Wheelchair basketball star Patrick Anderson has discovered some positives while the pandemic has played havoc with preparations for the Tokyo Paralympics.
The inability to train in person has forced the Canadian national side to focus more on studying strategies of the opposing teams – providing much needed tactical knowledge heading into the summer.
“Our team, relative to the other teams, is in a different position now,” said Anderson, on an internet interview from his New York home. “We really have to kind of think matchup to matchup and how we’re going to best exploit our strengths and exploit their weaknesses.”
Anderson believes their team chemistry improves when working on this task together.
“We’ve got to know each other in a different way a little bit better by having to break down film, and come up with scouting reports on players and come up with game plans,” said Anderson.
Team Canada hasn’t trained as a full squad in over a year being restricted to internet meetings and other forms of online practice.
As the 41-year-old lives in Brooklyn, he would have to travel across the border and self-isolate away from his wife and three children for 14 days in order to practice with the team. This just doesn’t work.
Going into the Paralympics, the Fergus, Ontario, native believes they have a chance to be one of the more prepared and smarter teams. His hope is that each player has been able to sharpen up individual skills and come together as a group to analyze the oppositions game plan.
Anderson is aware of the fact he has a big influence on his teammates, and the lockdown has prevented him from taking on that mentorship role he enjoys.
Heading into the Paralympic Games, the veteran player is confident in his team’s physical abilities on the court and the level of strategic preparedness necessary to win.