By Dylan Tehada
For most of human history, sports and athletics have been dominated by males. Sports have the power to teach important life lessons such as leadership, team work, and mental fortitude. The sports world has recognized the importance of advocating for women in sports recently thanks to important role models, such as Sabrina Ionescu, and initiatives by other athletes, such as Kobe Bryant, to encourage women to participate in sports. These efforts in the sports world have made substantial progress in normalizing both women participating in sports and following their dreams in the sports that they are most passionate about.
Here at UPB, we are committed to these efforts to advocate for women in sports. We seek to foster a safe and inclusive environment where women feel not only encouraged to participate in the sport of basketball, but empowered to reach their full potential through the lessons that the game can teach. With this goal in mind, we are excited to host all girls training sessions at the UPB facility led by Coach Annelise Ito.
In addition to providing a comfortable and safe environment for girls to practice their skills, we also understand the importance of women role models to inspire the younger generation to get involved in sports. Coach Annelise is one of these role models here at UPB that we believe offers a great deal of insight from her experience at various competitive levels that can help young women excel in the game of basketball. She is passionate about leading this group because she understands the importance of women uplifting each other and forming a community together.
Coach Annelise recounts not having access to an all girls camp at a young age, and stated that “having an opportunity to come together with other women to get better at basketball, work on skills and also just have an avenue to be exposed to the game is really meaningful for [her].”
Coach Annelise seeks to use her knowledge and experience not only to teach fundamental skills, but also to educate and empower girls to not give up on their love for the game of basketball. She hopes that through these sessions she can inspire the next generation of women to find the same passion for basketball she has had her whole life. She understands the importance of passing the torch down to the next generation of women and aspires to be a role model for the girls in these training sessions.
“[My biggest piece of advice is,] just try to get out there and try no matter what skill level you are, no matter how many days of basketball you've been playing. Really just try something new, try something challenging, try something hard and also find an environment or a community that can support you,” said Coach Annelise.
UPB strives to be an active force in empowering women to take up the sport of basketball. This game has so much to teach and we are dedicated to help teach those lessons in a comfortable and safe environment no matter an athlete’s background or skill level. Coach Packie Turner believes that Coach Annelise’s experience and insight will be a relatable resource for young women continuing their basketball careers to emulate and look up to.
“With Annelise having played at the division one level and overseas and all her experience having lived this, it's important for young women to see that process of somebody who's been through it,” said Coach Packie.
We want to continue seeing the rise of women playing sports and we hope that here at UPB girls feel inspired to reach their full potential as athletes and follow their dreams and passions in the basketball world. Our all girls training sessions are on Wednesdays at 4:30pm, so that women can continue to grow their basketball skills and develop a strong passion for the sport. If you are interested in this training session, you can click here to sign up!