Brittany Graham

basketball

E.N.E.R.G.Y

basketball, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment
First day of practice!!!
First day of practice!!!

Time is continuing to fly by this season! We are about 10 practices into the season, my days are longer than ever which means of course I'm staying busy. The first few practices of the season are a lot of teaching, talking, explaining, and breaking all of the important stuff down. The ones as a player you hate, but transitioning into the role of a coach the most important ones of the season. They set the tone for the year and lay the foundation of what will be expected for the rest of the season. So basically what I'm saying is that those practices typically consist of defense, sprints, drills, breakdown drills, more defense, and more sprints...and very minimal full court scrimmages. We also have 10 freshmen and 6 sophomores so believe me when I say there is a lot of teaching! But for me, teaching is the fun part. I love breaking things down and being challenged with finding new ways to get kids to "get it." So far the energy has been great and our freshmen have been very competitive. Everyone has been working extremely hard and as a coach that's all you can ask for.

Last weekend I led our team through a fun team building day after practice. We once again did the DISC personality profile that was great for our team last year. I tried to present it differently this year so that it wasn't so repetitive for our 8 returners. Even still, it was very beneficial for everyone to dig deeper and truly learn about each others personalities to better communicate with one another on and off the court.

This year we started off with an icebreaker. I gave everyone 5 cards with different personality traits on them, and once everyone had their cards I told them to mingle around the room and trade cards trying to collect traits they each carry. Each of the DISC traits were all in a certain color, D(red), I(orange), S(blue), and C(green). At the end of the 5 minutes, everyone had to pick one of their five cards that best describes them. At the end of the DISC test, most people had the correct color of their DISC profile, interesting right? But cool, because none of them what the different color correlations meant until the very end of the test.

After doing this test myself as a student-athlete, and leading it the past two years, I can usually guess someone's DISC right on, and this year I guessed all of new freshmen in the right DISC profile.

The girls with their profile poster
The girls with their profile poster

D's are leaders, competitive, dominate, blunt, results, goal-oriented, and forceful. I's are our social butterflies, the loud and outgoing ones, fun, energetic, and optimistic. S's are sweet, quiet, loyal, friendly, supportive, and reliable. C's are perfectionist, deep thinkers, systemic, and high standards.

Every time I have taken this test I have been an S, so happy to welcome more to the team, lol.

I was also excited to introduce the team to the ONE WORD challenge. I've seen a handful of other sports teams and organizations do this and I thought it would be a great activity to do with ours as well. Everyone picked one word to give or focus on for the entire season, because even on the worst of days, your off nights when the ball just can't find the bottom of the basket...there is always something to give. So we each picked a word, and painted it on a brick. The bricks symbolizes a wall, separately 20 different pieces but together a wall is built, and nothing can break as long as we stick together.

My word for the season
My word for the season

The word I chose for the season is, ENERGY. Players can always feed of their coaches energy and I want to bring positive energy every practice, every game, everyday!

Our Wall 2014-2015 #BCWBB
Our Wall 2014-2015 #BCWBB

Next weekend we are having an inner squad scrimmage with refs that will be conducted like a real game, wish us luck!!! I'll updated with a recap on that next week. Until then, everyone work hard, stay blessed and enjoy life (:

It's Time!

basketball, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment

Well it's officially time. 2 more days until our first practice of the season, and I cannot wait. It honestly feels like pre-season this year flew by compared to last season that dragged on and on. But having a team comprised 10 freshmen, yes 10...6 sophomores and 2 seniors, I guess you could say I have my hands full (understatement).

Division III basketball is much different from that of DI and DII programs in that we cannot have any practice, workout, individual or anything else until the first official day of practice, October 15th. It absolutely sucks coming from a D1 background not getting the fall to develop your players and prepare them for practice. It's almost kind of like a big guessing game, like ready or not, I'm not sure what you're going to be like...but SURPRISE, it's the first day of practice!!!

Pre-season is completely uncontrolled in that our players have to hold themselves accountable to A. show up, and B. work to a high standard. Sounds nice if you ask me though, I just recall preseason nonstop surveillance from my coaches lurking over my shoulder timing runs and trying to kill me in individuals to "prepare" me for practice. So yeah, it's completely different!

So now I bet you're wondering how I've been spending my time since I've had zero court time so far. So here's how it went....

The first three weeks of August I had a short-lived workout phase while all of the students were still on summer break, but of course as soon as they all returned it ended. Recruiting never stops! I feel away more organized and on top of our recruiting than I was last year, I have a very organized schedule of both email and regular mail handouts of who gets what and when. I went to a few fall leagues to watch some kids play, and we've had recruits on campus every week which ALWAYS keeps me busy!

