If you know anything about Monique “Mo Ballin” Bribiescas, you know she lives for the game of basketball. The former New Mexico State Aggie has loved the game ever since she was a child and since her days playing college ball, she has used it as a platform to inspire and help others.
It all started with a little help from her father. In an interview with Kulture Hub, she explained the impact he had on her career and how far the game of basketball has taken her to heights she would’ve never imagined with MoballinTraining. She said,
“It’s so funny because my dad, he tells everybody, ‘all I did was teach her how to make a lay-up and after that I didn’t teach her anything else.’ I was just born with it. I was naturally gifted I guess. Super blessed.”
Born and raised in Arizona, Monique quickly became a student of the game at a young age. If she wasn’t practicing from sun up to sun down, she was glued to the television screen, watching her favorite players, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and Kevin Johnson doing work on the court.
Mo’s passion was set on fire. Her competitive drive fueled her to get better at the game. She had a dream and sought after it with everything she had. Mo explained,
“I always wanted to be the first girl in the NBA. That was my vision. Before the Love and Basketball movie.”
With Monique’s dream intact, she began chasing after it relentlessly. While attending Desert Vista High School she played point guard. She led her team to two state finals only to fall short each time. Even though Mo didn’t bring a state title back to her school, she would go on to New Mexico to represent her school in a bigger way. She said,
“I earned a full ride basketball scholarship to play at New Mexico State.”
Although Mo was nice on the court, it wasn’t until her first day with her fellow Aggies in the gym when she realized that she had to elevate her game. Mo admitted,
“Growing up I was super shy. I didn’t communicate a lot. My first day of practice as freshman, and I started as a freshman so I did have that leadership. I led by example. I didn’t lead by you know the leadership as far as being bold.”
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The Aggies coaching staff took notice and sent Mo a message of their own. Mo remembers,
“My very first practice I wasn’t talking enough I guess and they kicked me out. They said ‘LEAVE. YOU’RE NOT TALKING’ As a freshman I was kind of scared. It’s my first practice you know and they’re kicking me out, but they wanted to prove a point. They said ‘If you’re gonna start you gotta talk 24/7 . ‘You gotta talk constantly because you are the coach on the floor.’ So I kinda had to come out of my shell. So the second I came back to practice and didn’t shut up.”
The lessons Monique learned in her first two days of practice went a long way. As a starter throughout her tenure as an Aggie, along with three straight WAC title game appearances, Mo lead New Mexico State to its first victory ever against the 22nd-ranked Houston Cougars in 2005.
She also put on some thriller endings like 2007’s half-court shot buzzer beater taking down Wichita State 72-69.
“Ball was life when I was six years old and is still life right now. It’s been my passion ever since I was little. Once I graduated college I knew I still wanted to be involved and kind of find my way.”
Once Monique’s playing days were over she naturally turned to coaching.
“I found my passion actually going through coaching. I didn’t really like the X’s and O’s. But in practice I got to handle the player development side and that’s when I found out this is what I like to do, player development. I worked for 5 years. I did it for free. I just needed the experience.”
With enough experience under her belt, Monique decided to dedicate her life to making other players better and turned that into a business. With the help of one of her best friends, Instagram, and Monique’s own dedication to the game, her passion turned into reality. She explained the help of the platform saying,
“When Instagram first started, I didn’t want it. One of my best friends she was just was just like no, get it. it’s awesome it’s fun. I was like Na I don’t want to be on social media like that, so one day she texted me and said uh I just made one for you. And then she gave me the information and it was MoBallin.”
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Monique’s business started out as simply training two local kids and some high school hoopers. Now she’s training non-stop with her MoBallinTraining program.
“So the page just kinda got popular, especially once Instagram started doing videos so people could actually see my videos and how I play and my skills. Everybody knew me as Mo Ballin when I started my business page so I added training and just kept the name.”
Because of Monique’s hard work and love for the game, MoBallinTraining is working with WNBA and NBA clients as well as still training the youth. Still, even though, ball is life, Mo knows that her journey is much deeper than basketball. She knows she’s changing lives. Monique finished off the conversation by telling me,
“Seeing players develop just feels incredible. Seeing kids come back to me and saying ‘hey I made varsity as a freshman’ or something like ‘hey I scored 25 [points] yesterday. Even my pros man, one went from making $1500 to $10,000. The success that they have is worth way more than having a million dollars in my pocket if I had it. They put the work in and that’s what bring me in every day. I work hard for them because I want them to succeed.”
If you’re ever in Arizona and need a good run, hit up MoballinTraning!