Katie Crowley: Women’s Ice Hockey

Katie Crowley

Katie Crowley

Women’s Hockey Head Coach

Boston College

Katie Crowley started as an assistant coach at Boston College in August 2004, and was promoted to head coach in May 2007. At the end of the 2014-15 season, Crowley was honored with her first national coach of the year honor.

Crowley won a gold medal in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan; a silver medal in the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, and a bronze at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. She took home five consecutive silver medals in the World Championships (1997, 1999-2001, 2004), and a gold medal in 2005 with Team USA. In 2009, she and her 1998 Olympic teammates were enshrined in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. 

Crowley has worked with many national teams. The Eagles’ skipper was named head coach of the 2010 Under-18 National Team that captured a silver medal at the IIHF World Championship.  A year prior to that, she served as an assistant coach for the Under-18 National Team – which won gold at the IIHF World Championship in Germany – and the U-18 Select Team.  In 2006, she worked with the Under-22 Select Team. She has also worked as a lecturer, coach and instructor at numerous hockey camps throughout New England. 

Katie Crowley

My best advice to a girls’ coach is to make sure they treat the athletes with respect, make the sport fun, and teach them how to be a good teammate.  Not everyone will go on to be a college athlete, but hopefully they have fun, learn something about the game, and make friends for life.

 

For Katie Crowley’s best team building exercise that she did with the 1988 Olympic Team, please read How to Coach Girls coming out in March of 2018.

Interview: Marc Gargaro, Nonantum Boxing Club

Interview: Marc Gargaro, Nonantum Boxing Club

Marc Gargaro

Boxing Trainer, Co-Owner

Nonantum Boxing Club

Marc is a professional boxing trainer as well as USA Boxing Level 2 and AIBA Star 1 amateur boxing coach. He has extensive coaching experience on the regional and national level and works with boxers of all ages. He has coached hundreds of fighters since co-founding Nonantum Boxing Club, with about a quarter of them women.

 Interview: Marc Gargaro, Nonantum Boxing Club

Coaching Girls versus Boys

I started coaching women several years into my coaching career. Women’s boxing really wasn’t that popular until about ten years ago so I started coaching just one woman at first who had boxed as an amateur for a really long time. Every year, there are more and women coming in to train at the gym, which is a good thing. The sport is definitely evolving for women. Now, my fighters are almost evenly split between men and women.

The girls who come into the sport these days have been with me for some time. There’s been quite a few women over the years who have been successful as well at our gym. I feel that the women who come in usually put in a lot time into it; they are not just coming in the door and disappearing.

There are slight differences training men versus women. When you a good boxing who wants to train, they have the same qualities: they are driven, they are athletic, strong minded, they have toughness to them. The women are usually more independent. Guys that need that push more. Girls They can set up their own training sessions and you need to push them to do that. The women get frustrated more easily. It’s not necessarily bad or good. They push themselves a little too hard so sometimes you need to rein them in a little. That’s the main differences that I see.

For the rest of the interview, please read How To Coach Girls coming out March 2018.

Interview: Brent Bode, Rowing Coach at CRI

Interview: Brent Bode, Rowing Coach at CRI

Brent Bode

Competitive Novice Girls Head Coach

Community Rowing Inc. (CRI)

Bode has been coaching and teaching at Community Rowing, Inc. since 2010. He is Head Coach for the Competitive Youth Novice Girls program and assistant director of CRI’s Coaching Education programming. Bode also coaches novice and intermediate adult rowers year-round and teaches fitness, strength, and conditioning to athletes of all ages. He holds a Master’s degree in Exercise & Sports Studies from Smith College and is a long-time member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Under Bode’s direction, the Competitive Novice Girls team grew from 27 to more than 50 athletes in just three years. Additionally, and most important, the team continually meets its mission: “to grow each student-athlete’s character respectfully, to inspire extraordinary performances, and to improve their well-being through the pursuit of honorable victory in athletic competition.”

