Adapting to the Unexpected: Claire Driscoll on Her First Thoroughbred Season
Playing collegiate basketball was not always on freshman Claire Driscoll’s ‘22 mind. After being encouraged to stay in AAU tournaments by her dad who hoped she would be scouted — and to keep her options open — Driscoll decided that she wanted to continue her basketball career. Otherwise, it was as if a big piece of herself would be missing. Now a freshman on the Skidmore women’s basketball team, Driscoll reflects on her first season.
Starting at the age of eight, basketball has always been a part of Driscoll’s life: “I started playing because my older sister loved the sport and she would teach me how to shoot in our driveway. I remember making my first basket — with my little pink basketball I always carried around — on our Boston Celtic basketball hoop at home. From there, my mom put me in a recreational league and I fell in love with the sport.”
From that moment on, her admiration for the sport never faded and Driscoll has now learned how to adjust to college while continuing to play the game she loves. As a first year, Driscoll had been very stressed balancing school, social life, and sports for the first couple of weeks; but, after making a daily schedule for herself, she found it all became a lot more manageable.
“After lunch, I go straight to work and try to get my homework done before practice at 6-8pm. I think the main thing I realized about this student-athlete balance is that you need to plan out each day and adapt when things come up.”
Adapting to the unexpected is something the talented forward learned early in her collegiate career. After being out for a month due to a knee injury, Driscoll explained how difficult it was playing again because she was out of shape: “Coming back was hard, but the support I got from my coaches and teammates was able to help me get better physically and regain confidence. My knee is still a problem, but I know I have my teammates and coaches to lean on.”
Driscoll attributes much of her success over the past couple of months as a thoroughbred to her teammates and coaches. When asked what the best thing about the team is, Driscoll replied, “I know it sounds cheesy but the best thing about the team is being a part of a supportive family. We all get along really well on and off the court. I could not ask for better teammates especially this year to guide me through my first year of basketball and college. I am also very thankful for my coaches because they constantly support and believe in all of us on and off the court.”
Knowing that she has the support of her teammates and coaches is a big part of her game mentality. Stepping out onto the court, Driscoll always gets a rush of excitement, determination, and nervousness, but doesn’t let that hinder her performance.
“During the game, all of my nerves and anxious feelings go away and my mood fluctuates as the game goes. Obviously when I make a mistake, I get upset, but I try my best to not let it affect my game or my teammates.”
For her, the best part of the game is when a teammate makes a great shot or a great pass and everyone yells in celebration. But when it’s game time, Driscoll had to master blocking out the crowd and focusing on her teammates and coaches voices.
Playing in 17 games this season, Driscoll averages 5.2 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, and although she doesn’t start every game, she has proven herself a valuable player. Her career high came at a game against Bard College where she added 12 points off the bench. She shares that her proudest moment at Skidmore so far is getting the chance to start a few games, as most college freshman do not get that chance.
“I had the mindset to try my best and to work hard but to accept the fact that on most college team’s freshman do not play so I was very proud and happy for myself to get the opportunity and experience to play at the college level at a young age.”
As the women’s basketball team continues with their season, Driscoll and the rest of the team have high aspirations and are excited to be strong competitors moving forward. This is going to take practice, strength, and passion — all which Driscoll seems prepared for.
“Basketball has taught me to never give up and how to be mentally tough. It gives me the chance to be myself and I want to thank all of my coaches who helped me become the player I am. Without basketball I always jokingly say I would have no idea what to do with my life.”