From Player to Coach: Junior High Girls' Basketball Season in Review

I still remember the first day of basketball practice: standing outside, talking myself into entering the gym; convincing myself that I was not coming down with a fatal stomach virus; and mostly, trying not to show how completely inept I was feeling. I still have vivid memories of the insecurities I felt the evening of my very first basketball practice when I was in 5th grade here at Shoreline Christian. And truth be told, it wasn't too different the evening of my first basketball practice as a coach when our junior high girls' basketball season started this past January.

6th - 8th grade SCS girls' basketball

We started the season with six girls, and one more joined later in the first week. A few of them had never played basketball outside of Mr. B's PE class (much like me when I started in 5th grade). But each of the girls possessed athletic ability, and more importantly, coachability. There were a few "I can't do that"s muttered by wide-eyed girls with gaping mouths, but they always proved themselves wrong.
 
As a team of seven girls, we were the smallest in the league. But in each game, they kept fighting and grinding, and proved that each of them had a place on the court. These girls were a dream to coach: they loved to play, they continually encouraged each other, and they played like a team.

A few golden moments stand out in my head. Every girl on the team got a basket this season, and the girls were just as excited for their teammates as if they had made the baskets themselves. We tried to rotate girls into the game efficiently so that each could get a break, and every time I turned to a girl on the bench, she was ready to go in, no matter how short a time she had been sitting. Coach Julia sat with a girl on a bench one game and told her to take the fast break if the opportunity came up; as soon as she could, she did it--over and over again. Two of our smaller girls set effective screens on opponents twice their size. There are so many more little victories I could list.

At the first practice, we told the team that we didn't care about wins and losses, but we wanted them to learn the game and have fun doing it. I hope they believed us. They accomplished what we hoped for them, and we were proud of them every time we left a gym. 

Thank you Brooklyn, Louise, Josie, Olivia, Sydney, Elizabeth, and Janie, for everything you put into this season. Brooklyn and Louise, we will miss you on the court next season!

Thank you Coach Heide Brown and Coach Julia DeKoekkoek for teaming up and teaching me as much as you taught the girls. Thank you Coach Sarah for the practices you were able to come to!

Thank you parents, for the dedication and hours you put in helping carpool and keeping score at the games, and for an awesome group of girls.

~Coach Holly

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