Wnba, Alicia Gray, Kayla Thornton discussed on The Her Hoop Stats Podcast


I like where we are right now. I like where we're heading. And the expectation internally has increased as we head into this year. The other factor here that you have to remember is, along with all the rookies last year, all the second year players, you had a brand new coaching staff unit of head coach, new staff, new system, everyone's got to learn each other on the fly in a very short training camp and season. We have all that behind us now. The core group comes back, the coaching staff comes back. And we're not starting from scratch. Scratch. We're starting somewhere down the line. When you play in a WNBA, you're playing against players that have been professionals for a decade or more, you're playing with groups that have played together for years and years and years. It's really hard to overcome that when you're a new team with a lot of young players. I don't think we're going to be the youngest team in the league this year. I haven't done the math yet, but I don't think we will be. When you look at us, we're still young, but you think about Alicia gray, 6 years in, Kayla Thornton 7 years in Enrique now four years in Marina four years three years in tiara four years in. We're not a team of first and second year players anymore. We're in a different place in many ways, and that's what's exciting about this year and the years to come. And so how do you kind of, I guess, massage the expectations and the pressure like, is your job more to put the pressure on or try to just let it let it happen? There's plenty of pressure externally. I think my job's more about accountability. And setting expectation internally of who we are and what we want to become. And again, that is a moving target based on the realities of where you are. The conversation this year, we could not have had last year or certainly the year before it would have been, it would have been genuine. Now, I think we're at that place. We qualify for the playoffs last year. It's no longer about we just need to get ourselves into the playoffs. We've taken that step. That's behind us. We want to look for what's the next step for us. And for me, the next step for us is winning a playoff series. We haven't done that. So that's the next step for me. Obviously, there's a lot of factors that go into that in our league health. At the end of the season, plays a huge factor in who wins and who doesn't, because the margin between the very best and the very worst in our league is like that. Health plays a huge part in that. But that aside, the expectation certainly has increased this year. And so how has your how has your job changed in particular from when you got to Dallas to now dealing with everything you've dealt with and now having this chance to kind of take that next step? Has your job changed a lot? I don't think our job has changed because while the expectation of the result has moved, the expectation of how we go about our business primarily off the court has never wavered. And we continue to look to improve it as an organization in terms of how we invest, particularly into the players. We continue to add layers in terms of the category of what I call player health and well-being. We continue to look to add resources to put our players in our coaches in the best possible situation to do their job, which is to win. So I don't think we've changed our approach as much as we've just changed the expectation of the end result. I see. And then what are those, what are the resource next steps because I've talked to a bunch of WNBA folks and just talking about where are the resources going to be most efficiently allocated going forward? And I feel like that's changing a lot. It's almost changing by the day due to COVID and everything. But where do you see the sort of resource allocation going and where do you want to be most efficient in that route? Continues to be player focused and player first. We have long, I think, over indexed in terms of the medical and support staff. We have put around our team. We've had at least one team psychologist on staff, for example, with us since day one in Dallas. We've added a nutritionist. We've added some player movement specialist. We've added a coordinator of player well-being. We've added an assistant trainer. We've added a team masseuse. So we continue to add additional support around that group of players. Again, to give them an optimum opportunity to be successful. And obviously, again, back to my previous comments. A lot of that has to do with health. We want our players to feel good. Be confident in where they are with their health and to perform that are optimal level. And how do you kind of manage that when they're not in market for the majority of a year, how can you help their health from afar? It's a unique challenge of the WNBA, but it's really about communication. You know, taking care of them while they're here, giving them a plan as they leave to part to do their work overseas. And then be in constant communication with them, making sure they're on task and also being responsive to anything they may need if something arises overseas and then as soon as they get back, reassess. And again, adjust that plan accordingly so that they are being taken care of the entirety of the summer. Yeah, and those are the types of things I've heard a lot is the health and health and wellness is really where resources are going in the WNBA and like you mentioned. I think the challenge of it is more interesting than I'm pretty much any other league because you don't have those players in market. So I'm really interested to see how your you guys handle it how our teams handle it. And hopefully we get more and more investment into those areas because it helps the players. But this is her hoop stats. So I do have to ask one question. In terms of the future of the league, what are some of the analytics that you're looking around like the NBA, for example, and saying, man, I wish we had that. Where can those analytics and stats improve on our side of the ball? Yeah, there's two areas in particular. I think I mentioned, one is like tracking capabilities. Having a better understanding in games and in practice around the movement and usage of players on the court, I think that's an important one for us. The technology around that and the wearables in particular and wearables is a broad category that a term has been applied to and there's a lot in that, but for sake of our time, I'll just say wearables. And then the second one for me, I would love for us to figure out a way to have an opportunity to better engage with potential players, draft prospects in advance of the draft. We don't have an opportunity to have that one on one engagement outside of kind of what we're doing here today, which is a Zoom call basically in advance of the drive. When you think you look at our NBA counterparts in terms of the opportunities they're given to bring a player in assess them, do medical evaluation, measurements, you know, it's funny, but like I've actually sent a person a scout to a game, had them sit courtside so that when the player walked by, they could stand up and try to figure out exactly how tall is that player. Based on who's sitting there, and we always ask the question, we're talking to him, okay, how are you? How tall is that with shoes on versus how tall is that without shoes on? I think we can do better in that area. Now, we have challenges at the NBA doesn't have..

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