Welcome to Interview #84
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of CCCAA Women’s Basketball Coach of Sacramento City College, Julia Allender.
Julia Allender has been the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Sacramento City since June of 2014. Allender previously coached at Ohlone Community College for 5 years.
Allender has an incredible ability to develop high school athletes and develop them into successful collegiate basketball players and then transfer them with basketball scholarships to the next level in one or two years, the main job of every community college coach. Allender’s personal experience as a Community College athlete and NCAA Div. 1 transfer give her unique insights into the process of getting athletes to not only reach their full potential but to the next level.
Julia has a wildly successful Youtube channel (over a million views!!!) where she teaches basketball skills. She has authored several articles at Basketballinsight.com. Coaches, you may want to take a look at her Recruiting Packet she has put together.
Why do you think athletes should consider a Junior College/Community College? What are the benefits specifically?
I think athletes should consider the community college for a few specific reasons that will tremendously help them in reaching their ultimate goals of playing at a high level four-year college.
The first reason being that one may have simply not gotten the scholarship offers to the level they want to play at. This is why I chose to play at a community college. I wanted to play Division I basketball, that was my goal ever since I was very little. I did not get those scholarship offers out of high school. I got many division II offers, but that was not my goal. Spending a year or two at the right community college that develops and has a high transfer level among their women’s basketball team to the four year level will allow you to achieve your goal.
Secondly a player may not be a qualifier out of high school so academically they are not eligible to play NCAA basketball right away or receive any scholarship money. Spending two years at a community college and getting your Associates Degree with the qualifying GPA will then allow you to play at the NCAA level.
Lastly a player may have not developed the right skill set to a high enough degree to be recruited to the level they want. Not only will one be able to develop those skills but they will show four year recruiters that they can compete and be effective against tougher and bigger competition.
What are some myths or misconceptions about junior colleges?
Some things that I hear from parents, players or coaches is that the education they receive at a junior college is not up to par or will not transfer so their child will be behind in school when they transfer. The true information is that every junior college offers four-year level transferable courses. This means that they will not have to repeat these courses at the four year college.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen?
Student athletes should reach out to the community college that they want to go to through e-mail or phone. This will allow that coach to be able to evaluate you and offer you information about their school.
What effect does social media have on your recruiting? Can you talk about players who you have either stopped recruiting or become more interested in based on their social media use?
Social media is going to identify to the coaches that are recruiting you things that are important to you, what you spend your time on and your off the court activities. This is going to tell coaches how well you are going to represent their program and their school. These are things that coaches hold in high regard and want to recruit high character players both on and off the court.
I have stopped recruiting players who have posted use of illegal substances or disrespectful content.
Are college basketball coaches attending high school games? Why or why not?
Yes I attend high school games often. Probably more so than four year coaches. I am always evaluating talent, watching how players interact with their coaches and teammates and how they handle adversity.
What does the off season, fall season and summer look like for a junior college basketball player?
I can only speak for our off season, fall and summer. In the spring we spend the gym time on developing individual skills; shooting, finishing, decision making and handling pressure. We lift 3 days a week.
In the summer it is very similar. We workout 3 days a week for 3 hours a day with 2 of those hours spent in the gym and one hour in the weight room. In the fall we continue to work on the same things while getting more into team concepts.
How do you help players transition to a four year college?
The first thing we do is find out what each player’s goal is. Do they have a specific school or level of play in mind? We put them on a specific development plan that will develop the skills they would need to be able to play there. We put together an information sheet on them and send it out to just about every four year program in the country. I will then get on the phones to that school or schools and market my players to them. We get film to those coaches of both our practices and at our games.
When looking at a 2 year school, what are some questions student athletes should ask about the help they will receive to get into a four year school and to continue playing?
Student athletes need to figure out what is important to them first and foremost in terms of basketball programs they would want to play for and coaches they would want to play for. Then they need to do the research on which junior college schools are actually doing that.
You have coached since 2009 at two different junior colleges and have been quite successful. What do you enjoy about coaching at junior colleges?
I decided at a young age that I wanted to be a basketball coach and I wanted to coach because I enjoy helping people. That is the best part for me coaching at a junior college. I get to help student athletes achieve their goals, reach potential levels they have never reached before, learn how to be persistent and develop skills and characteristics that will help them to lead prosperous lives.
You have authored several articles and have a YouTube channel where you teach basic basketball skills (one with over a million views). Can you talk directly to athletes about developing their technical skills?
Skill development is done on a gradient level. There is a series of steps one must take that skill through in order for it to transfer to an actual game or game situations. I break these steps down in my videos on my YouTube channel. I use the same steps in teaching team concepts in a practice situation.
Players need to know the why behind the skill, when would they use it, why would they use it, how would they counter it and get not only the practical part of if but also the theory behind it. This is known as basketball IQ.
Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
Be tough (mentally and physically). Mental toughness meaning being gritty, being able to persist, being able to get something done no matter what the obstacles or barriers that will be in the way. This has to be demonstrated every day, every practice, every drill, every rep. That is how you learn to win.
Be coachable. Actually do what your coach is teaching you or telling you to do. It’s more than just listening and acknowledging and making eye contact. It’s the doing and your actions.
Be a great teammate. Hold your teammates accountable, but first be accountable yourself. Don’t let yourself off the hook and don’t quit on yourself.
Be good to yourself. Don’t have negative thoughts about yourself, don’t think you are less because of a mistake. Acknowledge the mistake and move on. Ignore the mistakes, acknowledge the good and be in the now.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or basketball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
I think too often players take scholarships just because they are scholarships and can end up unhappy and in bad programs. Do your research and don’t settle. There are other avenues that will help you achieve YOUR goals. Dreams do come true if you are willing to do the work and put yourself in the right environment.
Jullia Allender has been the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Sacramento City since June of 2014. Allender comes from Ohlone Community College where she had a 5 year stint as the Head Women’s Basketball Coach.
Allender started her coaching career at Ohlone and spent three years as an assistant before being named as the head coach in 2009. In the three years as an assistant, She has her Masters Degree in Human Development with a specialty in Sports Conditioning from A. T. Still University in 2008.
For a Full Bio go to Sacramento City College Women’s Basketball.
Next, check out: 4 Tips Toward a Great College Athletic Experience.
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