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New Coach on the Block

DEANA KAJMAKOVIC

STAFF WRITER

   Several months ago, senior Raika Kim was shocked to find out that after playing on junior varsity girls basketball team for three years, she would not be allowed to step on the court again for the rest of her high school career. Stunned that she would have to give up playing her favorite sport, Kim immediately confronted athletic director Matt Stimson, who informed her that due to Pinewood’s rules, seniors are not allowed to play on junior varsity teams.

   Kim immediately set out to change these circumstances, contacting principal Mark Gardner, president Scott Riches, and even each of the athletic directors from every other school in the league and explaining her desire to play. Although she fought faithfully, Kim’s plea was turned down, forcing her to give up the sport she loved. Or at least it looked that way.

   Luckily, Kim quickly found a solution: becoming a student-coach for the girls JV basketball team. Although she still practices with the rest of the players, Kim now dons a Pinewood polo and sits beside head coach Larry Williams during games. While she loves her current position on the team, Kim admits that the transition from player to coach has been tough.

   “I am still bitter about not being able to play in games,” said Kim. “That being said, I do enjoy participating in practice and just knowing that I’m still on the team makes
me happy.”

   Kim’s transition from player to coach has been a learning experience, but it has also been quite an adjustment for the entire
JV team.

   “To be honest, sometimes I don’t feel like the players respect me because I am just a student, which I find completely understandable,” admits Kim.

   Despite being in a difficult and unique position, Kim works hard to remain an authoritative figure and continue to provide the team with the best coaching she can. Well into the season, she has begun to develop a solid coaching technique, doing her best to identify the JV team’s strengths and help them improve on
their faults.

   “I think [we should] use our practice time more efficiently and focus on our individual weaknesses,” notes Kim. “Also, the team chemistry is yet to be developed.”

   Unfortunately, the team has recently suffered a couple of painfully tight losses that have been hard on both the players and the coaches. In light of this, Kim believes that some bonding would make the group stronger as a whole. However, the young coach keeps an optimistic attitude.

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