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After coaching cross country at Polson Middle School last spring, Madison resident Cynthia Morgan is the new freshman coach for the Hand girls’ basketball team. (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Morgan )
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After arriving on the coaching scene in Madison last spring, Cynthia Morgan is now a part of the coaching community at Daniel Hand High School, where she gets to help shape the future of the Tigers’ girls’ basketball program.
Cynthia, who grew up in Naugatuck, gained coaching experience with the cross country, basketball, and tennis teams at Wilby High School in Waterbury. In the spring of 2016, she was brought aboard as a cross country coach at Polson Middle School and met Hand girls’ hoops coach Tim Tredwell through Hand Athletic Director Craig Semple. Cynthia was eventually offered the position as Hand’s new freshman coach and is now in the middle of her first year on the job.
“The opportunity came about at Hand and I thought, ‘Why not?’ I’m loving it thus far and I get to coach with a phenomenal coach in Tim,” says Cynthia, who lives in Madison. “I was running the track at Hand and bumped into Craig, who I knew from when he was a physical education teacher at Wilby. I coached cross country this spring and Tim was talking to Craig during the season. Tim mentioned about their need for a freshman coach. I thought I’d really enjoy it, so I took the position.”
Coaching at the freshman level, Cynthia knows that some athletes have more experience than others on the court. That’s why Cynthia makes sure she’s accommodating to all the girls and she feels great satisfaction any time they see success.
“Being new to coaching again, I’m sure my philosophies will change over time. But with young kids, it’s about establishing a foundation and balancing working with kids that have varying levels of experience. I want to make it fun, but also teach the fundamentals to help them progress,” Cynthia says. “I love watching the kids in cross country sprint across the finish line and seeing that drive to meet their goals because it was a goal for both you and them. In basketball, I also love teaching the fundamentals and then seeing them make a two-point shot in a game and turn around and smile back at you. Watching a team play together and work well together is also great, along with making relationships and helping them achieve goals.”
Coach Tredwell says that Cynthia knows the Tigers are striving toward big-time goals every year and compliments her for bringing a mixture of energy and understanding to the program.
“We were very lucky to find Cynthia shortly before the season started. She has a strong background in athletics as both an athlete and a coach. As a member of the Madison community, she understands the high expectations that come along with being a coach in this program,” says Tredwell. “I love the enthusiasm she brings, as well as the patience necessary to effectively coach our first-year players. She has shown tremendous flexibility, as well as a willingness to do whatever is asked of her. She gets what we’re trying to accomplish and is supportive of our goals. She has been a tremendous addition to our program and we’re fortunate to have her on board.”
When Cynthia started coaching her group of high school newcomers, she began by skimming the surface of a playbook, while working in conjunction with Hand’s JV team at practice.
“We run our practices with the JV team. Basketball does evolve in terms of plays and drills, so I work on teaching them a couple plays on offense and defense, plus inbound plays,” says Cynthia. “We are conditioning them for the up-and-down haul on the court. We also work on their cardiovascular health to maintain a certain pace. I also look to Tim to see if he needs me to add anything to my practices.”
As the Tigers play deeper into the season, Cynthia isn’t worried about the wins and losses. She knows that basketball’s frenetic pace can be intimidating for new players and so she’s focusing seeing her principles from practice successfully translate to game day.
“Some of the goals I’d really like to meet are understanding the play aspect of the game and knowing where they need to be out there. We tend to lose that with in-game situations and a faster pace,” says Cynthia. “I’d also like to work on them understanding their positions, along with seeing the court, moving the ball at a quicker pace, and more passing and less of dribbling and then getting caught in a corner.”
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