Polina Maslova: “I think phygital basketball will gain its popularity”

A girl with a powerful nature both on and off the court. At the first School Games in phygital format where contenders were to play NBA2K on game console first and then prove themselves on a real court, the bright Polina Maslova, 11th grade student, really shone with that resolute look in her blue eyes and hair in high ponytail hack. Her well-honed basketball moves, the result of multi-year training, would impress even the common onlooker. One could tell right away she is in her element. Polina played on the Russian national junior team Russia but due to a knee injury she’d rather make a career in technical sport disciplines. But still basketball is something bigger than just a sport for her, it was always a part of her life.

— You are very emotional on the basketball court. Is it always the case or you behaved like that only at this tournament? How do your teammates react to your harsh remarks? 

— Unfortunately, I act that way all the time. But my teammates understand everything, they know that I do it not from malice, so we’re ‘okay’ about that. 

— Name your strong sides both on and off court? 

— I have a very good technique and I can play on every position on the court. My emotions often get the better of me, it is my weak side. I can’t always play with a cold head and warm heart and it can be a problem sometimes. Also, I missed a lot of time due to the knee injury — I’d mention it as a minus as well. 

— What satisfies you most during matches? 

— Absolutely everything. From the start till the very last second. But the most satisfying thing is winning, of course. 
School break. Moscow hosts first phygital tournament

— Are you OK with your results at this event? 

— I honestly don’t know. I’m very happy that our school team was heading to the top but the basketball team’s result is not what I’m happy about. I understand that we need to get better both in the physical and digital parts of the competition. 

— Overall, what do you think about the phygital format?

— Sounds interesting. I think phygital will gain popularity. 

— How do you think will phygital basketball lure viewers from the classical basketball? And what has to be done to accomplish it?

— Yes, of course. We’re living in the 21st century where games have already become a part of life of many people. People just have to get used to something new and then everything will be ok.

— You said that you’ve been playing video games since your childhood. How could NBA2K be useful for classic sportsmen? 

— I think that NBA2K can be useful to prepare tactically. Using it you can see the court from a different prospective, and calculate every single step. 

— What basketball gives you in your life? 

— Absolutely everything. I live it, I breathe it: from developing my eating habits to my nature. I grew up with basketball and this fact says it all. 
School break. Moscow hosts first phygital tournament

— Can you tell us about your first basketball memory? 

— A coach came to my school searching for new talents. As I was always tall, they spotted me but my mom was against it because she thought this sport was dangerous. But I somehow persuaded her.

— Who’s your biggest idol in basketball? 

— I don’t have any. Everybody who’s starting to play basketball and not throwing it are cool already. 

— What are your goals in basketball? 

— I’ve already achieved everything I wanted. Now I just want to make progress and get better every day. 

— The best basketball advice that you’ve ever received? 

— The best advice I’ve ever received came from my coach. He told me: «Never stop training. With every single practice session, you make a step forward and when you skip one, you make two steps back. Thank you, Alexey Viktorovich [Stolbov], you were absolutely right!