PP: Lindsay Whalen and the Jenga Tower

Ignatius L Hoops

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Sep 9, 2015
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Andy Greder:

The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s basketball team has set up a Jenga tower inside its practice facility. They don’t play the board game, per se, but if they have a good session, they add a wooden block to the foundation. If they don’t, they take one away.

“It’s corny,” Whalen said, adding the players were “looking at me the first day, like, ‘Seriously?’

“Well, you better get used to it because I’m a corny person and I’m the coach, so you better get with it,” she added. “I like to laugh and some of the stuff is kind of hokey, or whatever you want to call it, but it gives us a visual on how we’ve been doing.”

Whalen dug up the Jenga game from storage in her home’s basement and brought it in a few weeks ago when she saw her team put together strong spurts or halves during games but couldn’t close them out to produce wins. The idea: If they focused on building a metaphorical sturdy base, they could easily climb higher.

Minnesota has put together good practices since then, reinforcing the Jenga foundation, if you will, and it has led to their first consecutive wins of the season
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