Preparation hit by lack of match practice, says Francis

first_imgKINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Newly-appointed Sunshine Girls head coach, Connie Francis, has expressed concern about the lack of international match practice ahead of next month’s Nations Cup in England.The veteran coach said the squad, yet to be announced, had been training well but the lack of actual court time had been the obvious flaw in the side’s preparation.“It’s a challenging task because the other countries have already been in match mode and we are in preparation mode,” Francis told the Gleaner newspaper here.“But, I am quite confident that they will do their best because they have been doing their best in training.”She added: “They have been improving, but our only shortcoming is that we have not gotten any international matches. But we have been practising against a male team and it is work in progress.”The Sunshine Girls will clash with the top-ranked likes of world champions New Zealand, England and South Africa in the tournament which runs from January 19 to 26 in Nottingham, Birmingham and London.They open their campaign against South Africa at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on January 19 before taking on the Silver Ferns in Birmingham three days later.Jamaica face England in their final game on January 25 at the Copper Box Arena in London.The outing will be the country’s first since their disappointing campaign at the World Cup last July also in England when they finished fifth.Francis, who was appointed head coach last October after Netball Jamaica sacked Marvette Anderson in the wake of the World Cup results, said her side was in a race against time to get fully prepared for the competition.Of importance, she pointed out, were improving fitness level and working on tactical approaches.“Our fitness has to improve and our fitness trainer has been working tirelessly with them,” Francis explained.“Exams are out of the way now and so they can be at training more often because the exams were really drawback for us and so now we can work on our tactical plays.”“We will be going up against three good teams and I have to do all the video analyses ahead of the series.”She added: “I have been encouraging them to look at the games that these teams have been playing and I’m certain I will come up with my plans to see how best we can go up against them.”last_img read more

Jose Briceño and Francisco Arcia join select company in the Angels’ recent history

first_img Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone More than how they hit, the performances of Briceño and Arcia will be judged by how they work with the Angels’ pitching staff, followed by their aptitude in the tasks that only a catcher performs. They have some big shoes to fill in that regard.Before Martin Maldonado was traded to the Houston Astros on Thursday, the veteran was praised by his teammates enough to be mistaken for the Most Valuable Player of a team featuring Mike Trout. His .223 batting average was regarded as an afterthought.Maldonado, 31, won a Gold Glove Award last season, his first in Anaheim. This season he was throwing out attempted base stealers at a 44 percent clip. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Framing Runs Above Average, Maldonado rated as a neutral pitch-framer.If absorbing these tasks were easy, the Angels would have employed more than two rookie catching tandems this century. Scioscia believes that Briceño, 25, and Arcia, 28, are ready, but merely had not received an opportunity before this week.The plan is for the two rookies to share the playing time. “Both of these guys have a lot of experience under their belts on things you need to do from the defensive position of being a catcher,” Scioscia said of Arcia and Briceño. “They understand it. They’ve embraced it. They know how important it is to winning a game, and the pitcher/catcher relationship.”The past three years, the Angels have employed one coach specifically assigned to gathering information for catchers, Steve Soliz. Scioscia said this information is sourced by coaching staffs at both the major and minor-league levels.For Briceño and Arcia, the presentation of the information will be the same in Anaheim as it was at Triple-A Salt Lake, Scioscia said. The only thing that differs is the volume of data available. For example, the Angels had several years’ worth of video clips of Andrew Heaney facing Kyle Seager prior to Friday’s game against the Seattle Mariners.Besides video, the Angels’ catchers receive data in printouts and digital displays.“They will get it and they will whatever we get we get from our analytics, we’ll use it to mold it into a game plan, mold it into some common-sense options that each pitcher should have on each count,” Scioscia said. “And it’s just a catcher’s responsibility to absorb this information, to bring it into a game and to execute it.”GETTING YOUNGThe Angels purchased the contract of outfielder Eric Young Jr. from Salt Lake, making him the team’s fourth outfielder. Jabari Blash was optioned to Triple-A and pitcher John Lamb was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Young on the Angels’ 40-man roster.Lamb is recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow and will not pitch again this season.Young, 33, appeared in 47 games last season across two separate major league stints in Anaheim. This is his first call-up of 2018. Young was batting .300 with a .367 on-base percentage, five home runs and 10 stolen bases in 84 Pacific Coast League games. He saw time at all three outfield positions with the Bees and did not commit an error.Compared to Blash, Scioscia said that “Eric has a little more versatility about being able to play some center, and certainly being able to do things coming off the bench if we want to insert some speed.”ALSODontrelle Willis is filling in as the Angels’ color commentator on Fox Sports West this weekend while Mark Gubicza is in Cooperstown, N.Y. for the Hall of Fame induction of Vladimir Guerrero. … Former Angels infielder Adam Kennedy is filling in on the pre- and post-game shows for Tim Salmon, who is also in Cooperstown. … Registration for Heaney’s “Lace Up & Leash Up” 5K Run/Walk ends at 9 a.m. Saturday. Participants are encouraged to complete the race with their dog; registration fees will benefit Children’s Hospital of Orange County. The race begins at 9 a.m. at the Bolsa Chica State Beach, 18331 E. Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.UP NEXTAngels (RHP Jaime Barría 5-7, 3.80 ERA) vs. Mariners (RHP Felix Hernandez, 8-8, 5.14 ERA), 6 p.m., Fox Sports West Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield ANAHEIM – In May 2001, injuries to Bengie Molina and Jorge Fabregas left the Angels without their first- and second-string catchers for a span of 16 days. Mike Scioscia, then in his second season as the team’s manager, turned to a pair of rookies to fill the void: Jose Molina and Shawn Wooten.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Scioscia would not entrust the catcher position to a pair of rookies for another 15 years. Even then, it didn’t last long. Jett Bandy and Juan Graterol were the Angels’ catchers from July 18-23 last year, until Carlos Perez returned from a brief demotion to Triple-A.Prior to 2018, those were the Angels’ only rookie catching tandems in the last 17 years under Scioscia. They lasted a combined 22 days.Friday marked Day 2 in the bold new Jose Briceño/Francisco Arcia experiment. Arcia made Day 1 a rousing success, hitting a home run and setting a franchise record with four RBIs in his major league debut.Related Articleslast_img read more