I am hoping these will be things that our younger players read and will find some useful ideas in. The intent with these is not to say to players- why don't you shoot like Jessica Howard or why don't you become Molly Watson. The intent is to show that many of our great players became great not because of physical abilities but because of an attitude and because of work ethic. And everyone can work hard.
Jessica Howard came to GHS after playing primarily as a post player in junior high. She was through growing so her only hope was to become a better shooter. Jessica worked and worked on her shot. She did not talk about wanting to become a shooter, she just worked to become a better shooter. One of the best things about Jessica's career is that after her great junior year, she could easily have felt she had it made. She could have coasted in the off-season between her junior and senior years and still had a great year. But she was the one who came to me in March and asked when she could start getting on the Gun.
To make The System work, not only do you need a great three point shooter, but you need them to have humility. Jessica was shooting 15-20 threes per game. And most of our plays were designed so she was the first option. It would have been very tough for The System to work for us if Jessica was arrogant and selfish- her teammates would not have been happy. But an important part of why The System worked for us was not just Jessica's shooting ability, but her humility.
I am hoping we have players coming up who have watched Jessica's example and will follow in her footsteps- as workers and as good teammates.
You had always been a good player coming up in junior high and frosh-soph level. At some point things took off until by your junior and senior years you were at a different level. In my opinion you went from pretty good to great. How did this happen?
Thank you. I’m not really sure how it happened, just working hard in the off-season and understanding what we were doing better, I guess. Also, I became more confident with what we were doing and knew what my role was, so that helped.
A lot of times, players talk about how things just "clicked" all of sudden, something happens and their motivation and goals change. Was there something that sparked your increased motivation?
Coming in as a freshman I was very excited to be on varsity and for the success we would have because of the past teams I grew up watching. I feel I always worked hard in the off-season and whatnot, but after my sophomore year I just realized that in order for us to be successful, like the teams before us, I would have to work harder than I ever had. The frustration we all felt after sophomore year just motivated me to keep working hard no matter what the circumstances because I didn’t want to feel like that again and I didn’t want my teammates or coaches to feel like that again.
Could you describe your work out plan or program that you used in the off-season?
Starting April 1st of last year I started shooting on the gun- my goal being to make 12,000 3s by November 1st. I also went to weights and open gyms on the days they were scheduled. I usually shot on the days of weights and then on Sundays, but sometimes the number of days I shot was more or less. When I shot on the gun I would do sets of 25 until I made between 100-250 shots and when I lifted I just did whatever we did that week. We also had some dribbling work outs a couple of times this summer with Coach Noble. I would sometimes go running on my own, too.
If a freshmen or soph who wanted to become a successful varsity player came to you, what kind of program would you give them to reach their goals?
I would start by giving them a work out plan for the weight room because getting stronger is really important. They could lift 3 times a week and run a couple miles on the treadmill or outside. Depending on their position, I would have them shoot more or less on the gun and between sets shoot free throws. If they were a point guard they could have the option of a dribbling work out, like what you gave us last summer. If they were a post they could do some post up moves, too.
What advice would you give to a player for the off-season?
To work as hard as they can every time they lift or go to open gym, etc., and don’t make excuses for as to why they can’t be there- just go. If you work hard, good things will happen. And enjoy every minute of it because it goes by a lot faster than you think.