Do you play any other sports or engage in other activities? Marco: I have been engaging in gymnastic and ice-skating since I were 5 years-old. Recently, I have additionally participated in table-tennis training.

4. Do you want to be a professional athlete when you grow up? Or do you want to be something else? Marco:I want to be a tourist because I want to travel around the world.

5. (For the parents) Marco has been with DSA for a long time. What is it about DSA Training that you think has helped Marco the most? Parents: Marco is taught how to accept defeat with a positive attitude and learn how to be successful in the world.

Omer Kabalek

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Omer is the kind of player known as a "silent assassin". He is devastatingly fast, smart, and very tenacious on offense and defense, but off the court he barely says a word. He works hard, pushes himself all the time, but never complains (or talks at all for that matter). Although very soft-spoken, Omer has a lot to say though, and being one of the top prospects in DSA, we are glad he has opened up to tell his teammates a bit about himself:

1. What is your approach to basketball, and what role does it play in your life? Omer: For me basketball is much more than just a sport. It takes a major part of my time, not just playing and practice, but also reading and watching basketball on TV.

2. How has DSA helped your basketball game on the court? Has DSA had any influence off the court? Omer: DSA has influenced me in many ways both on and off the court. On the court I learned to read the game better and make smarter decisions on the basketball court. Off the court it influenced me to train more and enjoy training.

3. Are you the only athlete in your family? Omer: No, my younger brothers all do different sports like Judo and Soccer, My dad used to play professional basketball and my mom used to be a PE teacher.

4. What other sports do you play? Any other interests that you have? Omer: Other than basketball I don’t do any other sports. Some of my interests are running long distance, I also like watching movies.

5. What do you like about DSA training? What would you like to continue improving upon in future training sessions? Omer: I like that in DSA we train our individual skills but also game-situation and team work drills. I would like to work on all aspects of basketball but especially on the ability to shoot from midrange.

Sunny Ho

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We're honoured that Sunny was selected to be one of the interviewees. Since joining DSA when he was 5 years old, we're glad to see that DSA training has made him more confident both in playing sports and meeting friends at school. By attending the tournaments and competitions provided by DSA, Sunny has gained much on court experience. He learns teamwork and respects other players, including improvements in his skill in playing basketball.We would like to express our thank you to DSA!

1. What is your favorite part about basketball? What do you like to do most? Sunny: My favourite part is shooting and practising my dribbling. I really enjoy the moment when I score, my teammates give me a hi-5 and my parents clap hands for me!

2. How has DSA Training helped you become a better player? Sunny: The DSA training has helped me to improve my basketball skills and do better at teamwork.

3. What other hobbies do you have? Do you play any other sports? Sunny: I love to play NBA video games and Minecraft games; also reading books and playing table tennis.

4. Has DSA Training helped you in any other ways outside of basketball? (ex. Meeting friends, better focus, exercise, etc.) Sunny: The DSA training even encourage me to face challenges and never give up!

5. Do you want to be a professional athlete when you grow up? Or do you want to be something else? Sunny: Yes, I want to be a good basketball player when I grow up.

Kayan Malkani

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Kayan Malkani has been a growing and learning with DSA since its inception. He has become one of the best players in his entire age group within DSA, with an uncanny ability to find the ball and the basket. We asked Kayan a few questions to get to know him better:

1. What is the most important lesson you have learned from DSA? Kayan: I like the defensive part of the game and love rebounding. I like it because I see it as a challenge for a person of my height.

2. What is the most important lesson you have learned from DSA? Kayan: The most important lesson I have learnt from DSA is discipline.

3. What are some of your interests outside of basketball? Kayan: I love sports and like running outside of basketball.

4. Do you play basketball for your school team? If so, how has what you’ve learned from DSA helped you with that? Kayan: Yes, I play basketball for my school team. The lessons learned from DSA around team work and discipline has helped me with my school team.

5. What are some things you have learned from sport that you can apply to life off the field of play?Kayan: Team work is the most important lesson I think I have learned from sport that can help me outside.

Valerie Pang

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Valerie Pang is the most senior of the DSA Girls Program, and one of the leaders on the DSA Damsels; an all-star girls’ team comprised of the most talented girl players in DSA. She is a friend to many of the younger girls who are up and coming within DSA. We ask Valerie a few questions to find out more about her:

1. Before we get to basketball, what are some of your interests outside of basketball? Valerie: Basketball is one of my many interests so far, and I have to say snowboarding and doing drama (ironic, right?). I fell in love with snowboarding two years ago, loving the smooth movements of my board whizzing down the pristine snow, and the rush of wind that was music to my ears. Other than basketball, that would be my favourite sport. And for drama, it was something I did since I was young. Two years ago, I had my high school drama debut and even achieved numerous awards and praises. Till now, I still enjoy acting, though ironic since I was known for my sport achievements in school.

