I had an awesome opportunity to speak to Coach Bridget Goodnight of Pensacola Junior College. www.pjc.edu . Coach Goodnight provides some incredible information and tips on preparing yourself for college basketball and the hidden benefits of a junior college basketball career.
PJ: How and when did you get involved with basketball?
CG: I started playing at a very young age with my brother and his friends. I started playing organized basketball in the third grade and continued through four years of college.
PJ: How do you believe the game has developed for girls since you’ve been involved?
CG: There are more opportunities now. Girls receive more exposure through AAU, camps, leagues, etc. As far as the game, it is played at a much faster pace due to athleticism and strength.
PJ: What skill do you believe girls are lacking the most when they arrive at college? What can they do to develop those skills?
CG: As far as skill, defensive positioning and guarding 1 on 1 is an issue. A great way to development defensive skill is to increase foot quickness. A jump rope is a simple and inexpensive tool that develops foot quickness and coordination.
PJ: Some players may feel that starting out at a junior college is not for them. What are the benefits of playing at a junior college?
CG:Some benefits to junior college are as follows: easier transition from high school to college life, getting academics in order and getting 1 on 1 attention from teachers, playing time prepares athletes to play at the next level, athletes are recruited heavily by DI schools which leads to more opportunities for the individual.
PJ: Coach, you are from Batesville, MS, which is right up the street from Memphis. Do you feel that you are a long way from home being in Florida?
CG: When most people think of Florida, they think of how far away it is. Pensacola is the first Florida town you come to when you pass thorugh Mobile, AL. It is very close to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Many athletes are recruited from these areas.
PJ: What conference do you play in? How competitive is it?
CG: We play in the Panhandle Conference. It is very competitive. This makes our conference one of the most heavily recruited conferences in the country. Most DI coaches know that if an athlete has played in this conference, then they must have the skills necessary to play at the next level. Out of the six teams in the conference, usually 4 of them are ranked on the national level. This also means that the games are highly competitive. The players must be ready to play night in and night out.
PJ: Is there any advice you would like to provide for young players?
CG: The advice I would give to prospective student athletes is prepare yourself as much as possible. Off season workouts are a must. You cannot come into a college program and stay the same player you were in high school. This will take many hours of hard work. In order to be prepared, you must be able to exhibit self-discipline. This means physically, mentally, and academically. Make sure you totally commit yourself to the decision you make to play college basketball and pursue a college degree.
Making it Happen in 2007,