Interview: Brent Bode, Rowing Coach at CRI

Keeping it fun for myself is all about keeping it in perspective. I recognize that girls are doing a lot of things and experiencing a lot of stress. One part of what I try to do as a coach is provide a space for them to let their hair down. At the same time, I think it’s important to actually want to know what is going on in their lives, and not just thinking that they are here just to do their exercise and be an athlete. You (my athletes) are here because you are a person and I want to understand you as a whole person. I think it’s important to maintain a perspective that my athletes are more than just coming to do that sport.

In terms of keeping it fun, we give the girls plenty of opportunity to share with each other things that are going on in their lives. We keep things light; we laugh a lot. We focus when we have to focus, but we allow play. I’m a proponent of play; I probably allow a lot more play than I’ve seen other sports organizations do. Playfulness comes with an approach of how we do things. We don’t do anything special or out of the ordinary. I think we are just conscious of the fact that these are young people, and young people need time to be serious and focused and challenged, but at the same time, they need play and connection with each other.

The rest of his interview will be on How To Coach Girls coming out March of 2018.

Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes

Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes

My daughter had only played team sports like soccer and rowing when she decided to try a new sport, Nordic Skiing (cross country skiing) in order to play for her high school.  In this sport, she was the newbie who was far from the best. But she and her friends, though novices, brought an infectious team spirit by cheering louds at events like races and awards banquets where support was typically more muted.  

They made a lot of friends by simply inquiring about how other athlete’s races went, and providing emotional support when their new friends were unhappy with their results. It turns out that no one really did that. In return, she appreciated the simplicity of performance evaluation. Ranking based solely on her time was a break from a more subjective evaluation. My daughter still views Nordic Skiing as her “off-season” sport, but the benefits were both emotional and physical.  

Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes

Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes

The statistic that 70% of kids quit organized sports before high school is a staggering one. As a coach, we can affect this number if we focus on getting our players to return to sports each season. One significant way is to supporting them when they are willing to play more than one sport in a season, or want to play a different sport during the off-season.

70% of kids quit organized sports before high school. Continue reading “Supporting Multi-Sport Athletes”

Playing Time

starting time

With my same middle daughter, I’ve experienced two kinds of playing time issues. When she was in kindergarten soccer, she would not play at all if I was near the field. Instead, she would want to sit on my lap. I was banned most of the season in order to get my daughter to play by the coach, my husband. When she was older and playing club soccer, she was very cognizant of playing time. Starting and playing time was a proxy for the social pecking order of the team. It’s the perceived relationship of starting/playing time and social status on the team that coaches should be aware of. Even mixing up the starting line up once a season, signals to the players that everyone is valued, and that there are no “favorites.”

starting time

Playing Time

It’s important for the coach to give a pre-season message about playing and starting philosophy. I believe that for kids U12 and younger, every player should have equal playing starting and playing time. They should also play different positions.

Continue reading “Playing Time”

Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community

Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community

My girls’ club soccer team did an annual soccer charity event where the entire club played soccer for twenty-four hours straight. Each age level was assigned a two-hour block of time where they scrimmaged against the boys’ teams with music pumping in the background. The coaches would jump in and play too, which made it especially fun. Each player raised $400 towards soccer scholarships and Special Olympics. It was a nice way for the kids to channel their love of soccer towards a social cause, and it also gave them a chance to interact with other teams that they usually didn’t ever see on the soccer field.

Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community

Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community

We already have the organization, in the form of our team, to help others.

We have the opportunity as coaches to educate outside the game. For example, we can encourage our players to give back outside the sport. If we do a community service project, our team might have the chance to learn that there are kids in Kenya who play barefoot because they don’t own soccer cleats or that they don’t have running water. It also is a way to improve team chemistry.