My mom also came to visit which was just amazing and much-needed time spent with my bestie.

One of the many requests I had from the girls was to find the combinations to the locks in the locker room which have for some reason been locked for 5 years now. Well check that off the list which took a good two days to sort through over 6 combinations for each locker, but anything for these girls.

So move in day arrived and workouts begun, pick up, lifting, and their not so favorite conditioning. As the girls started their workouts, I started mine which consisted of film. I went back and watched ALL of our conference games from last season, took notes, made clips, and tried once again pinpoint all of the areas we need to improve.

Also planned a scavenger hunt which took FOREVER (understatement again) to plan but it turned out awesome and was a great team bonding experience, you can watch the video I made here 

 

Shortly after, Mel ruined the laundry lol. Which actually wasn't funny, but it was at the same time.

Our mentor brunch was a lot of fun, but probably more so as an excuse for us to take a break from the sweats and running shoes and dress up and post cute selfies on insta (just keeping it real ). I also started a countdown and quote wall on the whiteboard in the locker room where everyone can leave positive messages and quotes for each other, it turned out awesome!

So next, was the John Wall dance which was absolutely hilarious which again turned out to be another great team bonding experience I had nothing to do with these moves lol, but I was proud of how it came together, watch it here:  

 

I sparingly found time to sneak in the gym to relax and shoot, I was bribed by hot cheetos my favorite (smart girl, I taught her well), and got numerous snapchat selfies when I wasn't in the office. Dressed up as an old lady for Mountain Day, and got some new gear!

So there you have it, the past 8 weeks in a nutshell. I stayed super busy, and not to mention, worked flag football and dodgeball for intramurals for my "secondary job" as an assistant coach. But now the real fun starts and I'm excited for this season unlike any other.

I'm definitely going to be updating about my life and the season a lot more, so stay tuned, just had to catch you up!!!

2 more days...

There's Nothing Wrong With Caring

basketball, faith, motivation, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment

I'm trying to figure out how I became such a positive person. It's a typical Tuesday night for me (out of season Tuesday night that is, hints no late night film and scouting reports), lying down, watching Netflix, and counting down the last 22 days of pre-season, carrying on multiple conversations with my girls. Just because messages, and three other uplifting encouragements that were much needed after workouts today.

So then it hits me, how I transformed into the coach, person, and friend, I am today.

I'm just going to be bluntly honest when I say that as a player I didn't always feel a burst of positive energy and encouragement from most of my coaches. I felt like a lot of times when I needed guidance, help, someone to reach out to me, push me, and someone to believe in me, more than not my cry for help was never heard.

Now granted, I completely understand that part of growing up and being a division I athlete is toughing it out and finding away to make it, which it did, but on my own.

I never, ever, ever, want the girls I coach to experience the misery I felt as player. If faced with adversity, which at some point in their careers they will experience just that, but they will never endure it alone. I promised myself a long time ago that I will,  always be there with them every step of the way through every failure, and each success.

I was praised and put on a pedestal when everything was going my way and I was making shots. But, as soon as I hit any kind of slump, I was tossed to side and forgotten about. My confidence was gone and if I could "no longer help the team win," it was back to the white team as a defense dummy that didn’t matter or have a purpose. Then the following week the cycle repeats itself slowly working my way back in after someone else had fallen off from the good side.

However, I guess in a way that’s kind of what college athletics as turned into the past few years due to coaches feeling the pressure to win more and more. Which in turn, has trickled-down to player-coach relationships, resulting in the harsh reality of feelings do not matter. Just do your job, make shots. Rarely did anyone ever just simply ask if I was okay, stressed out, or how my life was going.

And there you have it people, how and why I've become such a positive person over the past few years. I just want to help people. Encourage people. Make them believe, and be a reason they never quit. I remember how I felt, I remember how nobody cared, and I badly remember how nobody was there to lift me up. I know part of being a coach is making the best decision to give your chance to win. But, people also have feelings, and people and those feelings in my mind should never been over looked. Even when times get bad, there's no reason to just completely forget about someone, leaving them behind to fail. Because to me, that's when people need your help, and coaching the most, during their struggles. That's when people need that extra bit of attention and encouragement to get through that slump and know that even when they are playing at their worst, someone is still by their side helping them get back up.

I guess I just have a different way of thinking, and trust me I'm not that soft (haha ask EP). I demand a lot when it comes to basketball, I'm very critical, hard to please, and as any coach like things done a certain way (:

I don't have close to perfect relationships with the girls I coach, lol not even. I get on their nerves as much as they badly get on mine. No you can't substitute pick-up for conditioning, no you can't run 2 miles instead of 3, no it's not perfect do it again, your lockers better be clean with nothing showing, so on, and so on. I get the look, yes the look, you know THE look, the eye roll, the BUT Britt's, the talking behind my back, the talking under your breaths, what coach doesn't?

