By: M.C. Reyes, Editor-in-Chief.
Haines City - For this month's community leader of the month, we had the pleasure of interviewing the head girls basketball coach for Ridge Community High School, Coach Nikki King, and this is what she shared with us:
NEPG: Tell us a short story about yourself and how that experience inspired you to become who you are today.
Coach King: I am from Haines City, I played basketball at Haines City High School and played collegiately at Webber International University. I became passionate about the game of basketball at the age of 9.
After my playing career ended, I wanted to continue to be around the game. I was awarded the opportunity to become the head coach at Ridge Community High School in 2016 and it was one of the best things that have ever happened to me. Although I had no previous head coaching experience, I’ve gained so much knowledge and experience because I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to coach good student-athletes who trust me and allow me to lead them.
NEPG: What are your main responsibilities?
Coach King: My main responsibilities include, but are not limited to; being committed to the personal development of each player, creating practice and game strategies, checking grades and communicating with teachers, addressing any discipline issues, etc. Additionally, I like to keep my girls engaged in their communities. We do quite a bit of community service events throughout the year.
NEPG: How do you manage the different personalities among the girls in your team to make an impact not only in their professional lives but also in their personal lives? Coach King: I manage the different personalities on the team simply by understanding that each player is different and has different needs. Understanding their background, likes and dislikes, etc. helps to develop a relationship and, in return, helps me to know how to deal with the player personally.
NEPG: Tell me a little bit about your family and how you manage your professional and personal lives without allowing one to affect the other.
Coach King: Managing my professional and personal lives is quite easy since my family travels with me and attends most of the games. They understand that this is my dream and they help in any areas possible so I can focus on my career.
NEPG: What message would you like to pass to the girls that you coach?
Coach King: The message that I would like to pass to my players is to stay focused on what’s important and follow your dreams. Life will get hard at times and there will be bumps along the way but, if you are focused and determined, you can achieve anything.