February 11, 2014

Mental Toughness

I often talk with Coach Kate one-on-one and she always has a lot of insight to offer me, whether it’s athletic or academic. One of the very first conversations I had with her was when I attended Stanford summer camp, before I decided if I actually wanted to attend Stanford. I asked Coach Kate what I would need to do in order to be successful at Stanford. I expected a tangible answer like, “Learn to do this dribble move, get up hundreds of shots each day, or study for X amount of hours each night,” but instead she gave me something so much more valuable. She told me that my success at Stanford would be contingent upon how well I dealt with adversity.

As Stanford student-athletes, we sometimes get lost in the seemingly never-ending routine of rigorous practices, strenuous academics, and highly competitive games. In my short amount of time at Stanford thus far, I, and most of my teammates, have dealt with many different types of adversity. Some of us have had injuries, most of us have had bad days at practice, and sometimes some of us don’t do as well as we would like on exams.

Add to that the other stressors that lie outside of the student athlete “bubble” and our challenges are even more impactful. Challenges that all 18-21-year-old college students go through, like arguing with your best friend, feeling homesick, or struggling to find a social niche. Most of us have learned that it’s not the adversity we encounter that matters, it’s how we respond to it that helps us grow.

Being mentally tough as a student-athlete means learning to give yourself positive “self-talk,” staying poised and focused under pressure, and always realizing that everything we experience is a necessary part of the learning process as we strive to achieve our goals.

This season has not been easy for any of us. We’ve had self-doubts and stumbling blocks, unexpected losses and unforeseen challenges, and many other normal issues to contend with as well. But this is a mentally tough team. We believe in ourselves. We understand that we are on this journey together, and that we all have the same goal in sight.

Together, we are building a strong foundation of mental toughness, team unity, and all-around grit that makes Stanford Womens Basketball a sisterhood and an amazingly courageous unit. As our team leader and fierce motivator Chiney likes to say, “We’re not the ‘Nice Girls’ from Stanford anymore!”


Disappointment can be a blessing

Here is Chiney's espnW blog.

February 1, 2014

Let Me Explain

Hello Everyone!

Now I know this is not the first blog that one of us has written about the topic of our team’s hair preferences and it might seem like a trivial topic. Nonetheless, there is more behind our hair choices than meets the eye. The reason I have actually chosen this topic is that I have received quite a few comments and questions behind my choice to switch from my giant ponytail to my new bun.

A lot of people have been against the switch because they say it makes it harder for them to identify me when I am out on the court. A few of my own family members have expressed their frustrations about the difficulties of locating me without the giant ponytail. Now I am not presuming that everyone is concerned with finding me out on the court, however, I am sorry to those that do not support my switch for whatever reason. It is something I felt I had to do and here are my reasons why.

Over the last two years my hair has grown so that it is much longer than it use to be. Actually, if I straighten my hair it goes well past the middle of my back. This of course makes my ponytail much longer, and when I play basketball it would constantly swing around and hit me in the face. It can be quite frustrating when you are sprinting for a fastbreak lay-up and your own hair is obstructing your view of the basket. Therefore, I felt the bun was necessary in order to rein in the giant ponytail and teach it who is boss. I am the one running the show here not you.

My second reason for trying out the bun this year is because I think it represents change, which is a common theme of this season. This year our team has many new players and a different energy as well. We are a different team all together than last year, and so I feel my bun is just going along with this pattern of change. We have a new team and so I am bringing out a new hairstyle to match.

My final reason for sticking with the new hairstyle is that my Grandpa is a huge supporter of the bun. On our recent trip to Arizona a few family members of mine were at the game, including my Grandpa. While some of my other family members were expressing how my less visible hair made me harder to distinguish, my Grandpa stepped in and said that he thought the bun was very “cute”. There you have it folks. If Grandpa thinks the bun is cute, well then the bun is here to stay, because I trust my Grandpa’s opinion on hairstyles 100%. So now you all can see that even though my hair is not as large and noticeable there is more to my confined bun than meets the eye. I am not the only one who has a story behind my hair.

If you look at the progression of Taylor’s hair you can see that she has gone from ponytail, to bun, and now the braid this year. I cannot give you the full story why but her reasons are very similar to the frustrations I had with my ponytail before I switched to the bun.

As you all may know Bonnie has been consistent over the last three years with wearing her braid. However, what you all do not know is that there was a period where Bonnie struggled with braiding her own hair. She could do it but it wasn’t always the prettiest. Due to this struggle she found help from many different people on the team and staff to braid her hair for games. Today, I must admit that Bonnie has developed into an excellent braider but she still has Marcella, our trainer, braid her hair for games in order to keep the tradition alive.

So now you all see that hair is not as trivial a topic as you might have thought. In order to catch everyone’s hair in action out there on the court, or to test yourself and see if you are up to the challenge of spotting me without my notoriously big ponytail, come to one of our home games and cheer us on. We love it when the stadium is packed. Go Card!