But through all of this, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I care. 1 through 18, I care. Today, tomorrow, in season, out of season, next year, 10 years from now, I will always care. On career highs, and career lows. I care. I'm bothered when I notice one of them having a bad day, stressed out from school, or broke up with a boyfriend.

Honestly, I feel I would've been a much better player had someone consistently cared about my jump shot as much as my overall state of mind and well being a person. And it's not to say I never had any, because I had some great coaches here and there that I know I wouldn't have been able to survive without, especially my lone year in Kansas (and to this day the only coach I talk to on a regular basis in all my years of playing). Because I went to three schools in 5 years (ugh), having that close knit...I can count on, go to for what ever, whenever relationship with a coach...I never had and it sucks.

So for me, giving not one, not a select few, but building that type of relationship with each of the girls I coach, giving them something I never had is something I truly value. Obviously, I've figured out that big time D1 ball is probably not suited for me to coach at because of the fact that I'm very relationship-orientated and conscious of the feelings of those around me. But, Like I said in this post "Why, Not Where," I'm here for a reason.

There's no right way to be a successful coach and get the most out of your players. But for me, positive energy, a lot of sarcasm LOL and making 1 through 18 feel special, wanted, and important just so happens to be what works for me. Being uplifting, sparking encouragement, and placing that little bit of hope in their hearts to try a little harder. Not everyone will reach their full potential when it comes to basketball, in fact most won't, and I honestly don't believe I ever reached mine. But as long as I do my part to teach,  grow, mentor, and discipline the next, the rest is left up to each of them.

I've grown closer to God this past year, and I've learned that my good fortune will come in serving others (the right way) for him through what he has placed in my heart, basketball. I know that if I become such a self-less individual and focus on 1 through 18 instead of myself that eventually my hard work will begin to surface in other aspects of my life. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about me. It’s about giving these girls the best possible experience, four amazing years as a college athlete, and serving God for a greater purpose than myself.

Focus on the people around you, pleasing God, serving others, and in turn, he will supply your needs.

Be positive, enjoy life, and most of all…be fun to be around.

Self-Discipline

basketball, motivationBrittany GrahamComment

Over the past couple of months, I've been trying to develop and maintain this thing called self-discipline. Ugh, trust me I know right. In my opinion, every successful person has great self-discipline, which why I want to improve mine. It’s something that each of us need, but it seems to be the hardest thing to gain despite the only thing in the way of developing it is ourselves. Self-discipline is defined as the following:

  1. Training and control of oneself and one's conduct, usually for personal improvement.
  2. The act of disciplining or power to discipline one's own feelings, desires, etc, esp. with the intention of improving oneself
  3. Disciplineand training of oneself, usu. for improvement.

I am a very goal orientated person. As a former college athlete, setting goals and devising a plan to reach them was a part of my livelihood. Because basketball and school were the two most important things in my life, having self-discipline came natural to me. It was simple. I wanted to be a great shooter, that was important to me, so naturally I made time to shoot everyday. Without school, there was no basketball so again making time to study and make sure my grades were always up to par, never was a struggle.

However, somewhat new to this whole adult life thing at times I find myself struggling to maintain that same level of self-discipline. Overtime, its become a lot easier to slip into a lazy slump and just accept things the way they are. After all, I'm not being yelled out, pushed by my coaches, and depended upon by my teammates each and everyday. Now, it’s all on me.

As an adult, discipline has become little less different than managing to run, lift and shoot. Personally, it has now shifted to learning to do the things that successful people on their lives consistently on a daily basis. Reading, getting better, learning, expanding my mind to think beyond the norm, not complaining, make the best of each circumstance, continuing help others, and a whole lot more. So, instead of watching my usual reality trash TV at night, I'm happy to say I'm reading every night before bed.

I've been trying to consistent blog, write, and update for years now, but have lacked the self-discipline to do so. That is until now (hopefully). I always have these crazy and good ideas to start a new project, but often times never follow through with them due to pure laziness. Successful people are far from lazy, another reason why I desperately in need of improving mine. To start transitioning for the constant act of thinking of great things, and to finally start doing them.

I just know that I want to do some pretty-cool amazing things with my life (besides basketball) and each day wasted, is one day lost. Maintaining self-discipline to do the little things without being told, doing them when you least feel like it will only help develop the habits that will then come natural. It may sound silly, but to me I’m training myself to be successful, and it starts with self-discipline.