Kaitlyn is one of 2 7th graders on this team. Considering she’s spent the entire day with me today at History Fair, it’s only appropriate that she’s the focus of today’s post.
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Coaches talk a lot about enthusiasm. It’s very cliche and obnoxious. But I live and breath it, so when a player comes along that matches my enthusiasm, I’m excited! Kaitlyn is the polite, sweet, smart girl turned monster on the basketball court. She runs everywhere in practice. She literally never complains or makes an excuse. She was hustling full speed for a ball – out of bounds – during a drill, and collided with a player into a wall. With her head. She wouldn’t stop practicing. I had to go get her and take her out. And she’s always happy. Joyful, even. With everyone on a mission for greatness, it’s nice to be reminded that this thing is supposed to be fun. Kaitlyn is the personification of enthusiasm!
Now, the “nothing great comes without” is the key here. Kaitlyn is becoming great, and doing so at a sacrifice. She’s sacrificed playing time; surely she would have been a star for JV. But that season is 5 weeks long. There’s not much development time there. Instead, she’s learning, working, and a major part of a very good team. Going back to summer, this kid has worked at every part of a post players’ game. Rebounding with weighted balls. Starting transition drills from the left side so she can improve her left hand finishing.
Her enthusiasm has inflated her ability to a point where she’s not only gotten on the 8th grade team a year early, but she’s rising up the depth chart at the right time of the year. Her abundant enthusiasm is making her, and this team, great. Case in point: We’re losing 10-5, at Jefferson, without our team leader (out for the game with a sprained ankle). When a teammate dives out of bounds to save a loose ball, she recovers it, drop steps, and finishes. On the left side. A turnover becomes a huge turning point – we set up our press and take 2 charges, hit 2 3’s and take a 13-10 lead in a matter of what seems like seconds. And it started with a left hand finish. The same finish she voluntarily practices every day. That swing doesn’t happen without Kaitlyn’s enthusiasm.