Community service also serves to decrease bullying because it teaches kids to be empathetic. Sometimes kids are so busy that if we don’t offer this opportunity, it’s hard for them to do it. Then we can get into this pattern of focusing on player improvement, and that sends a certain message to the team. Continue reading “Social Awareness and Giving Back to Community”

Player Code of Conduct

Player Code of Conduct

My daughters rarely received a formal Player Code of Conduct that they had to read over and sign for the sports teams that they played on. I like a formal players’ contract to put everyone on the same page at the start of a new season. Without a formal list of rules, the players have to figure out by what the coach’s rules of conduct are, and the unspoken rules of behavior can take longer to figure out (e.g. are we here to win or have fun?).

Player Code of Conduct

 Player Code of Conduct

Champions make those around them better.

At the start of the season, go over the player code of conduct and then have each player sign that they understand and commit to this. This is a great opportunity to set the tone of the team: teamwork, having fun, mutual respect.

  • Have fun!
  • Show courtesy and respect to all coaches, players, opponents, officials, parents, and fans.
  • Attend every practice and game that you can, and notify the coach if you can’t make it.
  • Be supportive of teammates.

Continue reading “Player Code of Conduct”

Building Team Chemistry

Building Team Chemistry

My oldest daughter played volleyball, and her team would huddle after every point, win or lose. It looked like a very positive thing, girls huddled up hugging each other. Sometimes it wasn’t though. A player in the huddle might assign blame for a lost point, demoralizing the group. Since the coach is not part of the team huddle, the team culture would reveal itself in these moments, good or bad. While the coach can’t control what happens in the huddle, it’s an extension of the team culture that was created during practices. It’s a little like baking bread; you get all the right ingredients at the right temperature. If you do all the right things and create the right environment, the bread rises on its own.

Building Team Chemistry

One my daughter’s teammates was invited to attend a national training camp. The coach told the players to kick the ball around in small groups before practice started. She approached a group and asked if she could join. A girl asked if she had been to this camp before.

“No, this is my first time,” she replied.

“This group is only for girls who have been to camp multiple times.” Continue reading “Building Team Chemistry”

Teaching Growth Mindset Through Sports

Teaching Growth Mindset Through Sports

I remember the first time my daughter got cut from the new club soccer team they started in our town when she was in fourth grade. All her friends made the team, but she made alternate, which meant she could practice with team, but wouldn’t play in games. That wasn’t going to work for her; she wouldn’t thrive on a team that made her feel inferior.

It was the first time I saw her heart break and it was hard for me as a parent. Her town coach was also the new club team coach, and when we declined the alternate spot to take a spot on different club soccer team, he called. He was upset to know that my daughter was heartbroken so he offered to talk to her. They talked and she said, “You don’t think I’m a good player.”

 Her brave statement would serve to motivate her in the future and also demonstrate that her self-worth wasn’t affected. She didn’t think she wasn’t good enough to make the team. She thought the coach made a mistake in not picking her.

Growth mindset is exactly that: it’s not genetics that makes a good player, it’s hard work. And she this setback motivated her to put in the work over the next few years to improve. She went on to practice seven days a week until she finally made the top team of her club team.  

Teaching Growth Mindset Through Sports

Teaching Growth Mindset Through Sports

Growth Mindset in sports focuses on development rather than outcomes.

Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset

Research on Growth Mindset found that the kind of feedback teachers give results in kids either seeking out challenges or taking the easy way out. Feedback telling kids that they are smart encourages a Fixed Mindset, whereas praising hard work and effort fosters a Growth Mindset. When kids have a Growth Mindset, they take on challenges. This in turn, increases their abilities and achievement.

Applying Growth Mindset is simple; don’t praise ability or talent, praise hard work and effort. This mindset can be easily applied in sports and supports a development philosophy versus one focused on winning. For example, in a post-game meeting, it’s easy to recognize the girl who scored the winning goal. But if this was a lazy goal, praise instead the players who worked hard at practice to move the ball from the back, and demonstrated this skill during the game, thus creating the opportunity for the goal.

It’s easier said than done. As a coach, the mentality has to move from Winning to Development, both at practices and during games. It means that the focus is not on outcomes like game results, but on effort during practice.

Continue reading “Teaching Growth Mindset Through Sports”