Heading into high school can be a challenging experience. You’re making new friends, adjusting to classes and learning an entirely new school.
You’ll also discover that joining a new team can present a few hurdles. Finding your voice among older, more experienced players can be a daunting task. Jewell Loyd faced these obstacles as well. The championship-winning professional guard says that joining a new team can certainly push you out of your comfort zone.
However, to earn the respect of your teammates, you should be vocal and confident when entering the locker room and stepping onto the court. This can range from giving positive encouragement to learning your teammates’ names.
“The best advice I could probably give to you is to always be open-minded and always use your voice. No matter if you’re nervous, the way you talk and how you bring energy can change a lot of things,” Loyd says. “And it can kind of break you out of your comfort zone.”
Regardless of the situation, Loyd says to always talk and provide excitement.
“Whether it’s high-fiving or just saying ‘good shot’ or finding out people’s names, it’s something that you will need through the season and it’s also just a good trait to have, to always be vocal,” she says.
BE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF AND YOUR IMAGE
High school can also bring about a change in your appearance. Loyd admits she’s still figuring out how to be confident and comfortable in her own skin, even as a professional.
“The thing that I wish I knew in high school, that I’ve figured out now and am still figuring out, is just really to value who I am and to embrace everything about myself. A lot of times, you’re in high school and things like that and you hear a lot of talk,” she says. “I think, definitely for girls, you’re worried about your body image, lifting, and is it going to change how I look and things like that, but that’s just part of who you are and your growth.”
However, Loyd says it’s important to embrace your body and athleticism. As a professional, she now understands that her speed, strength and other physical attributes make her who she is — and helped get her to the highest level of competition.
“Now, as a pro, you’re thinking, ‘Man, I’m a pro because of who I am. Everything about my body and everything about who I am embraces my job and that’s why I’m here.’ It’s made me the person, the player, that I am today,” she explains.
Learning how to be comfortable and confident in your own body takes time and patience. Remember to use positive reinforcement to encourage both yourself and your teammates. Building confidence can help inspire others around you and lead to a successful season.
Looking for more Pro Tips from professional basketball players? Loyd teamed up with fellow professional Jordin Canada to talk about staying motivated and setting goals on the court.