Brittany Graham

motivation

The Excitement is Real!

basketball, motivation, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment

The past two games of the season are the kind of games as a player and coach you dream about being a part of. We're officially mid-way through the season with an overall record of 12-3 and 4-0 tied for first place in our conference, the excitement is real!

Last Sunday we played Rhodes, the back-to-back defending champs ranked 21st in the nation and the front-runner to win the league for a third consecutive year. Going into the game I definitely thought we would win, without a doubt. Then the second half starts and we go on a 18-2 run and in the blink of an eye we're up 27 points on team to beat! It was so much fun watching our girls experience that kind of success against such a great team. Afterwards, the feeling, the emotion was so indescribable all you could do was smile.

Game Day Swag!!!
Game Day Swag!!!

Less than a week later, and a very long week it was not having two games this week. Saturday we played our in state and conference rival Ogelthorpe, their record 5-10, 0-4 is no indication of exactly what this team is capable of, and how good they really are. It's one of those teams for us that poses bad matchups at times. I think more than anything I was nervous to see how we would come out after such a huge win last week against Rhodes. Often times when that happens, the next game a team will come out flat still riding the high of the last game and not focused on the task at hand.

It was a very close game all the way through. OU took a 9 point lead with 3 minutes left in the game and after a timeout something magical just happened. Magical, that's probably the best way to put into words what happened. We ended the game on an amazing 13-2 run to win 75-73, no overtime needed. The fight, determination, and perseverance the girls showed, as coach just makes you so proud! And once again, all you could do after an up and down close game like that was...S M I L E (:

If the rush, adrenaline, and excitement of the last two games is any indication of what's to come the remaining ten conference games on our quest for a title, I'd say it's going to be one hell of ride.

 

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.