Sacrifice Earns Reward
You are standing at the free throw line in a crowded gymnasium. The sweat drips down your face and all eyes are on you to sink the shot. You take a deep breath and release the ball from your fingertips – it hits the rim and rolls on its edge, this moment feels like an eternity. The ball then settles into the net and you make the shot!
But something feels off.
There is no eruption of applause, in fact, you hear an echo in your voice. You break focus from the basket and turn to the crowd but the spectators are suddenly gone. The seats sit empty and your teammates and opponents are nowhere to be found.
Was this all just a dream?
For PowerStrength’s Abbey Kimball, this scenario reflects her sophomore basketball season at West Catholic High School. The lady Falcon’s season, like all other sports, was unexpectedly canceled due to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. There were no practices, no games, and no applause.
When Abbey was 11-years old, she was one of the tallest girls in her 6th grade class. It was at this life-stage that Abbey developed a serious interest to play basketball. And her journey began when she joined the Michigan Basketball Academy, a travel basketball organization that offers the opportunity to compete at local, regional and national levels. It was through these early years that Abbey learned the game, developed her fundamentals, and learned the art of commitment. Here she laid the groundwork for her future success.
Fast forward to the fall of 2020 and Abbey is in her sophomore year at West Catholic where she plays point-guard and shooting-guard for the girl’s basketball team. But this year brought a new set of challenges. The school administration and athletic department did their best to navigate the current climate of the pandemic. But being six-months into Covid-19 meant mask mandates, remote classes, social distancing, and a canceled basketball season. And with Abbey’s goal to play collegiate basketball, the canceled season felt like a direct blow to her progress and dream.
A canceled season meant no team workouts and no opportunity for competition play. Fears could have quickly set in for Abbey. However, she did not let these unexpected circumstances derail her ultimate goal to play Division-1 basketball.
Abbey’s determination drove her to keep going strong while forced to temporarily go it alone. In rain, snow or shine, she practiced three times per day – starting her day with 6:00am workouts.
The PowerStrength Plan
The summer prior to her junior year, social distancing was easing up and this meant a return to the in-person classroom and to the basketball court! With the world reopening its doors, Abbey sought out the PowerStrength team to help her with her next stage of athletic development.
With the help of PowerStrength Coach, Brian Paulsen, and the trainers at the PowerStrength, they developed a custom performance plan for Abbey. This plan would give her the individualized strength and performance training needed in order to take her athleticism to the next level. This new athleticism, paired with her high-level basketball skill set, would help her get noticed by college programs and earn scholarship opportunities.
Throughout her two years of training at PowerStrength, Abbey made incredible progress, more specifically:
- Increased her Vertical Jump by 7 inches
- Added 18 inches to her Broad Jump
- Set personal best on her fully-electric 10-yard Sprint by .19 seconds
- Increased her overall max-rep Chin-Up Test by 9 total reps
Junior Year Adversity
Abbey’s full-body strength training program at PowerStrength geared her up for a stellar junior season!
In 2021, during Abbey’s junior year, the West Catholic Falcons were cruising through the playoffs and it felt as if there was no doubt this team was destined for the state finals. The fluidity was back and their dynamite season lifted their moral in a major way! The team finished the season at the Regional Finals – a momentous accomplishment. But Abbey was met with another unexpected disappointment when she was unable to participate in the Regional Finals due to Covid contact tracing. Without Abbey and a couple other teammates, they lost the game. It was a bittersweet end to her junior season but through the highs and lows, Abbey kept a level head and used the loss to fuel her fire.
Abbey Kimball Senior Year Accolades and Memories
Cue senior year and Abbey was ready to cap off her high school basketball career strong! As the only senior on the team, Abbey became the voice of leadership for the Falcons. Rather than focus on the lack this created – such as a potentially lonely senior night, or the missed camaraderie that other senior leadership provides – Abbey used it as an opportunity to grow her leadership skills and encourage the young team to step up.
Senior year brought a victorious 25-2 season and Abbey swept the leaderboard with impressive stats:
- 648 points
- 80 assists
- 104 rebounds
- 112 steals
- 106 deflections
- 84% free throws
- 43.6% three-point shots (103 made)
- 59.9% effective field goal
In addition to leading her team to the State Finals, Abbey was honored with the runner-up title for the Michigan “Miss Basketball” award. An annual award given to the best high school girls basketball player in the state of Michigan.
Accompanying all the accolades, Abbey earned herself a scholarship to play Division-1 Basketball for Michigan State University. It is through Abbey’s sacrifice, perseverance and coachability that led her to accomplish the goal she set out to achieve at just 11-years of age. Her last high school game was played on the court in the Breslin Center and this is where her next game will be as well!
Here is what Abbey’s father had to say about her experience:
“Best decision we ever made was to follow Abbey’s wish to work out with PowerStrength! Having skills to play at a high level is great, but the added confidence when adding strength and power took her game to a completely different level. She shared her goal of transitioning her body with the PowerStrength Team to not only be the best high school player she can be, but to have a body and frame to compete at the D1 collegiate level when she arrives on campus. Seeing Abbey make the commitment to do this has been fun to watch. She’ll tell you it’s hard work, but the payoff is unmatched! Thank you PowerStrength for all you’ve done for my daughter, both physically and mentally!”
Abbey has the mindset and work ethic of a Spartan and she will no doubt be an incredible addition to the Spartan Basketball family. Most importantly, Abbey’s high-character and leadership will be a fan-favorite in East Lansing for years to come.
Well-done Abbey. Your PowerStrength Team is so proud of all you have achieved and the way you did it.
Better Never Stops. Watch Abbey in action below or on YouTube