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April 16, 2013

China Crosby was one of 50 athletes selected to participate in the WBCA’s “So You Want to be A Coach” program. The two-and-a-half day workshop is held during the WBCA National Convention each year was designed to increase the amount of women in the coaching profession, with an emphasis on female minorities, by providing a workshop based on educational and professional principles to help those interested in the field. Interested players have to go through a very competitive application process to be selected to attend the seminar, which was held this year April 5-7 in New Orleans.

After returning to Charlottesville, Crosby sat down with to talk about her experience.

Did you enjoy the seminar?
“It was an amazing experience. I am really glad I did it. At first, I was thinking I didn’t want to travel by myself. But this is going to go down as one of the best experiences I had while I was in college. I met a lot of people. I met a lot of other college basketball players. It was a great experience.”

“There were 50 of us there. It was a unique group and we were really lucky to be there because there were so many student-athletes who had applied to do this. So, if you were a part of that 50, then you should feel pretty special because they think there is something within you and yourself and your own story about basketball that set you apart.”

What did you do during the three days?
“We got there Friday. Check-in was at 1 p.m.. From 2-7, we were doing 45-minute sessions with people talking about how to become a coach. There was a financial session. People were coming in and breaking down different things. This is how you become a coach. This is how you get recruits. There was a ten minutes break between each session. On Saturday, it was the same thing all day. On Sunday, we had mock interviews and were speaking with real coaches.”

“We did have a session on the last day where we went to the gym and watched professional athletes do certain drills as there were a lot of coaches in there. Some head coaches showed us their offensive sets and things that you need to do to work on your game, what students and athletes need to work on in their games. We also did this mini camp thing where we helped other kids out so we really had a chance to speak and be that vocal coach and have little kids look up to you. Sometimes they were your age and sometimes they were really young so we got a little bit of both worlds.”

Afterwards, we were free to be on our own, but there were other activities around the Final Four. We got to see the teams and the festivities going on. There was a lot going on. I mean, it was New Orleans.”

“I felt like I was back home in New York City because everything was on the go. Let’s do this, let’s do that, let’s eat here, let’s go eat here, and there were so many activities going on that I don’t know if I really slept, but it was fun. I enjoyed myself and like I said I met new friends that I feel will be my friends for a lifetime now and I really recommend this program for anyone.”

What were some of the things that you took away from the experience?
“I got to see Tamika Catchings. And I saw Dawn Staley. It was like we were around all of these super stars, and they were treating us like we were other super stars. I got to see Audra Smith, who is an alum from here. I listened to her story during the session and was blown away. Ask the girl who was sitting next to me. I was in my seat, eyes WIDE open. I was thinking, `This girl went to my school, and look at the success she has right now.’ I was real blown away by that.”

“Heading into the program, I didn’t have a set goal that I wanted to become a coach. But going to this program has opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I saw a lot of student-athletes there with resumes in their hands and really enthused about everything. It made me realize this is something serious; this is not a game, this is real life here and that’s what shocked me the most.”

“One thing that I heard a lot during the sessions when the coaches were speaking was if you want to play ball, play ball because coaching is always going to be there. It was almost as if they were talking to me because I still want to play ball and I still want to take it as far as I can. Definitely afterwards if I get a call or email and I’m done playing basketball, coaching is something I can see myself doing. All of the coaches I talked to afterwards, because you get that chance afterwards, I told them I wanted to play ball and they said to do it. This is going to be here after so yes I can see myself doing it.”

What was something you learned that shocked you the most?
“The head-coaching job is hard. I knew it was hard but the way these head coaches were speaking about the things that they go through – it is ridiculous. A head coaching job is not for everyone, it really isn’t, and the coaches that spoke about the parents that they said dealt with and just moving back and forth from one city to the next. I realized it really is a commitment and that’s why a lot of them say that if you want to play then play because if you get into coaching it’s not taking a step out, it’s taking a step forward because you’re going to go from one thing to the next to the next. I was really blown away by that. One thing that I liked was that all the speakers kept it real by saying that if you want to get into coaching for the money then get out of this room right now because coaching it not about the money but rather the commitment to sacrifices.”

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