Katrina Stannard, Women’s Basketball Coach, has begun her sixth season with SMCC basketball program. She has led the Seawolves to four consecutive YSCC. Stannard and her Seawolves have an overall record of 90-27 with a .769 win percentage. Stannard has constructed a strong team, who have consisted of eight YSCC All-Conference, three USCAA Academic All-Americans, six USCAA All-Americans. In 2019 she was honored as Coach of the Year.
BM: Why did you become a coach?
KS: I became a coach after a long-ish playing career. I started playing basketball, and other sports, at 5 years old, played in college and played semi-professionally for a few years – in my last year of playing, I was noticing it was taking my body longer and longer to recover from games and hard workouts and I was getting silly/nagging injuries, which I was never used to but I found it just as fun to help some of my younger teammates do things that I couldn’t quite get my body to do anymore. The last team I played on was in Arhus Denmark and most of the women on my team were just starting their college careers – most getting ready for division 1 careers, and I remember having an ah-ha moment in practice that it was ok that my playing career might be done because I could still positively impact the game by coaching others.
BM: What is your Coaching Style?
KS: I Try to be very direct but also lead with the how and the why – not just because I said so – I think it’s important for my players to understand why we do things a certain way. I also think it’s important to lead with vulnerability. It is incredibly important for me to create a safe space for the women on my team to grow and learn and realize it’s ok to mess up and that starts with our staff!
BM: What adversities have you faced as a coach?
KS: To keep it fairly simple and also timely – it’s hard to find work/life balance. Between working 50 hours a week outside of SMCC and being a new mom it’s a constant battle to prioritize the right things – so far it’s had to come with flexibility, forgiveness and also immense organization. My husband and I both work an 8-5 job and coach college basketball so a color coordinated calendar is key. Thank goodness I have 14 babysitters on call.
BM: What are some strengths and weaknesses within your team?
KS: Our strengths are our comradery and team culture for sure, accompanied by some very skilled players! Our weaknesses are probably similar to most teams this year in just lack of experience. Most of our players had not played in 2 years because of covid so being consistent early on is always a challenge.
BM: What qualities do you have as a team that will help you be successful?
KS: I sort of mentioned it earlier but our team culture and the genuine care that our team has for every individual will take us further than it should. Every day all of the women show up ready to work hard and compete and make each other better and also care for each other off the court as well.
BM: What does Leadership mean to you?
KS: Well to quote Abby Wombach, “you are either a leader everywhere or nowhere.” This sounds simple but leadership to me is making the right decision no matter who is looking, who gets credit, or who is the hero. Being a leader, to me, is more how others view you than how you view yourself. I think we all have the capability to lead in certain scenarios, but leadership is truly selfless and constant
BM: How do you coach an athlete who is struggling to improve?
KS: I think athletes struggle more with knowing what it takes to improve than the actual act of improving. It takes Care, communication, and trust to be able to build that candid relationship with someone and it also takes willingness on the athletes side to want to do whatever it takes to get better – and sometimes learning that mindset is the hardest part. For me it’s important to recognize the process and help the athletes acknowledge that just by saying you want to be better and coming to practice and working hard every day that that might not be enough – so providing tangible and intangible support is crucial.
It was great to hear from Stannard, now it’s time for basketball season and bringing home a YSCC championship!