695HOOPS WHERE IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS
Lisa Long has been around the girls basketball scene for years. I had a chance to sit down with her and let her tell her story. Coach Long is one of the most accomplished ex-players in the area and I enjoyed learning about her career and what she's up to now.
Coach: I have 7th graders. This will be my third year with the MD Hurricanes. The nucleus of this group is going into its second year. The plan is to keep them together through High school. I promised their parents that I would make them better players. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and they all have improved over the last year. The best thing about this group is the parental support. The parents have brought into the system. They are not looking for short term success rather long term development. They believe me when I say that the light comes on for each player at their pace. It is a joy working with these young ladies in this environment.
695: What do you do to stay sharp and improve your coaching skills?
Coach: I surf the web for any info I can find. I also read books about athletes and coaches. I watch movies about all types of true stories of some of the great teams and coaches from the past. All of those things help me form a strategy and build my philosophy. I also attend the Women's Final Four to network and watch the clinics given by some of the best coaches in the country.
695: How do you feel about the direction of girls basketball in general?
Coach: Girls basketball is taking baby steps toward equality with the boys. I do not like the pace. The problem is with the attitude of the masses. I am waiting for the day when girls stop being afraid to be great athletes. As many people associate an agressive girl with the tag "TOMBOY" many girls shy away from the game altogether.
695:. Who is your biggest influence on your coaching style?
Coach: Vivian Stringer is my idol and reason for coaching. The way she taught DEFENSE set the tone as to the type of coach I am. More importantly the idea of team as family was instilled from day one. She trains us to be warriors on the court and young ladies off the court. Also her attention to detail was amazing. I look for the little things to make a difference because of her. Lastly as she has coached many levels of players she always knew how to form her plan as it related to the players she had.
695: How do you set up your schedule for the spring and summer?
Coach: My youth team of middle school age players runs from september to the AAU Nationals in July. Until they get to HS we will continue to begin at time and end after Nationals. In the Spring we are preparing for Nationals by practicing 2 times per week and playing in local tournaments and possibly a spring league. I look for tournaments that are not too expensive or too far away and match our skill level. By the summer as we are fine tuning for the Nationals we practice 3 times per week and attend a Team Camp and a showcase event.
695: How do you handle the criticism that comes with coaching AAU?
Coach: I take the approach that the team I am coaching is a family. We do not let anyone come in our house to destroy use. The only opinion that counts is within our own circle. Outside criticism will not affect us if we give it no value.
695: How do you manage the parents and their expectations for what AAU will do for their kids?Coach: I am honest up front as to the skill level of their child. I also believe that every young person that wants to play can learn and I am willing to teach them. My expectations do not change. I expect every player to work hard and be a team player.
695: Does coaching affect your personal life? Has it ever had a negative impact?Coach: Coaching has a positive affect on my life. As I am a single parent coaching is my personal life. It serves as a positive outlet that I look forward to. When I walk in the gym to work with young people all of the stress and strain of everyday life is put aside.
695: What is your favorite age to coach?
Coach: I do not have a favorite age to coach. It depends on the level you are coaching as it compares to the level you have reached in your understanding of the game. I think ex- players make the best coaches as they can relate to the players better.695: What's your biggest pet peeve as a coach?
Coach: Coaches that blame the players for poor production. I believe that it is the coaches responsibility to teach. If the team is not performing up to your expectations you need to look into yourself as to how you can teach them to get those things done. It is never the players fault. The coach must take the blame for the loses and the players recieve the praise for the wins.695: Thanks so much and good luck.Coach: Thanks.
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