*This blog originally ran on SportsBlog.com. To view all of Tiffany’s blogs, go to http://tiffanymitchell.sportsblog.com/
So, it’s the first day of training camp and I’m a little on edge getting ready to start my career as a pro. After going through the first couple drills, I started to get a little more comfortable. And after seeing the ball go through the hoop, my confidence started to grow…but just that quickly started to get tampered with. Our practice players are some of the fastest and strongest that I have ever played against, and the speed of everything was so much faster than in college.
It was hard to think and go that fast at the same time, but lucky for me, I have great vets on my team that could see the frustration on my face…Tamika especially. She kind of smirked and said, “You good.” I could only respond by shaking my head. Guessing she’d seen this same look on most rookies’ faces, she patted me on my back and told me I was doing fine. Just those couple words calmed me down a bit, and I was able to look past my mistakes and try to finish the practice on a high note. That moment right there was a turning point for me because I knew they cared. I knew they wanted me to succeed and would go to any measures to make sure I felt comfortable.
“This is something I’ve dreamt about forever and now to produce on the highest level makes me want to work even harder to continue to feel how I felt during the first game.
The biggest transition for me, as I mentioned, was the speed for sure. When I went fast, I would go too fast, and forget the play. Then when I would slow down to try and remember the play, I wasn’t going fast enough. But I knew that with time, once I got more comfortable with the plays, putting the two together wouldn’t be as difficult. We logged in some long hours during training camp, especially with coming in early for treatment, stretching, film, weights, practice, my individual work after, and of course treatment after practice. I probably spent a good six hours in the facility. By the time I got home I was exhausted, but it was good exhaustion. I felt like I was getting better day by day, and I knew that the soreness and long hours would pay off.
READ MORE: Young Guards Making Immediate Impact »»
Once camp was over, rosters were finalized and our first game was coming up, I got a little anxious because I knew this is when it really counts. For me personally, there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure for me to come out and put on a spectacular performance. I was just hoping I’d remember all the plays and our defensive rotations. We came out really well. I missed my first shot, but it felt good when it left my hands. The next six shots I believe I made. I started to feel like I belong. Individually, I was pleased with my performance just because I felt like I stayed within myself and took what the defense gave me and just did whatever the team needed me to do. Unfortunately, we ended up losing the game, and I am probably one of the sorest losers on this planet. It was mixed emotions because I had a lot of people (family, friends, coaches) telling me I played great, but I just wanted the W at the end of the day.
This is something I’ve dreamt about forever, and now to produce on the highest level makes me want to work even harder to continue to feel how I felt during the first game. And I know it’s only a matter of time before we start to put everything together and click on all cylinders. Then we are going to be something serious to deal with. We have our next game coming up tomorrow, and I’m excited to show everyone what we have been working on in practice and get our first win in 2016. 🙂