When Maria Delgado recalled her first game for Myerscough her response started with a wry chuckle before turning into a confident smile. That change and ease to swipe aside a tough moment is indicative of the progress she’s made already.
“It didn’t really go as planned,” she admitted with a laugh. “I slightly panicked -- I won’t lie -- and I wasn’t completely sure what to do, but from that journey until now I’ve definitely come a long way in my development.”
There were a handful of turnovers, which led to limited minutes on that Saturday in October at the Amaechi Centre. But if one looked at that game versus recent performances, they would see two completely different players -- the difference now is someone full of confidence.
That confidence has grown because of her commitment to seeing improvements and that is what is satisfying for Delgado; being rewarded for the extra time spent on court or in the strength and conditioning suite to ensure she makes them.
It’s not uncommon to hear a basketball making contact with the wooden floor inside the High Performance Centre and then looking in the court and seeing Delgado working on her shot or dribbling techniques with another Academy athlete.
“It’s extremely beneficial to have access to the facilities at Myerscough,” she said. “It’s more than just coming in to training or strength and conditioning sessions -- it’s coming in during your off time or between lessons and taking advantage of any opportunity you get to better your game to help the team.”
Delgado has gone from that initial shakey debut to a place in the starting line-up for a Women’s Elite Academy Basketball League match, and a leadership role on a young Myerscough Under-18 Women’s team.
“That game at Mystics opened my eyes and has really driven me to push myself more and more,” said Delgado. “[Coach] Barney Blake always says, ‘What’s next?’ -- good and bad things will happen in a game, but it is what you do after that matters.”