[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.]
1 – What is your favorite drill to run with your team and why?
Not going to lie, I love our full field scrimmages because it really allows everyone an opportunity to show and as a coach it really provides a great way to see how players are developing and what we need to work on, and someone always does something (good) to surprise me… but in regards to actual drills we run I would have to go with one of our stick warm-up drills… Big or Little 6v4… Little is inside the 8m and down to create a small space or Big is inside the 12m (we go back and forth on which the size depending on what we feel like we need to work on, time, etc.). There are a few reasons I like it but the main reason is how our team reacts to it – they almost immediately get pumped up and bring that energy straight into the drill! We have a passing rule (usually) before they can score, but the energy the defense brings is usually electric and the creativity our attackers show usually amazes me. The smaller setting creates a very high paced drill and incredible positive energy as well… the players sub themselves which forces them to communicate and think ahead and while it can get feisty at times, it usually gets everyone ready to go and allows us to work on little things too like moving your feet, cutting with the correct hand, creating space, etc. Since it is so fast paced and players sub quickly, it encourages everyone to take chances and try new things (and mess up) since they will have another opportunity very quickly. We usually do it the first day of fall and the new team members are pretty overwhelmed with the pace, skill and energy/excitement, but by the time fall winds down they fit right in and that is also a really neat progression to see.
2 – What traits do you see in student-athletes that you think most accurately predict success after college?
I think one of the traits I see in student-athletes that allows them to be successful both while in college and as they graduate to the real world is their ability to communicate directly. Throughout their recruiting process and once they arrived on campus they were put into situations where they have had to correspond and talk with adults in a way many other college students haven’t. While some may be more shy or quiet initially, our student-athletes have an ability to adapt and learn to have greater confidence in interacting with others outside of their peer group – other coaches, recruit families, donors, professors, etc. – and this ability to look someone in the eye and engage with them really benefits them as they pursue opportunities away from the classroom and lacrosse field.
Confidence is another factor that many of our student-athletes claim they don’t have or that we have to give it to them, when in fact they do have it and it serves them so well when they are away from their comfort zone of the team. You can see it when we hear about an internship they got, or a test they aced, or even when you hear from someone across campus about how impressed they were with an interaction they have with a team member. It may be a different sort of confidence then we typically perceive, but being a member of a team really provides a certain confidence level that carries our young women where they want to go.
Our student-athletes also understand the meaning of hard work, how to organize and prioritize, and how to be a member of a team. These skills that become inherent for most really serve them so well past their college years (and also in those internships that lead to post graduation job opportunities). There’s nothing I love more then when a player or alumnae comes in talking about how they didn’t understand other interns/new hires not being early (aka on-time) or why they couldn’t put their phones down during interactions (we have a lot of “no phone” time on our team) or other habits that are really second nature to them as a team member that don’t seem to be that way with their peers.
3 – What is your guilty pleasure for passing time during long road trips?
UGHHHH… long bus rides! My ideal guilty pleasure would be to actually fall asleep on the bus since in season I am more sleep deprived than normal and always love the idea of a good nap (even a power nap), but that rarely happens… occasionally I will watch the movies on the bus (usually the options and/or picks aren’t my cup of tea, but it is exciting when they pick something I actually have an interest in watching). I also love an opportunity to catch up on my bad reality TV vice so I may download whatever episodes of whatever I need to catch up on (Real Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, etc.) and catch up instead of watching film. J