From The Field To The Sideline

Three of our current ACWL players took up coaching over the summer.

This past summer we (Attacker Cait Gaitley and Midfielder Shannon Kahl) were both fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be lacrosse coaches. We worked with girls at the middle school and high school age. This was a dream job for the both of us: teaching lacrosse with a teammate, and traveling for the summer. The girls reminded us why we both had gotten into the game, and many memories were made.

One of our favorite memories while coaching was being able to see what we had taught the girls at practice manifest itself on the field. For example, we worked on showing the girls how to hitch fake and shoot where they came from at practice. At the next tournament one of our players perfectly executed this, and right after she scored she looked at the both of us and said, “coach I did it!” It was such a good feeling to know that we had helped someone improve their skills, and we were able to see it first hand.

While it was fun and rewarding, we had our fair share of challenges along the way. As players, we have high lax IQ’s, but our coaching IQ’s were lower. Regardless, we were ready for the challenge. The change in mindset from player to coach was completely different and it took a little to get used to. We could not physically be on the field doing the plays, or directing teammates. We had to stand on the sideline getting our points across in a way that was direct and made sense, all while keeping it fun. It took patience, getting to know our players, learning how to work together as co-coaches, and learning how the program ran. As a coach there is a side to game day or tournament day that as players you don’t see. Much more goes into it than meets the eye: the line up preparation, the plays, adapting to the other team, etc. Learning this new perspective turned us into much more well rounded players and gave us a new appreciation for everything our coaching staff does.

Coaching allowed us to make new friends, share our love for lacrosse, learn a lot, and make new memories. We both grew in ways more than one. We became closer, learned to effectively communicate our thoughts, and fell in love with the game all over again from a different perspective.

— #6 Cait Gaitley & #14 Shannon Kahl, Class of 2018

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to be a lacrosse coach for the travel team I used to play for in high school. I had no idea how much this experience would impact my lacrosse life. I came in with no prior coaching experience and I wasn’t aware of how much work went into planning a practice and a game plan.

Naturally, I reverted to what I have learned here at Albion and I simplified a lot of our drills for practice. I couldn’t believe how much I learned about the drills when I was coaching them that I didn’t realize as a player. I also began to understand the emotions coaches experience on game day. You could see me on the sidelines crutching around to give advice (and just to pace because I got very anxious), getting the team excited about the game and trying to give my team the energy I had in the morning before the first game of each tournament (thanks to my expresso). But I also experienced how much a coach can genuinely care about their team and their progress as players and people. I was able to work side-by-side with an amazing coach that guided me through the experience and became a really close friend. I loved traveling with the team and being a part of the Bandit family again.

I played with a lot of the girls I coached this summer on previous teams, so the change from teammate to coach was a bit of an obstacle. I had to find out where I fit in as a part of the team again, yet with a different position. However, without my team over the summer, I wouldn’t have made it through my [ACL injury] recovery because they worked so hard and made coaching super fun even though they hit my knee multiple times with balls right after surgery and we constantly heard bagpipes all through practice (haha).

Now that the summer is over, and I have this amazing experience behind me, I think more about the deeper purpose for a drill, appreciate my coaches even more and have a lot more confidence in my abilities as a coach, teammate, and player.

— #11 Marah Ranger, Class of 2020