ENGL 1309: Intro to athletic literature.
It’s a class that doesn’t exist in the Texas Tech course catalog — yet.
Tech women’s basketball players could make the argument they should get some credit hours because of some of their unique book-based training.
Last summer, only two months removed from a disappointing end to the 2011-2012 season, Tech head coach Kristy Curry asked her players to read “The Way of the Champion,” to provide a little something extra to the Lady Raider mindset. Three years ago, the Lady Raiders were asked to read “The Energy Bus” when the current crop of seniors were freshmen.
Tech guard Chynna Brown remembers her initial reaction to reading for basketball.
“I kind of hated it,” Brown said. “I already have to read in class, then you come to practice and you have to read and know this before practice and after practice, so it’s crazy. I never imagined doing something like this my freshman year.
“But it was a great experience. It’s brought me a long way.”
Curry knows some athletes aren’t going to be into reading to get better on the court, but the Tech coach believes its a way for her players to become well rounded — especially later in life.
Reading and taking time to discuss segments taken from books like “The Way of the Champion” is simply a tool, Curry said.
The Tech coach said she reads as much as she can, and figures the Lady Raiders can use some of the lessons taught in the instructional books.
“The Way of the Champion,” which includes analysis from topics found in Sun Tzu’s ancient military text, “The Art of War,” helps show the qualities needed of champions.
Curry said she holds breakout sessions to discuss parts of the book, hoping her team can take some facet out of different chapters.
At the end of each chapter, there is a question, Curry said, which the Lady Raiders will take time to discuss.
Curry knows the team has changed since the end of last season, and she gives some of that credit to the readings. The book was first recommended by motivational consultant Mark Tribus, who helps with Tech’s Leadership Academy.
“I think definitely the dynamics of this team are different than a year ago,” Curry said, “and I think that’s one way we’re going to be better is the cohesiveness, the dynamics, the fact that every single day they want to be a good teammate and do the right thing.”
Senior guard Mary Bokenkamp said she read both books in her tenure, and the team isn’t asked to read the entire thing in one sitting, rather reading a chapter or two at a time.
Like Brown, Bokenkamp was wary of having to read to improve her basketball skills.
But also like Brown, Bokenkamp knows she’s a better Lady Raider for having read the books (she’s happy to say she finished both books).
“It’s a little bit different, but I think its good to mentally be in the game and mentally have your mind right to be playing,” Bokenkamp said. “That’s kind of what those exercises help us do. ... They were both pretty easy reads, and I got a lot of good stuff out of them so I was grateful for it. I like stuff like that.”
To comment on this story:
firstname.lastname@example.org • 766-8723