DEI Spotlight: Sheila Boykin on giving back to the game
Sheila Boykin is giving back to the game as an Assistant Coach for the CSUN Women's Basketball team.
1. Why did you get into coaching?
I got into coaching because I’ve always wanted to give back what was once given to me as a player. I’ve had some great coaches throughout my playing career and they each have made a tremendous impact on how I live my life today.
2. How many years have you been coaching?
I’ve coached for a total of 3 years. 2 years at the AAU level and 1 year at the HS level. Now, I am 4 months in as an assistant coach for CSUN women’s basketball.
3. Who has been your biggest influence in coaching and why?
My biggest influences are my parents and my coach, Barry Moon. Both of my parents coached at the JUCO level since I was 6 for about 10 years. I grew up in the gym, and I got to witness the life lessons that basketball teaches through their coaching with minimal resources and having to do a lot of things on their own. My coach, Barry Moon was tough and he had a way to pull the best out of each of us as players. His ability to get us to believe in ourselves was remarkable.
4. What do you enjoy most about coaching and why?
I enjoy building relationships. I’m a strong believer that the relationships we build as coaches (with players, other coaches, their families, the community) is vital to the impact we make both good and bad. 5. What has been one of the greatest lessons you have learned about life through coaching? Please explain. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned (so far) in coaching is that SELF AWARENESS is so important. We have to be in touch with who we are and what we stand for. We have to be considerate and mindful that what we say and do carries a lot of weight with our players, our staff members, and those who have a hand in the program. A lack of self-awareness will have you as an individual lost and unsure of yourself, and if as a coach you are unsure of yourself and what you stand for, the group that you lead & the young athletes that you mentor will feel the same. Coaching shouldn’t only be“do as I say,” but “DO AS I DO!” It’s about setting the example.
6. What is your ultimate goal in coaching?
My ultimate goal is to be able to look back at my years of coaching and feel that I did everything I possibly could to the best of my ability for the young women I coach and the people I work with.
7. What has been your greatest lesson as a coach during the pandemic?
My greatest lesson as a coach during the pandemic was realizing that it’s ok to not have all the answers. It’s ok to be vulnerable and to have moments of uncertainty, especially during a time of uncertainty. Our athletes look to us as these perfect individuals who always have the answers both to their problems and our own. This pandemic has been a testament to those on the outside looking in that we as coaches are HUMAN and we FEEL. I was fortunate to use this experience in the pandemic to help motivate our student-athletes by setting the example to motivate myself.
8. What has been one of the toughest lessons you have learned through coaching. Please explain.
One of the toughest lessons I learned through coaching is that there are times when tough decisions have to be made. It’s those tough decisions that the student-athletes don’t always understand in the moment and they don’t agree with, but in the long run, they realize that there was always a light at the end of the tunnel.
9. As a minority coach, what do you feel has been the biggest challenge for minority coaches in the profession?
As a minority coach, I feel the biggest challenge for minority coaches in the profession is having to tread the very fragile line between speaking up about beliefs on racial injustice and not saying too much out of fear of losing their jobs or being blackballed. Racial injustice is something that has affected our community for centuries, and we want to change and we seek to change, yet we have to be cautious of what we say on social media platforms.
10. Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know about you.
(I like this one) I am a really big heavy metal/ hard rock fan. I love The Rolling Stones and Guns N’ Roses just to name a few.