I am an assistant women’s basketball coach at Colby College in the NESCAC. I love being able to work closely with our players and have the chance to impact their lives on and off the court. My coaches throughout my life, and especially in college, were huge parts of my life, and to be that person for our players means the world to me.
For me, basketball always felt like an escape and something that allowed me to be the most competitive version of myself. I loved that I could always see the translation of my hard work, and it kept me motivated to keep working. There were definitely times that I had to sacrifice my time and put more time into basketball in order to get to the places that I wanted to go. My junior year of high school and AAU was a year that I really ramped up my time outside of practice, to make sure I was able compete and be the best version of myself on the court. A similar thing happened after my freshmen year of college, where I put more work in the spring and summer to adjust to the college game. There wasn’t a set number of hours or time that I put in, but whenever I stumbled, I found value in the fact that the my time invested always turned into positive results on the court.
Something I’m really impressed by is the amount of extra time and work that the players we recruit put into basketball. I think there’s an increased awareness as to the commitment that it takes to play a college sport at any level, and that shows with many student-athletes in the recruiting process. There are definitely additional pressures from social media as well, to receive the best offers and show off the best highlights. I would encourage any athletes today to focus on their own path and what’s best for them, the best school for you is where you feel the best, and no one on social media can quantify that.
Every year I look back and value my AAU experience more and more. The coaching that I was able to receive in AAU was incredibly helpful to me when transitioning to college basketball. I felt confident with defensive concepts, and an ability to remember plays in a college system. Skill work is incredibly important and is something that can never be overlooked, but as a college coach we value the ability to play in a system and understand concepts as well, and I feel my AAU experience prepared me incredibly well in both of those areas.
Playing AAU provided me with friendships and experiences that I would never have had otherwise. Being around like-minded people that had the same drive that I did, on and off the court, helped create meaningful friendships and make for an amazing experience. High school sports are something that are truly special, but I always enjoyed getting into AAU season and being around people that had the same drive and desire to continue playing at the next level. It gave me a taste for what college sport would be like, and showed me what it truly meant to be a part of a team and program and that is so much of what sports are truly about.