Player Name: Maya Taylor
Year in School: Junior
Sport: Girls Basketball
Name of School: South County High School
What has helped you develop the leadership mindset you have today?
Seeing the impact it has on my team, myself, and life on and off the court has definitely helped develop the leadership mindset I have.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped you become a better athlete/player?
I think it has strengthened my basketball IQ. I am able to think more clearly and quickly in challenging situations and also come up with good solutions on the court.
How do you think improving as a leader has helped your team?
I think it has built our confidence as whole. Seeing your teammates step up and become a leader can motivate you to do the same and also build trust between each other.
Was there a moment where you recall “turning the corner” and realizing you had to take the next step as a leader?
Becoming a junior was probably the moment I realized I needed to take the next step. We had new students coming in, freshmen and sophomores who wanted to play and with those weeks of having no coach at all, someone needed to bring the team together.
What do you different now that you may not have done in the past as a leader?
I definitely communicate with my team more. Give advice and also motivate teammates who need it or are down about their mistakes. Before I used to be caught up in my whole struggles with confidence and mistakes but now I am helping others.
The 2018-19 basketball season has been filled with joy for Maya Taylor. Maya was rewarded with 1st Team All Patriot Conference and Honorable Mention All Occoquan Region. Although these are individual awards, Maya couldn’t have done it without her teammates and coaches. Maya’s main goal for the season was to win as many games as possible while having a fun and fulfilling time with her best friends. To achieve this goal, Maya had to step into a leadership role on the team.
Maya’s growth as a leader began during the pre-season, when she struggled alongside her teammates because the team’s past head coach had resigned. However, Maya pushed through the struggles because she wanted to help with the development of the team and help everyone get used to the new culture. During this period worked hard by showing up to every workout and trying her best to get in shape before tryouts. She focused on leading by example, knowing that other players were watching and duplicating her efforts. Once the new coach, Coach Rastogi, arrived, Maya adjusted to his standards for the team and built a relationship with him that will never be forgotten. Through his coaching style, Coach Rastogi shared leadership lessons with Maya, which helped her to grow as a player and lead her teammates throughout the season.
In the beginning of the regular season, Maya sprained her ankle in a non-conference game, causing her to miss 4 games. However, Maya was still present at every practice and game, ready to cheer on and guide her team through their adversities and celebrate with them through the victories. Once Maya was ready to play again, she put her effort into being physically and mentally prepared for her team. She pushed through the fear of coming back from the injury, to be there for her teammates. Maya stepped up to encourage players during the team’s losses and consoled individual players to help them get through their challenges. Throughout the season, Maya constantly checked in on everyone to continuously bring the team closer together on and off the court.
All in all, Maya has grown a lot this season. She has left her comfort zone to become a leader equipped with lessens learned, advice, and leadership skills that she will use throughout her life. There’s no doubt about it. This was quite a joyful and fulfilling season for Maya!
Teammate Statement (from Libby McLaughlin – her 6):
Maya’s growth as a leader over the course of the season has made me proud beyond measure. She gave our teammates and me someone to look up to in times of adversity and took the lead on the court as our point guard without missing a beat. She’s become a model of what a truly great leader is, and even more so a truly great person.
Coach statement on player’s leadership growth from Aseem Rastogi:
Maya has jumped in with two feet into embracing leadership and character development as a pivotal piece of her development as a player. Over the course of the last six months, she has transformed her focus, from being inwardly focused to being focused externally on her team, teammates, and the relationships they have. Once she turned the corner, she was able to handle whatever came her way, including stepping in for our injured point guard, a role she was not used to playing. She played it so well she was named All-District First Team and Honorable Mention All-Region – a complete and utter testament to her character & leadership driving her game forward.
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