Anna Nimz’s coaching goes beyond the game


Chris Reich/NSU Photography Services

Throughout the highs and lows of the basketball season within the teams, Coach Nimz looks to build a connection with each of her athletes.

This month many women are celebrated for their contribution to the rights of women, but the impact of women has never stopped. Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s Lady Demons basketball team gets to celebrate their head coach, Anna Nimz, for her ability to impact lives on and off the court.

Nimz’s ability to impact lives is the biggest part of her calling to coach women’s basketball.

Throughout the highs and lows of the basketball season within the teams, Coach Nimz looks to build a connection with each of her athletes. What she teaches to the young women of her team extends beyond the basketball court and into their daily lives.

“Through basketball, we’re able to help prepare them for the real world. It’s a game,” said Nimz, in her third year with the Lady Demons. “High intensity. High emotion. You see a lot of success but you see a lot of failure.”

For Nimz to properly coach her athletes, she teaches more than just the fundamental skills of basketball. Nim also teaches her team life skills that are needed for them to succeed.

“I think it’s important for myself and my staff to continue to mold the girls in a way that allows them to be successful in life and be confident with themselves,” Nimz said. “I think confidence is something that way too many people lack.”

To be able to have someone of the same gender guide athletes through the same issues and challenges that they have gone through during their lifetime can be extremely helpful to success on the court. Basketball, a sport that has always been known to be dominated by men, is transitioning into putting women in important positions of power.

“We talk a lot about Title IX,” Nimz said. “We talk a lot about our ability to be as good as we want to be and there’s no person that can tell us or limit us in our efforts and in our dreams to do and what we want to do.”

Women have fought long and hard for laws to be made to insure those changes increase. Coach Nimz emphasizes the barrier in Title IX for the reason she is able to stand here today as head coach at an NCAA Division I college. With Title IX’s requirement of all institutions across the United States to reward both male and female athletes equally, women have been able to break even more barriers.

“We held a Title XI game this year and was able to reflect on the women here that have laid the foundation to allow our players to be able to be here playing on a full-ride scholarship and what that means,” Nimz said.

With it being nearly 51 years since Title IX was signed into law, Nimz pushes in the minds of her team that the foundation that women in sports have laid should not leave the following generations of women in complacency.

“It’s our turn to pick up and now, we gotta run.”

Women coaching in basketball has shown to be vital for the future of young women in the sport.

“To be a women’s head coach–it’s such a male-dominated sport. So, how cool? And what a privilege but now, it’s my job. It’s my responsibility to teach my girls so my girls can teach the next generation below them,” Nimz said.

As she has been coaching for nearly 20 years, Nimz looks to encourage the women that surround her to lead to go beyond the limitations others choose to pin on them as well as instill confidence in her athletes the way her mother instilled confidence in her.

“She thinks it’s crazy when I tell her this but she gave me the exact idea of what a strong individual woman looks like,” said Nimz. “She says ‘I’ve never been like you, Anna. You’re outspoken and you’re this’–but I gained my confidence from my mom: She’s superwoman to me and I want to be superwoman to those girls.”