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New Girls Basketball Coach

Jackie J Baptiste

This season, the girls basketball team plays under a new coach, Jackie J Baptiste. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Coach Jackie moved to Atlanta just earlier this fall. In New York, she felt “so much hostility and negativity” behind basketball. She explained her desire for “a change of scenery” brought her to Atlanta. Here, in addition to coaching the AJA High School girls basketball team, she plans to start her own training facility called Wing. In the training facility, she hopes to coach kids from elementary school up until college. 

Coach Jackie currently operates her own girls basketball organization called Girl Made. When she launches the training facility, Girl Made will become a branch underneath Wing. Girl Made works on “guiding intellectual, responsible leaders” and “motivating aspiring, determined girls everywhere.” It provides leagues and workshops for girls ages 10 through 18.

In 2022, Coach Jackie hopes to expand the organization to include leagues for women as well. She explained, “The women’s [league] will be raising awareness for lupus,” an autoimmune disease. “I have a couple of friends that actually play the game of basketball, but suffer from lupus.” Coach Jackie feels that people do not talk enough about the autoimmune disease, and the women’s league will work to change this.

Coach Jackie coaches because she wants to give girls a better experience than she had. She shared, “I got into coaching because I had a bad experience in high school. My coach, I felt like she didn’t care. All she cared about was apparel… but we didn’t win any games.” After this experience, Coach Jackie wanted to be the coach she did not have. She explained, “I want to start something where I can give back; I can help student athletes — especially females.” 

In New York, Coach Jackie had coached several teams. She coached on the AAU circuit and the Nike circuit for girls. She began coaching one team that did not win a single game the previous season; after her first season coaching them, they advanced until the league’s playoff game. 

While coaching the AJA High School girls basketball team, Coach Jackie hopes to help the team advance in their skills and win games. “My goal is for us to be better than last year and to win,” she stated. During practices, she plans to have the girls “Work hard, get better, ask questions.” In practices, Coach Jackie focuses on “the little things,” such as small elements of form, positioning, and footwork. Furthermore, she plans to practice as much as possible. She said, “I feel like with my knowledge and my strategies, I can’t see us failing.” 

Coach Jackie coaches because she wants to give girls a better experience than she had.

In addition to focusing on hard work and plenty of practice, Coach Jackie stressed the importance of team bonding. “Team bonding is definitely important,” she stated. Without team bonding, she asked, “How are we supposed to be better on the court?”

So far, the girls team has bonded through tie dying basketball socks to wear to the first game. In addition, Coach Jackie plans to bring the girls together to create vision boards and a team list of goals. She also hopes to bring the team to see college basketball games so they can “see the hustle, the determination, the motivation.” 

Hustling is very important to Coach Jackie. In practice she always stresses that the girls must truly want possession of the ball, and they must run at every chance to get the ball. When the team has possession of the ball more often, the odds of scoring also increase. Because of this, Coach Jackie works often on pressing the other teams so as to not ever freely give them possession of the ball. 

Overall, Coach Jackie wants the AJA High School girls basketball team to grow to be better than last year. With enough practice, hard work, and team bonding, she believes that there is no reason that the team should not meet this goal. After a season with no wins last year, she explained, “It’s time to win.” 

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