2. What are some of the lessons you have learned from DSA training that you can apply to your efforts outside of sport? Valerie: DSA has great and inspiring teachers, and I have to say they taught me an important lesson in training. Most of us know basketball moves by heart, but fail to use them on the court. What I learned in DSA is how to evolve the raw instinct and take form of intuition. Thinking constantly where my teammates are, feeling the pace on the court, knowing the next step I must take to score is something I learned from DSA and was able to apply in any of my efforts outside.

3. What about basketball do you enjoy the most? Valerie: I believe basketball is composed of 3 things - skill, cooperation, and confidence. The boost of confidence when the adrenaline kicks in the my favourite moment in basketball. For everyone, there are moments of your life when you think that you’re invincible. One of the moments was in the challenge cup, when we needed another 4 points to win with only a minute left on the clock. At that moment, I felt invincible and my legs were winged! That feeling is something that I love and enjoy during basketball.

4. What is the most important lesson you have learned from your DSA training? Valerie: The most important lesson I learned was a word Coach Gio had repeated a hundred, if not a thousand times - Discipline. Balancing sports, drama, and academical studies are a chore as a high school student, therefore self discipline is absolutely necessary. This was ingrained to my brain as playing basketball made me realise the importance of self-discipline.

5. Do you play for your school team as well? If so, what is it like to achieve such an honor? Valerie: I started basketball because I was recruited into the school team, and started liking the sport. But then after a while, we realised that we couldn’t get along therefore I started playing in DSA instead of my school team. Now that I’m in the Elite team and the Girls Team, I feel that I found a place where I can enjoy basketball as I first started, and I’m grateful for all my coaches who gave me such an opportunity so that I can achieve what I did today!

Zachary Seet

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Zachary Seet has training the DSA for many years, and since become a leader amongst the U14 age group and Elite Team. We wanted to give the rest of DSA a chance to get to know this promising young man and staple student within the Academy:

1. What is it about the game of basketball that you enjoy so much? Zacky: I find the game of basketball very fun and is probably the only thing that can keep me "in the zone". Basketball was a sport that I had grown up with and has taught me many things throughout my life. I like basketball for the excitement and how it has a little bit of everything e.g contact, running and etc.

2. How has DSA influenced your approach to basketball? Zacky: DSA/LABA has influenced me since my brother joined LABA. When I had joined LABA I thought doing push-ups, running and training was very tiring and I was very lazy back then. DSA has not only shaped my game and improved my skills but it has influenced my life outside basketball. I started finding training fun and I am more confident with my game.

3. What are some of the things you enjoy to do outside of basketball? Zacky: Outside of basketball I enjoy playing video games and hanging out with my friends. I also enjoy watching movies and TV in general.

4. What lessons have you learned from DSA that has helped you off the court? Zacky: DSA has taught me many things. DSA has taught me to be stronger and to not give up so easily. Also DSA has made me a harder working person in general as I wouldn't be the same person without DSA being here.

5. What do you want to do when you grow up? Do you want to play professional sports or have a professional career? Zacky: I honestly don't know what I want to do in the future but I'd like to start off teaching DSA classes when I am in high school as I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I'd love to be a professional basketball player in the future but I don't know if I have a chance to.

Nathan Lau

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Nathan Lau has become one of the youngest and most popular young stars in the DSA Program. He has worked hard and is among some of the youngest players to reach the 604 level. We asked Nathan a few questions to get to know him better:

1. What do you like most about the game of Basketball? Nathan: What I like most about the game of basketball is having fun and getting to know different players over time.

2. What are some of the things you've enjoyed most since you've been in the DSA Program? Nathan: I enjoy the coaches that coached me through the years and having the opportunity to be in the Elite Team. I also enjoy seeing my skills improve.

3. Do you play any other sports beside basketball? Nathan: I enjoy playing Soccer/ Badminton and also American Football.

4. Do you play basketball for your school team? If so, how has DSA training helped prepare you for that?Nathan: Yes, I do play for my School team. DSA has helped me on the fundamentals in the game of basketball. With my improved skills, DSA has lead me to be a good player on my school team.

5. What are some non-athletic hobbies or things you like to do in your spare time? Nathan: I like to draw; I am currently drawing pictures of NBA players. I also like watching Movies.

