“I think it’s way more difficult than to learn to keep a straight elbow or to get the ball to come off your index finger,” Coale said. “It’s a mindset, it’s the way you process information, it’s the way that you see yourself and sometimes those are all very complicated and complex sorts of things and there’s not a drill you can run to get better at them.”
It’s harder when you’re your own worst critic, afraid to fail and afraid to make a mistake.
“I had perfectionistic tendencies and through my four years I’ve tried many different things and it’s like, just accepting it and being me is what’s helped me,” McFarland said. “I’ve tried to play for my parents, for other people, for coach. I’ve tried to be this person for somebody else. But when I’ve just tried to play for my team and just to have fun, that’s when everything cleared up.”
Coming from a family of perfectionists, McFarland believes she has figured something out.
“What you really are is an imperfect perfectionist, so you’re never going to be happy,” she said. “So I’ve turned that weakness into a strength. It doesn’t matter, you’re never going to be perfect, you might as well just do everything you can to the best of your ability and that’s pretty much perfection right there.”
That works on the basketball court and pretty much everywhere else.
“I’m so pleased that Jo got there and got to feel what it’s like to be completely free of those self-expectations or those self-prohibitions that she placed on herself,” Hand said. “When you haven’t, it’s like playing in chains.”
It’s like McFarland had to lose herself to find herself. And if it happened quickly, it’s still a very long way from there to here. Best of all, she likes what she’s found.