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Kate Baynard – Chapin/Duke University

Katharine “Kate” Baynard

School:  The Chapin School 2017; New York, NY
Years in Mo’ Motion:  6
Hometown:  Upper East Side, Manhattan
Future College/University:  Duke

NOTE FROM MO:  Kate does an exceptional job in this Q&A by showing you who she is as a person, student and athlete.  Kate and I both remember Kate being one of my first hesitant students and how we played under the overpass at West 72nd Street.  We hit the court harder and harder with each passing year.  It wasn’t always easy for Kate (or for me), but we kept working to make the uncomfortable more comfortable.  Kate has served as my roommate and team captain during our EuroTrain trip to Spain.  Kate has also served as one of the Most Valuable Interns in the office, and she’s done a terrific job coaching grades K-5 during Camp Motion.  Kate fit all of this in around her commitment to hoops, volleyball, track and field in addition to her other interests at Chapin and in her church.  Congrats to Kate for early acceptance at Duke.  Yet what is most memorable to me is how Kate and her sister, Caroline, always came up to me after those tough practices and games in Harlem, and said, “Thank you.”

Here’s a Q&A with Kate followed by a gallery of Kate playing sports at Chapin and with Mo’ Motion.

Who is your favorite basketball player and why?  Shaquille O’Neal.  He has a great sense of humor and can poke fun at both himself and others. I admire his commitment to basketball (as a player and a commentator), and his legacy as a player. His segment titled “Shaqtin’ A Fool” creates levity and promotes humility, which is a great way for Shaq to build his brand and stay relevant in the competitive world of professional sports – whether you are playing or on the sideline post-playing career.

Which college and/or pro team is your favorite and why? I have always loved the Duke Blue Devils. Part of it is hereditary – my father went to Duke – and part of it is my admiration of Coach K’s coaching style. He creates a brotherhood amongst players young and old. I especially appreciate Coach K’s decision to bring his former players, Jon Scheyer (’10) and Nolan Smith (‘11) onto his coaching staff. His dynamic coaching staff of both Duke and non-Duke coaches creates the perfect balance between players who have experienced Coach K’s philosophy and coaches who can see his style from an outside perspective. I admire Coach K’s philosophy of teaching his players valuable insights that will serve them in later life. Some of these insights include the importance of the “Duke family,” coachability, integrity, intelligence, and diligence. While, at this moment, his coaching is under question regarding Grayson Allen’s behavior, I trust that he will handle the situation well in accordance with his tried and true philosophy.

When did you know that basketball was your favorite sport? (Or is it tied with another sport?) At first, I was a tentative and reticent player. However, the more I attended practices (many of them optional), I found I had more confidence – the result of my hard work in practice. However, as time went on, I learned to value the flow and motion of the offense we worked so hard to perfect in practice. When using the motion offence, every player has a job: to get one another open. Often, difficult plays can be unnecessarily confusing and centered on the best player on the team. In a motion offence, all of the players are equal, but there is opportunity to play on each player’s individual strengths. My favorite moments during basketball were the successes that my team had as a result of this play. When we scored, it was the direct result of our own diligence as a group, and it was such a rewarding feeling.

Have you spent most of your career playing basketball only or have you played more than one sport?  I play volleyball, basketball, and track and field at the varsity level at Chapin. Basketball is my favorite season, and track and field is my second favorite. I throw the discus and the shotput and have worked with the middle school team on shotput. My fear is that, when I leave Chapin, I will be one of the last shot and disc throwers. I am so grateful that I discovered throwing and that I had such encouraging coaches, and I hope to be supportive to the next generation of throwers at Chapin just as my coaches were for me.

What is your favorite thing to do on the basketball court? My favorite thing to do on the basketball court is shoot. There is a sense of calmness when I shoot. More specifically my favorite shot is the hook shot. I love the hook shot because of its utility. There are many ways I can set up my hook shot – a drive, a post move, a quick pass and shot in the key – the options are endless.  I also really enjoy passing.  The importance of good passing is often overlooked. I enjoy the simplicity of a good assist and the excitement of a teammate scoring.

What is your greatest challenge on the basketball court? My fitness and conditioning has always been a challenge, on and off the court, and I have been working towards new goals of increased lung capacity and endurance as well as speed and agility.

What other fun things do you like to do in your free time?  I have always been very musical. I sing in three different groups. Two groups at Chapin, The Acapella Club and The Choral Club, and the adult choir at St. James Church. I also was the director of the Senior Handbell Ensemble this fall. Additionally, I am the secretary for the International Week club that works with different clubs to raise awareness about both global and local issues that Chapin, as a community, can work to support.

Who influenced you the most in your basketball career and in what way?  Feel free to pick a few people here – who had the most impact individually or collectively.  Mo – Her tireless support and passionate philosophy about the importance of sports has had a significant impact on not only my sports career, but also my education and other areas of my life. I believe that her coaching style is unique, and more people like Mo are needed in sports coaching these days.

