Performing Through Pressure

Kennedy Holman’s Mindset, Support System Help Her Navigate Success

Tessa Green

The big orange ball with black lines slowly rolled over to the little toddler. It was 2009 at her big brother’s YMCA basketball game. She picked up the basketball that was three times the size of her face. At only 18 months old, Kennedy Holman had the right instincts: she shot the ball. 

Holman is now a 5’7″ point guard freshman on HSE’s varsity girls’ basketball team.  

“I set a goal two years before high school to make the varsity team,” Holman said. “Right away I got to work.” 

HSE is a large school, so being a freshman on varsity is rare. However, Holman reached her goal and made the team. Considering her young age and minutes of playing time during the season and on the sectional team, colleges are already recognizing her talent. So far, Louisville, Butler and Marquette, all D1 schools, want to recruit Holman in the future.  

“It has always been a dream of mine to play in college. I like to compete and play at higher levels that challenge me,” Holman said. “It can be very stressful especially because it is so new.” 

Holman is a young superstar, but that can have downfalls. The pressure to stay or grow as an athlete, while still making time to be a student. The fear that one falls out of love for their sport. The pressure of having to think about her future but trying to not waste her high school years away. Although it can be hard at times, Holman is emotionally strong and ready with the help of her mom and teammates.  

“I have always done my best to let Kennedy lead the way and have a good balance of social life and sports. She is surrounded by amazing teammates and friends that are always there for her,” mom and former coach Lisa Holman said. “She is a chill kid and seems to thrive when the pressure is turned up.”  

When the first college coach reached out last summer, I got chills. I saw it as validation that she is right where she needs to be and she has surrounded herself with the right people.

— Lisa Holman

Kennedy Holman has teammates and a mom that have been through the college process and answer all her questions. Lisa Holman played at the University of Oregon and is a significant reason for Kennedy Holman’s inspiration to be out on the court. Since early childhood, Kennedy Holman and her mom would go to the neighborhood park and play basketball together. Her mom is now helping her sit down and create schedules for all the college visit and calls to make it all seem a little less overwhelming.  

“I have learned so much from my mom,” Kennedy Holman said. “I’m so grateful she has been my coach for so many years.”  

A parent coaching their own kid creates a unique bond.  

“I’m not going to lie, it is not always easy coaching your own kid, but the memories we built and the time we spend together is priceless,” Lisa Holman said. “Before a big game, I tell her to go do her own thing, don’t feed into the trash talking. Let your skills do the talking and remain humble.” 

While her support system helps, Kennedy Holman could not have made it this far if it were not for her natural talent and grit. She puts in many hours, and it shows. Her high school coach explains what it is like to watch Kennedy play.  

“She is a player with tremendous energy. She is one of the fastest players on the court, her athleticism, competitive mindset, her ability to be a lockdown defender, and being a great teammate are her best aspects” coach Brian Satterfield said. “She has provided a tremendous spark off the bench for us.”