Learning on the Beach

March 01, 2012, 3:49 p.m. (ET)

Sarah Gascon is one of the veteran members of Team USA that will be competing on the beach in Uruguay.

USA Women´s National Team Head Coach Dede Piankova knew exactly what her challenges were when she was selected to lead her team into its first international beach competition in more than a decade.   

She is under no illusions as she teaches weeks of basic training and instruction in only a few hours.  Yet, she couldn´t be happier. Piankova loves the beach game and has been working hard to give it life in the United States.

Since her selection as Women's National Team Head Coach, she has worked tirelessly to find and order uniforms, get them properly numbered, prepare lesson plans, and coordinate efforts with USA Team Handball to make this competition a reality on very short notice.
Piankova is extremely pleased by the responsiveness and effort demonstrated by her team. She likes what she sees. The Americans have good size and appear very athletic and are extremely competitive. 

Running on the sand will test any athlete and when you sprinkle in lateral movement and fastbreaks, conditioning is critical. The  team hit the sand twice in Miami prior to departure and twice in Montevideo once they arrived. 

In a players only meeting today, Sarah Gascon and Gosia Gunka were named Co-Captains by their teammates.
Team USA will participate in the opening ceremonies tonight at 7:45 PM (local time), and will face off with Uruguay in the Prime Time game at 8:45 PM (local time, 5:45PM ET).