My Parents – Their own diligence within their careers have showed me that hard work pays off. I’m glad they pushed me into West Side High School that first Mo’ Motion practice. They have taught me many valuable lessons about persistence, and I cannot thank them enough.

Coach Lyons – Her individualized approach to coaching at Chapin has been so important. I was happy that she received two technical fouls in our 7th grade game. Those two technical fouls showed that, as a coach, she will always support me and have my back.

Coach Davis – His passion for Chapin basketball is most memorable. Even when he shows his gusto for coaching with the occasional stern yell to his players, his unending enthusiasm for basketball is truly inspiring.

Can you describe your first day at Mo’ Motion?  I’ve had many funny experiences at Mo’ Motion; however this one takes the cake. My first experience with Mo’ was when I took private lessons with Mo’ under the bridge on the UWS. My first Mo’ Motion experience was when Kristen held a practice and I had to be dragged into the gym because I was crying out of fear and embarrassment. I was embarrassed by my lack of skill in basketball and I was afraid of being the worst person in the gym. I quickly learned that being the worst person in the gym was a blessing. I had the opportunity to watch the older players do their thing and I observed all of the talent. In the end, I am glad that I was the worst player in the gym my first days as a Mo’ Motion player.

What is your favorite Mo’ Motion memory?  Tournaments were some of my favorite memories of Mo’ Motion. The camaraderie, teamwork, and energy that those tournaments required built a strong bond between teammates. Between our hard fought games, we would play cards, do our homework, and chat, adding to the fun of the weekend. (I’d also like to thank my own and other teammates’ parents who worked tirelessly to cart us to the gym and back home and who helped to keep these tournaments fun for all.)

If you were to describe Mo to someone, what would you say?  She is incredibly tough in the gym and intensely focused on developmental skills. But she quickly won the respect of all of us, and remains the most passionate basketball devotee I know.

If you were to describe Mo’ Motion to someone, what would you say the program did for you? Mo’ Motion follows the “Philosophy of Mo.” Developmental skills are the focus of each practice, and at the end of each practice, we put those skills we learned to the test in scrimmage. Mo’ Motion also trains smart shooters. Mo’ has an established step-by-step progress-dependent system for her shooting practices. It’s very simple. You don’t advance to the next drill until you are proficient in the level you are in. Mo’ has learned, through experience, that good players won’t be great until they master the basics. While many athletes want to play games, games, games, Mo’ insists on the basics which serves all of her players well over time.

What are your short- and long-term goals as a basketball player?  My short-term goals are to be a more aggressive player and to become more of a threat on offense and defense. I would like to be able to make a few steals on defense (comes with quickness and agility) and be able to both drive, shoot, and pass on offense.   My long-term goals are to use basketball as a fun outlet in college to both keep in good physical shape and use sports as a mental break from academic stress and to help out on a local kids basketball team in college. Community service is and has been a very important part of my life.

What are your short-and long-term goals as an athlete in another sport (assuming you played one?)  My short-term goals this year are to break 100 ft. mark in discus and beat my PR in shotput. This means that I have to hit the weight room hard at the beginning of the season and practice my agility and form.  My long-term goals are to use my confidence in my ability to work hard and find success through discus to inspire confidence in both my academic studies and extracurricular vision.

What are your goals as a student?  My short-term goal as a student is to finish high school on a high note and let it serve as a capstone to my Chapin educational experience.  My long-term goal as a student is to try as many classes as I am interested in in college. Additionally, I am lucky to be attending a college in the fall that has excellent research opportunities and I plan to use them well. I also hope to use the confidence I have built through my small scale and all-girls education to be an active force in the classroom in college. While the classes may be bigger, I hope that I can find my voice in college like I found my voice at Chapin.

Where would you like to go to college? I am very fortunate that my hard work paid off, and am very excited to be attending Duke University in the fall.

What subjects, interests or career paths are you considering?  I am lucky to have many subjects that I am interested in, including astronomy, chemistry, biology, environmental science, and health related public policy. I plan to use all of the resources at Duke to plan my future and narrow my wide range of interests.

Do you do injury prevention or mobility training exercises regularly? If yes, what exercises or sets of exercises?  Mo taught me the fundamentals of injury prevention in my warm ups that I use today. The exercises include squat jumps, ankle stretch on the wall and on a ledge, the cobra back stretch, and more body weight exercises. Especially for discus, I use rubber exercise bands to strengthen and safely stretch my shoulders.

What do you think is the most important skill an athlete can have? Coachability – In order to improve, a player must be able to see their own faults and be willing to work on them. Correction and coaching is the basis of a great basketball player.

What is your favorite quote about sports and/or life?  “You can observe a lot by just watching.”Yogi Berra.  I tend to be a more quiet person and frequently, I like to watch or observe. This quote strikes me because it takes a funny perspective of the importance of observation while learning in sports, in school and in life.

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