Jouis Chua

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Jouis has been with DSA for quite some time, and has grown as both a basketball player and a fine young man over that period of time. He has become one of the go-to leaders of the older groups, and a mentor and “big brother” to the younger groups. We present Jouis with a few questions to get to know more about him:

1. What role does basketball play in your life and how does it affect you off the court? Jouis: Basketball is what I do in a lot of my leisure time. I spend a lot of time on it inside and outside of school. It has made me much fitter compared to how I was before and outside the court it has helped with my organization and team work.

2. How has DSA influenced your approach to basketball? Jouis: It gave me many hard drills or skills that I can improve on in my spare time. Also tells me that basketball is a team sport compared to the street courts where many times people don’t pass the ball. Continuously training with teammates more skilled than I am is extremely helpful because it helps me improve while watching them play or playing with them.

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of basketball? Jouis: I like to listen to music and watch movies. This gives me time to relax from a tiring school day.

4. What lessons has DSA taught you that you use off the court? Jouis: I have learnt to trust my teammates rather than doing everything myself. Splitting up the workload as a team is always better than an individual in my eyes.

5. Who are some of the people who have influenced your life and why? Jouis: Coaches from basketball have taught me how important it is to manage studies alongside basketball, as the career of a player is too fragile, a severe injury can halt you and you need to survive without playing. I recognized this and after hearing it from my mentor I concentrated on studying more as well as sparing time to be on the court.

Harry Cheng

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Harry Cheng has never be afraid of a challenge. He was once a small fish in a big pond, now having worked on his skills extensively [and having perfect attendance during our training], Harry has become the best player in his class and an emerging leader on the U14 Elite Team. Recently, he was selected to the Hong Kong U14 Team; a great honor for a promising young player. We asked Harry some questions to learn more:

1. What role does basketball play in your life and how does it affect you off the court? Harry: Basketball is just as important as my life. This makes me cherish every moment and time to play basketball with friends.

2. How has DSA influenced your approach to basketball? Harry: Coaches of DSA are all professional and their training abilities are very good. Also, their aims are to develop us into a new age. They train us in many aspects such as offense, fitness, defense etc.

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of basketball? Harry: I like to play soccer besides basketball.

4. How does it feel to have been selected to the Hong Kong U14 team? Harry: It is an honor for me to represent Hong Kong and I feel proud of myself and my teammates because we faced a lot of training and problems to get to where we are now.

5. How has your training prepared you for such a challenge? Harry: Whenever I was training, I will just focus on it and stop worrying about things outside basketball. I always go to play basketball whenever I have free time and will practice my skills for about three hours like dribbling, shooting, technical etc. This makes me to be ready for any challenge standing in my way.

Natalie Lamg

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Natalie is one of the fastest rising stars within the DSA program. Her improvement has gotten her recognized across the program, especially at our most recent Challenge Cup, where she won the MVP Trophy for Group 2. We pitched a few questions to Natalie and her family to learn more:

1- How does it feel to have Natalie be rewarded and recognized by DSA for her improvement, now becoming one of the best players in her class? We were overwhelmed when we learned that Natalie was the MVP because most of the other players were boys older than her. She was very happy when she received the award because she stood out from the crowd. We believe that the award will make her more confident and competent in her dream of becoming a successful basketball player.

2-What does Natalie like most about the game of basketball? Natalie loves to learn and play with others. Since her sister is still too young to play with her, she cherishes every single practice and has never missed one. She is thrilled whenever she scores a basket and encourages her teammates whenever they score too.

3- Is Natalie the only person in her family that enjoys basketball? Daddy was on the Hong Kong Men’s Basketball Team and Mum played in the open league too, Natalie spent a lot of times watching and playing basketball with us. She also enjoyed watching NBA games with daddy very much. When an exciting moment happens during the game, they cheer and share moments together that fill our home with joy and love.

4- Is basketball the only sport Natalie plays? If not, what are her other interests? Natalie’s mother was the representative of the Hong Kong Women’s Soccer Team and still active around the soccer field, she started playing last summer and fell in love with it. She is now playing on the district team! Other than that, she also loves badminton and gymnastics. Last year, she got picked to train with the Youth Team by the Hong Kong Badminton Association, and she was also on the Hong Kong Gymnastic Team B. However, with her limited time and her consent, she has given these two sports up. Other than basketball and soccer, she still plays badminton, ice skating and piano for leisure and fun. We don’t want her burn out, so we believe that this arrangement will keep her happy.

5- How has being in the DSA program helped Natalie’s development on and off the court? Before DSA, Natalie didn’t have much on court experience. Therefore, her father chose DSA because DSA provides competitions every season, so that Natalie can utilize whatever she has learned on court first hand. Being on the team, she learns to work and respect other players. Outside the court, she has become very mature for her age having trained with older boys. She adapts to new environments with ease and interacts well with strangers. Her teachers and school mates love her. Having used what she’s learned on the court about teamwork, even school mates in other grades know her by name. Her teachers always remark about how popular she is!

