Life of A Student Athlete and Coach

Mini-An Nguyen, Reporter

As the end of basketball season, 2018-2019 approaches, players and coaches reflect on their basketball season.

     The sky clears up, sun comes out, and weather gets warmer as the last week of basketball practice, games, and repetitive weekly schedules come to an end. The last week of the season is also a time of review for the players and coaches. How much did basketball really impact these individuals?

     Student Athletes may find it hard to maintain their school, social, and sports life altogether.

     Many people don’t understand how difficult it is to make time for all of that. Others think dedicating one to two hours of your day practicing a sport is easy, but there’s more to it.

     A majority of the sports at River City High School have one game a week, that is per sport. The basketball program has two games a week; the girls games usually taking place on Tuesdays and Fridays.

     On game days, players and coaches usually don’t get home on average until 7:30-8:00 pm, sometimes even later, which some may say is a con of participating in the basketball program. Especially for student athletes, who barely have any time to do their school work or have time for themselves. Their free time is so limited, and hard to work with.

     Amiyah Hall, a freshman on the girls JV basketball team, has been playing basketball for four years, playing the role of a post, wing, and a little bit of point guard. She plans on playing basketball all four years of high school, and hopefully continues to play in college too.

     When asked about the pros and the cons of playing for the RC basketball program, Hall states,

     “I don’t believe that there are any cons to playing basketball unless you think working hard is a con. Being a student athlete can have its cons. If don’t have much free time without being an athlete or you just find some subjects difficult trying to keep your grades up can be a con as that is a very hard task.”

     Following Hall’s response, Sofia Corral, who is also on the girls JV basketball team thinks the pros are “staying in shape, meeting new people, and making memories.” while some cons exist like “you don’t have time to do homework ever, you’re sore 24/7, constantly exhausted, two games and a tournament plus practice in the same week, easily getting irritated from lack of sleep.”

     Corral is a freshman and has been playing basketball since third grade as a post, and now is a point guard and shooting guard. She plays because she likes “being in shape and I kinda like running.” However, she does not plan on playing forever because she wants to find other things in life she may be passionate about, like she is for basketball now.

     Although these pros and cons are things these girls feel on a daily, this doesn’t stop them from loving the game and learning from the many opportunities they get from it.

     “I think it is fun and I like the way I feel when I play,” Hall expresses, “basketball has been teaching me hard work and discipline. This is the kind of sport that will teach you things without you knowing. Basketball has also taught me good sportsmanship, determination, how to overcome challenges, and teamwork.”

     As Corral agrees, she also adds, “basketball has taught me to give it my all because I know that no matter what, I have people supporting me.”

     As much as the players point of view matters, so does the coach.

     Coaches have the important role of guiding the players to success, and have to constantly make sure their players are listening and are learning how to execute plays. Coaches also have the role of guiding the players to meeting their individual goals.

     “Pros for coaching high school basketball is I get to coach alongside a phenomenal coaching staff. Coach King and Coach Ron are great coaches and mentors to learn from. I also get to coach alongside my friends Coach Jasmine and Coach Maurice.” Lucy Thao, one of the coaches for the girls JV basketball team promotes. “Another pro for coaching high school basketball is the growth and development I get to witness from the players as a person and athlete. They relationships I get to build with the coaches and players are a huge part of the reason why I coach.” The athletic director, Jamie King, and Ron Gully are the varsity girls basketball coaches.

     Even though looking on the bright side is encouraged, there are always cons that follow; “Cons for coaching high school basketball is you don’t get paid well and the traveling that I have to do isn’t a lot of fun because gas is expensive. Other cons is losing, and not a lot of recognition as a high school coach.” Think of it this way: every win is on the players, but every loss is on the coaches.

     Thao has been officially coaching for two years, but had been playing on a team for six years prior to taking up the coaching job. She has a lot of experience with playing point guard and shooting guard, but was able to play wing and post.

     “My love for the game of basketball is a result of why I coach. Throughout my years, with the exception of this year, I’ve always been very successfully in winning. The main reason for coaching is to teach the athletes the importance of hard work, never giving up, and supporting each other so that after high school they will be successful in life.” Thao emphasizes, as she elaborates on her passion for basketball and coaching.

     One of the other coaches, Jasmine Cordova, believes, “The pros for being a high school basketball coach is building bonds with young ladies, to teach them something about the game or life that will always remain with them. To create fun and exciting memories that they can take throughout their high school basketball journey. I think the con for myself is commuting (I hate to drive).”

     Cordova began playing basketball her freshman year of high school, and continued playing for the rest of high school, playing recreation league afterwards. Cordova is a new coach and only began coaching this years season, taking inspiration for her best friend Thao. During her high school years of basketball, she frequently played the position of a post since she had “an opportunity to be aggressive get rebounds and not dribble.”

     Also, as the season approaches, coaches and current players think about the new incoming players next year. Tryouts are always nerve racking for everyone. No one knows what to expect or who to expect.

     “Know that you are committing to basketball and it needs to become part of your daily life, and leave it all on the court. No matter how hard it is, you have to push through the pain to get better, and encourage your teammates to push themselves.” Corral advises, as she herself is just as nervous for next year as more new students will try out. Corral also hopes to get pulled up to varsity next year, and will continue practicing and pushing herself during the off season.

     Hall adds, “Advice I have for anyone who wants to be a basketball player, just do it. If you want to play whether you know how or not or never played, learn. It’s a fun sport but extremely difficult and time consuming. So, if you want to play just go for it.”

     All of this advice can be used and taken for future basketball players. As the team plays in their final games of this season, they all look forward to new plans and activities that they can now occupy themselves with. River City will look forward to new incoming student athletes, and see what they have in store for them!