University of Rhode Island Head Women’s Basketball Coach Passes Advice to Athletes

University of Rhode Island Head Women’s Basketball Coach Passes Advice to Athletes University of Rhode Island Head Women’s Basketball Coach Passes Advice to Athletes

Tammi Reiss, a fifth overall WNBA draft pick is now the University of Rhode Island Head Women’s Basketball Coach. Before spending two seasons with Utah, Reiss played collegiate basketball at Virginia, where she was an All-American and won three ACC regular-season titles, two league tournament championships and made three appearances to the NCAA final four. After her collegiate and pro career, Reiss was not ready to give up the game. She became an assistant coach at her alma mater, Virginia, for three seasons before moving on to an assistant position with the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars and later the Utah Starzz. A coveted coach, she has had an impact on successful college and pro players. While she has had very successful seasons as an assistant coach and recruited some of the best in the game, her long term dream was to run a program of her own. She has now fulfilled this as the Head Coach at the University of Rhode Island.

2aDays: Being a coach that has recruited some of the best in the game, what is something that catches your eye in a recruit other than the physical talent?

Coach Reiss: All the intangibles! A most important component for me: do they have a motor, are they competitive, are they a great teammate, coachable, etc.?

2aDays: How and when should a potential recruit reach out to you? When a recruit initiates contact via email, what are key aspects that you look for in their email?

Coach Reiss: I admire recruits that reach out early; the younger, the better to get them on our radar. Does their email include personal flavor? Did they do research on our program? The way they are interested is a key component for me. Do not send a blast email to all coaches.

2aDays: With how many international players that are on the URI roster, how important is it for you and your team to see an international athlete play in person? Do you look at their film only or both? 

Coach Reiss: MUST see the player in person, multiple times to evaluate them properly and all the intangibles we are looking for.

2aDays: 2aDays gets so many inquiries from international athletes. The question that we get the most is where and how can a good DI college recruit us? What advice can you give on this topic?

Coach Reiss: Send emails to the head coach with complete game videos and schedule of competitions that they will be participating in. Be persistent. Email, call until they talk with someone from that respective school. Also, find a reputable international recruiter that has relationships in the US. There are a lot of US evaluators in foreign countries. They must find them and build relationships. They will help place them over here.

2aDays: What are some things that prospects can do that will make them stand out from the rest?

Coach Reiss: Play harder than the rest of the field! Make us notice you! In our sport, there are not a lot of kids who go all out and possess the intangibles coaches are looking for!

2aDays: Would you prefer that parents are involved in the recruiting process, and if so, where should they draw the line as far as involvement is concerned? 

Coach Reiss: Parents must be involved to help their child process all the information and help their child make an informative decision. Many times handlers and coaches manipulate the recruit. Parents must educate themselves on the recruiting process. It has become a big business and there are a lot of wolves out there!

2aDays: Many athletes ask us about coaching styles; how would you describe your coaching style?

Coach Reiss: Relationship-based first and foremost! Intense with positive reinforcement!

2aDays: What intangible goals do you set for your team going into a new season?

Coach Reiss: Evaluate yourself and focus on self-improvement! Intangible self-improvement!

2aDays: Most college athletes feel as though they should be a starter; what advice would you give current college athletes who are not seeing significant court time?

Coach Reiss: Meet with the coach, find out what areas you need to improve in to gain more playing time and find out who you are competing with for playing time.

2aDays: What advice would you give to a current college athlete recovering from injury and trying to come back to sport?

Coach Reiss: Must stay mentally tough! Must work harder in the rehab process than you did when you were healthy! Stay engaged with the team while you are going through the rehab process! POSITIVITY and PERSEVERANCE is everything!

2aDays: Being coachable vs. talent. What kind of player would you rather have on your squad?

Coach Reiss: Coachable and a worker. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard!

2aDays: What are the two main characteristics that you look for in your players?

Coach Reiss: Work ethic and competitiveness. They both dictate how hard you play and how much you will improve during your college career.

2aDays: Athletes ask us about being a walk-on all of the time, do you take walk-ons and if so, how would a high school athlete start this process with you? 

Coach Reiss: Yes, we allow walk-ons. Once the high school athlete is enrolled in college, they reach out via email or stop by the office and communicate with us that they wish to be a walk on. We then have a try-out process with them and see if they would be able to make the team.

Fun Questions:

2aDays: What is the craziest thing that you saw a parent do during a game?

Coach Reiss: Go after a ref! Run-on the court and physically fight the ref. Saw a player in the handshake line knock out another player.

2aDays: What is the best advice that you can offer to all basketball players?

Coach Reiss: Play the game because you love it!

* Originally published on April 2, 2020, by Hazel Brown

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