Selwyn Saw Zi Hong

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Selwyn Saw Zi Hong is one of the most improved players within his age group. DSA has decided to feature him in this term’s DSA Magazine. We asked Selwyn’s family a few questions about his time with DSA:

DSA: How have you seen Selwyn change over the years since he’s began playing basketball? Parents: Since joining DSA, Selwyn has taken a keen interest in the sport and developed a better understanding of the game, including improvements in his skills in playing the game. It has also helped in team participation.

DSA: Does the entire family enjoy watching/playing basketball at home? Or is Selwyn the only one? Parents: Selwyn follows the NBA games with his family and enjoys seeing the skills shown by such professional players. This has indirectly encouraged him to improve his skills in the game.

DSA: How has Selwyn’s involvement in DSA’s program affected his life outside of basketball? Parents: Selwyn's participation in DSA has made him more confident as an athlete at school, and a superior basketball player amongst his schoolmates. It has also enabled him to better socialize with kids older than his age.

DSA: What has Selwyn learned from DSA that he can apply outside of basketball? Parents: Selwyn’s continuing interest in basketball has influenced his lifestyle in being sports focused. It has made him aware that competitive sports require commitment to training. This has encouraged him to pursue his other interests in football (representing his school team), swimming (winning at swim meets), table tennis (improves his agility and reflexes) and other athletic events (snowboarding, martial arts, running, badminton, biking). Outside DSA he has maintained his athleticism and an open social personality. Overall it has allowed Selwyn and the family to share good bonding and common enjoyment in seeing him participate in sporting activities.

DSA: What do you like about the DSA program that has kept Selwyn in it for such a long time? Parents: The years that Selwyn has been participating at DSA has been rewarding in seeing him being given proper coaching in the game, attention in improvements and developing social interactivity with the other kids. His selection for the Elite Team has further accelerated his skill development. The program provided by DSA is balanced in improving the skills while giving enjoyment in playing the game. DSA has been able to keep Selwyn's interest through their team of both international and local competent coaches that motivates and provide an enjoyable training program.

Alex Mortensen

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1) What is your approach to the game of basketball, and how has DSA affected that approach? Before I joined DSA I merely tried to play my position as well as I could and focus on how to score, which I believe works on a junior level. However joining DSA as led to understand that I can’t improve simply by knowing how to play my game but to explore and understand the roles and positions of my teammates. This not only helps in plays or set up routines but allows you to better improvise with each individual position, that is to say if I were to assist a shooting guard it would be different to how I assist a point guard or a forward. Furthermore, DSA has taught me to break down each skill and build up from a fundamental level, from trying to perfect each motion in a shot to the speed changes when crossing over an opponent or the step positioning of a given layup, the eurostep for example.

2) What is your favorite aspect of basketball? Why? I wouldn’t say I have a favorite aspect of basketball at the moment however the aspect of basketball which I am currently most enticed by is how to play when without the ball. I believe many players, at least at an amateur level, overlook this aspect of the game which makes cause for a much more self-centered play and lowers the chemistry of the team as a whole. I am and wish to delve into this aspect of the game in more depth because it would significantly increase the opportunity for teammates to shoot or at least advance towards the basket as well as making a cleaner and smoother play for the team.

3) What are some of your interests off the court? Do they relate to basketball at all? One of my main interests off the court is reading Literature. Reading Literature as a hobby as well as taking it as a main subject in school, I have somewhat improved my analytical and evaluative skills in writing and this makes reading books that much more enjoyable. In my opinion, such skills relate very closely to basketball. This is because in order to win a game one must immediately analyze the opponent and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and use this information to your advantage. Therefore, having only recently realizing this, I have tried to apply the skill set I have gained from reading and analyzing Literature to the game in order to improve my assessment of the opposing team.

4) What have you learned from DSA’s trainings and teachings that has affected you off the court? Through the advice of the coaches both in and out of game time I have come to realize one’s game is always at its best when their mind is clear and thought process and actions aren’t sprung from aggression or anxiety - however impulse, or instinct rather, is often useful. One example of using such advice off court was tackling my end of school exams, instead of become overstressed on a question which at first seems difficult, I think of all possible methods of solving the question and the answer seems to come much more simply.

5)You will be going to University soon. Do you plan on continuing to play basketball? In University I plan to continue to play basketball, joining the university team or entering in a local league and try to work myself up through the leagues. It is a sport I am passionate about and I am aiming to keep playing for a long time to come.


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