Although united by a common sport, the boys and girls basketball teams have essentially different cultures, whether it is their practice routines, warm ups, or traditions. Still, both work equally as hard during the season, and both Coach Bonk of the girls team and Coach Jones of the boys team expect success from each player. Prior to the beginning of the season, I had the pleasure of interviewing the coaches and players of the two teams. Here is what they revealed about the habits and mindsets of their players:
- Question: In terms of your workout routines, how do you differ?
Girls: First, we warm up, and then we do drills, including the 11-man drill and the shell drill. We run a lot to get in shape and aim to be the most conditioned team in the division. That’s why our practices are so rigorous.
Boys: During the offseason, including summer vacation, the players practice from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every day. They condition in the weight room, go to the Edison YMCA every Tuesday, and performance train every Wednesday and Sunday. During practices, the players always compete, compete, and compete. In every drill, in every skill game, in every mock scrimmage, they compete.
- Question: What is the most decisive factor in selecting a player for the basketball team?
Coach Bonk: We look for girls who have pure hustle and don’t give up.
Coach Jones: The players we select must be ready to fully commit to the team while continuing to do well in academics, because school always comes first.
- Question: What is the best way to psych up your teammates before an important match?
Girls: The best way to get pumped up for the big game is to have a good pre-game pep talk, and to have some really good music to get you in the mood…
Boys: We remind each other that we’re a special group with the most talent and most character. We motivate each other to win with integrity.
- Question: Who are your favorite basketball players?
Girls: Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, and Michael Jordan.
Boys: Kevin Love, Chris Paul, and Bradley Beal.
- Question: How have you grown and developed as a team?
Girls: We have all learned to be open with each other and communicate both on and off the court.
Boys: All of us on the varsity team have played since freshmen year. We’ve improved our technical skills because of our experience together on the court.
- Question: How do you feel when everyone is watching and cheering during a game…and you miss the shot? How do you deal with the pressure?
Girls: If any one of us misses the shot, we shake it off, move on to the next play and try to make up for the missed shot by hustling on defense. It is important to focus on what is happening on the court and ignore everything else.
Boys: We just forget about it, and move on. You can’t change the past, so just concentrate on the future.