Three Questions for Liz Robertshaw

[Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature a short Q&A with an IWLCA member coach. The format will be one question about lacrosse, one question about life, and one fun question.]

Q&A with Liz Robertshaw, Head Coach, Boston University @TerrierLacrosse

1 – If you could only practice ONE drill to prepare to play a game, what drill would it be and why would you choose that one?

Only one!?! Well, for over the past 10 years I feel my initial reaction would be to say “1:00 Draws,” and any BU player reading this would agree. I LOVE what full field “1:00 Draws” teaches tactically under the pressure of a clock, but more importantly, I think it can give a mental edge to a team. When your players know they can score one, two, or more goals in under a minute there is a confidence gained that shows itself in tight moments of a game. It’s a set amount of time for players to work in so there’s no “getting bored” with a long set, and when you identify a certain number of draws you are doing and keep score it’s a great competitive motivator.

Courtesy of Boston University Athletic Communications.

I will add that last year we began doing a 7 v 7 drill inspired by the UConn Women’s Basketball team which we named “execution drill” (**note that no one has died from their participation in this drill.) It’s a gritty, physically and mentally challenging drill for players that works on the execution of your offensive and defensive schemes. For us it has helped to identify and develop our leaders, work on effective communication skills, and put our players in tough, game-like, scenarios. I shared it at the IWLCA Annual Meetings and if you want to know more, most of you know where to find me.   

2 – How has becoming a parent changed you as a coach?

I used to hear all the time from coaches who have kids that your time-management strategies and how quickly you move on changes when you have kids. Now that I am one of them, I know it holds true.  

From a time-management perspective, I’ve realized there aren’t enough hours in the day to be there for all the people I used to spend time with doing the things we used to do. Now I have a family, and sometimes that daycare pick up calls! For those who know me, you know some of my favorite conversations are the ones after work talking about the day, planning for upcoming games, bouncing ideas off each other about random things, etc. Those are tough now, as is being able to stay late to meet with players, or popping off for a weekend getaway to meet up with coaching friends at their schools. This is just my new normal because I am needed at home. With two coaches in the house there’s a lot of juggling – no stay at home spouse here so we need to manage our time. I have also needed to rely on our staff so much more for when I need to leave or come late or not be there, and to say I am thankful for what Jess [Antelmi], Mike [Bedford] and Ana [Heneberry] (now at Michigan) have done for me would be an understatement.

Now I don’t want you to think I see having kids as a negative – other than seeing my son Ryan smiling, my favorite thing about being a mom is that the annoying, frustrating, disappointing things that occur throughout the course of a day disappears SO much faster. I don’t want to be in a bad mood around my son, so as soon as I walk in the door or walk across the field to our team post-game to see him, I have completely moved past whatever annoyed or disappointed me. So I guess if you want to de-stress as a coach, just have a kid (haa kidding!.) But seriously, it’s really cool that it’s changed me and something I am so thankful for. I see the joy in him and as a result I see more clearly the hearts of my players.  

3 – What would the synopsis of the pitch to create a reality show based on the life of a collegiate women’s lacrosse coach say?

Oh man that’s such a tough one.

Let’s see, “Behind the Whistle” is a reality show following the trials and tribulations of three collegiate lacrosse coaches across the country as they navigate through a year with the ultimate goal of winning a championship without losing their minds, and their jobs, in the process. From the newly appointed head coach trying to keep her head above water with each storm that comes across her desk (and there are many), to the embattled veteran coach trying to hopelessly rebrand himself in a social media driven age, to the egomaniac head coach who can’t seem to get out of her own way regardless of how many times she gets burned, this show sheds light on the good, bad, and the unbelievable that happens behind the whistle. [Note – some material may not be suitable for children, parents, lacrosse players, or future employing athletic directors]

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