Aisha Foy is a 2nd year Graduate Assistant at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO). She finished her playing career as a First team all-conference point guard and Radford Athletics Female Leader of the Year & NCAA Woman of the Year school nominee. Aisha served on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Executive Board for 3 years and was the founder and Inaugural President of Independent Women Achieving Goals in Education (Leadership Development organization). Recently, she started campus ministry at SEMO for her church, Major in Christ.
The Road To Becoming A Graduate Assistant
The first thing I did was figure out what I wanted. I set the goal of becoming a graduate assistant before I even started my playing career and on that path, I took advantage of every opportunity possible to get professional experience that could lead to a Graduate Assistantship.
As a student-athlete I completed four internships to further prepare me for my goal. During my last semester, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would be in our coaches’ office shadowing everything they did from film and recruiting, to travel and practice planning. On Tuesday and Thursday, I would be with my SWA helping her prepare for meetings, seeing how she evaluated the women’s programs, managed the department staff, and oversaw SAAC. I also figured out ways to be around people who were doing what I wanted to do. I attended conferences and even got on staff at the “A Step Up” Assistant Coaches Symposium.
I put air in the balls, wipe the floor, try and stop one of our assistant coaches from drinking soda. I bring snacks to the coaches while we are in the office, I make sure our Director of Basketball Operations is smiling every day. Those are the things that I love to do but some of my major responsibilities are:
- Social media – creation of graphics and videos, managing the accounts
- pre-game and post-game film
- organize meals, ball girls, and community service events
- assist with organizing practice players
- help our players with their career development
- communicate with Alumni and plan our Alumni Day Event.
Hardest Thing About Being a GA
- Knowing that I can’t be really good at anything yet. Understanding that while others might be seasoned in what they are doing, I am starting from day one.
- Being so close to the players in age you know everything that the players are doing, saying, and thinking. It can be difficult to balance when should be brought to the staff.
- Sometimes wondering if you matter. It can feel like a lonely and thankless position at times, but that is why it’s so important to keep the big picture in mind at all times and have friends who are going through the same thing.
Biggest Surprise About Being On Staff
I thought about basketball more in the first month on the job than I ever did as a player and how much time the staff spends with each other was surprising. I think I spent more time with the staff than I ever did even with my teammates. It was also really surprising everything the staff has to do for the team. My HC is all about providing our players with everything they need. Sometimes I would think “dang, they can’t do this themselves” then I have to remember someone did this for me for four years and now I am that someone.
Tips For Making the Most Out of GA Experiences
- Have GA friends and communicate with them often!!!!!
- Ask questions, use every opportunity as a chance to learn!
- Read, a lot! (See book suggestions later in the post )
- Be grateful and always keep the big picture in mind.
- Get around your Head Coach as much as you can.
- Bring your best self to every situation: take care of yourself first, because you can’t show up to work to be a giver if you have nothing to give!
Quotes That Have Helped Me Along My Way:
“When you have an opportunity to serve, you don’t complain about the effort involved.” ― Brendon Burchard, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
“Embrace the suck, honor the struggle” ― Brendon Burchard, High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
If you want to do something special, there are going to be times that suck. We know this, we ALL know this, but sometimes we really don’t want to embrace it. So trust the process, trust the transition.
“You will be the exact same person 5 years from now except for the books you read and the people you meet.” –John Wooden
Mike Neighbors said in a WBCA panel, that reading catches you up when you don’t have much experience. If I had to choose a single factor that has influenced where I am now, it would be reading books. I would say people, but I learned to communicate with those people from books.
“Treat everyone you meet like they are going to die at midnight” – Florida State Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach, CY Young
I wrote a blog after my first year called “Forgetting the Fundamentals will cause you to turn the ball over when nobody is guarding you.” I like sharing my learning experiences to help others. I’m on a mission to solve my own problems and hopefully it can help others solve theirs! Read it here.