DURHAM, N.C.-- Hey everyone! It’s good to be back! Last week I was in Colorado Springs at the USA Basketball U-23 National Team training camp. About 35 women’s college basketball players from all over the country were invited to try out for the first ever U23 team trials that will be competing in Tokyo August 10-15th. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make the team due to my commitments to graduate school and our upcoming foreign tour trip to Italy (woohoo!), but I still wanted to go out and compete regardless!
I’ve had nothing but great experiences in the past with USA Basketball playing with the U16, U17, and 3v3 team, so I was excited to get back out to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, even if it meant I couldn’t compete for a gold medal this time. Getting invited to try out for Team USA is always an honor and it was definitely a great week getting to compete against the top players in college basketball and listen and learn from some of the best coaches in the game.
The training camp was led by Geno Auriemma, but also included the likes of Coach Jeff Walz from Louisville, Dawn Staley from South Carolina, Courtney Banghart from Princeton, Cori Close from UCLA and Kara Lawson to name a few. Throughout the week Coach Auriemma gave a series of insightful lectures on various topics around the game of basketball and life. A few points stuck out to me…
1. There are 2 types of players
• Dynamic and Static. Static players stay consistent. They do the bare minimum and expect others to drag them along. These players are focused on themselves and bring down the energy of the team. Then there are dynamic players. These players come prepared every day with a consistent work ethic. They practice as hard as they play and focus on how to make others around them better. They lead, work hard, and bring life and energy to a team.
2. There are 2 types of teams
• Teams coached by the coaches and teams coached by the players. Teams coached by the coaches expect the coaches to bring the energy every day. Eventually this becomes exhausting and the coaches end up dragging their teams to get through every day. On teams coached by the players, the players make sure everything is running smoothly. They make sure everyone is dressed properly, knows the plays, and speak up before the coaches have to. These teams are the most successful and have the best team chemistry.
3. Today’s Society is Narcissistic
• In reality no one cares. In today’s society with social media everyone is worried about what everyone else thinks of them. People have become obsessed with trying to show everyone else what they’re doing through social media and getting as many likes and followers as possible. But in reality, no one cares about what you’re doing, but is only cared about what you think of them. It’s easy to give into today’s trends of individualism, but relationships and real life interaction go way farther. The special kids don’t give into this. They keep their personal business to themselves, don’t care what others think, and spend time investing in making others better.
4. Do the Little Things
• Lastly, do the little things to separate yourself. The talent margin continues to narrow as competition level rises. At the highest level, everyone is just as talented as the player their competing against. But it’s those kids that do the little things (taking warmups seriously, nutrition, recovery, representing themselves in the best way possible, being respectful), that get noticed.
Coach Auriemma’s points helped put a different perspective on things that I hope to translate to both our team and my own career. All in all, it was a great experience, I met some awesome people, and got another chance to wear USA across my chest. Plus, my team won the championship, whoop whoop! Now were back on the grind at Duke with one more week of practice, then off to Italy! Can’t wait! :)