December 29, 1999

Player & Team Development at Mid-Season
The Duke Women's Basketball Team

Summarized by John Lubans
Lubans1@nc.rr.com
919 493 4979

Using an open-ended questionnaire, I asked the Duke Women's Team about the standout reasons for their individual and team progress to the middle of December, 99.

Thirteen players gave me feedback about "the events or incidents so far that have had a strong effect on your and the team's development and performance."

Influences on the individual:

1. Experiencing adversity was a dominant factor in the progress of seven players. Physical injury, bad days, or an ill parent, helped these players grow and improve.

2. The critical and constructive influence of coaches was mentioned by three players.

3. For a few, the notion of "team", of becoming a team, made an individual difference

Influences on the team:

1. For eight players, the concept of "team" as in "team chemistry" on and off the court and team trust and support had the most influence on the team's progress. The written comment, "We all stick together" epitomizes this view.

2. Two players singled out the coaches as a major influence. For example, Coach Gs clarity about player roles contributed to team development.

3. Confronting adversity was underscored by two players.

4. One team member saw the team's becoming more patient as a major influence on team. 

Appendix

Total written Responses about influences on the individual:

1. I don't know really. I know I have personally been through a lot of incidents (?) so far this year. But none of them have really changed my performance. I came in with a certain mentality and have been able to keep it up so far.

2. My injury, having to sit and watch has made me a much stronger person both on and off the court.

3. Having a few really bad days and then learning from them.

4. I think my mother getting sick has been my greatest chance for improvement.

5. Getting through my first game.

6. Basically, just adjusting to "Duke" have been the main reason for my progress to date. Learning the game, in itself, has also helped.

7. My teammates motivate and push me.

8. Meetings with Coach G and intense practices.

9. I worked out extremely hard this summer to try to improve my game. When I got here I became frustrated with a lot of things, but Coach Valley helped me pick my head up and see the things that I did well and gave me drills to do to improve.

10. After losing to Boston College I made a commitment to myself that I would never feel like another team played harder or better (or) wanted to win more than I did.

11. After the first two exhibition games I was a little disappointed in myself because Coach had said I was trying to do too much. Once I heard her say that, I realized she was right. I wasn't using my strengths to help the team. The Vanderbilt game was a huge game for me cuz it was the first time I felt I had done everything that was expected of me. And I did those things well. Ever since then, I've felt good about my game.

12. I feel that since I was injured I realized how much I enjoyed playing. Basically, I feel that sometimes we overlook how lucky we are to be able to play. Now I don't take anything for granted.

13. Being appreciated for encouraging and supporting my teammates.

Total written responses about influences on the Team:

1. I think with others not respecting us have made us progress as a team. We love to prove people wrong!

2. Everybody trying to keep other focused - emphasizing that we always need to be focused and intense. Our teammates don't let each other get down on ourselves.

3. Talks with the coaches.

4. Our unity… we are a very tight team…we really care about each other.

5. There has not been one significant incident, however our team runs off of emotion. All of us are determined to win. To date, our success has come from the fact that all stick together. Our personalities mesh well.

6. I also feel I have through a lot with my teammates on and off the court. Which in turn has helped us to bond more. I feel there is a strong sense of trust between myself and my teammates.

7. I think the losses we had early opened our eyes. Also, our wins against PSU and at V-Tech showed us that we could play with anyone.

8. I think the team began to play more as A TEAM after we had our 2nd meeting with Coach G. At those meetings, she went over our individual roles and what was expected of us. Then she brought the team together and explained them again. So we could understand what everyone else's role was too. I think it helped us play as a team because she emphasized the fact that you don't need to score points to help the team.

9. We have stayed focused and grown "off the court" tremendously. We have always had a close team but we are very tight this year.

10. After about the first week after pre-season when we started playing more games together.

11. We've meshed so well as a team that we work better together, and we're able to motivate each other.

12. I think that the chemistry of our team has gotten much better over the last couple of months has been important in our growth. We've gotten used to each other's playing style and for the most part adjusted to errors (?) on the team. We've also gained a tremendous amount of confidence.

13. I am not sure there has been a standout moment for our team. I think the thing that has played the greatest role in our success is patience. Patience on and off the court. Also learning something from wins and losses both on and off the court.