Nicholoff and Lister Attend Coach Symposium
Two members of the Washington College athletic community - head softball/volleyball coach Lacey Lister and senior field hockey goalkeeper Elena Nicholoff - attended the 11th annual Snell-Shillingford Coaching Symposium at Franklin & Marshall from January 22-24. The event was sponsored by the Centennial Conference and the NCAA Committee for Women's Athletics. This symposium is a chance to female athletes to network and learn about opportunities in the coaching arena.
The symposium is named for Eleanor Frost Snell and Jen Shillingford. Snell, the legendary field hockey coach at Ursinus where she won 674 games, is in the Ursinus Athletics Hall of Fame. Shillingford who played and coached under Snell at Ursinus. Shillingford went on to serve as a field hockey coach and athletic director at Bryn Mawr for over 20 years prior to her retirement in 1999.
The event began on Friday afternoon the 22nd with a panel of coaches at different levels followed by networking session.
The 23rd was a day that consisted of eight topics and a presentation titled “History of Women in Sport”.
The first topic of the day was Developing Your Coaching Philosophy followed by Many Hats of Coaching. The final topic of the morning session was Leading with Personality. At the lunch that day, Franklin & Marshall head women's lacrosse coach Lauren Paul was the presenter for the lunch speech titled “Winning a National Championship” as she guided F&M to the Division III Championship last spring. Following Paul's speech, the next topic was Role of Sportsmanship as a Coach. The final three topics of the afternoon were Ethics and Conflicts, Being a Young Coach, Off-Season Training and Practice Planning, Collaboration and Education within the Coaching Profession. Following dinner, the last opic of the day was Developing Team Leaders.
Sunday morning the 24th consisted of three topics: Winning the Interview, Developing Your Coaching Philosophy Part II and Next Steps - Life After The Symposium. The symposium closed with a meeting with your mentor.
For Nicholoff, this symposium was beneficial not only for future, but for her senior thesis which is on the effects Title IX has had on the involvement of women in intercollegiate athletics. “Every year at the symposium there is a presenter who discusses the actual law of Title IX and I really benefitted from her knowledge of the topic and was able to keep in touch with her,” says Nicholoff. “She has helped me tremendously throughout the process of finding documentation and resources. Also, I had the opportunity to meet Charlotte West; she was the forerunner of Title IX and constantly fought for women's equality in athletics and because of the symposium I was able to expand my knowledge of the topic.”
For Nicholoff, the topics and speeches on coaching philosophies were the most beneficial for her as she is looking to get into coaching.
“They were female coaches representing each school in the Centennial Conference and it was really beneficial to learn their different techniques of coaching,” mentions the senior. “One of the most important things I learned from their presentations and stories of successes and failures was that before I can be a successful coach I have to establish my own coaching style and technique that provides consistency for my team, while also learning to have fun with it.”
Nicholoff thought her mentor was very helpful for the weekend.
“I was lucky enough to have Megan Eckenrode as my mentor. She is the current assistant coach for the Dickinson field hockey team and former all-american field hockey goalie. Over the course of the weekend I was able to talk with her about the transition from being a goal keeper to an assistant coach working field players. And the best advice she could have given me was to start playing field positions as often as possible and to realize that I know more about the game than I give myself credit for. Also, she suggested I begin coaching offensive players because I have the knowledge of what kind of shots can be potential goals because of my experience in the cage.”
She also explained what the biggest thing she got out of the symposium.
“I think the biggest thing I got out of the symposium was how to develop my own coaching philosophy,” said Nicholoff. “All the coaches reassured me that to find a coaching style that best fits my personality is going to take time and I'm going to have big failures and great successes throughout my potential career, but eventually I'll find what works for me.”
It was also an educational experience for Lister, who was attending for the first time.
“I was able to learn a lot of things from the Snell(-Shillingford) Symposium,” stated Lister. “Just being able to interact with other coaches from the conference and listen in on how different sports do things was great. I always like to here other ideas and see what I can adapt for my teams!”
“One of the most beneficial things that I learned about however was Title IX,” stated the volleyball and softball coach. “They had two really great speakers that spoke of the topic and it was very interesting for me to learn. I was surprised at the misconceptions that I had that I was able to get clarified.”
She added that “all of the topics were great, I especially enjoyed the team building presentation given by Swarthmore's Head Volleyball Coach (Harleigh Chawastyk). She had some really great ideas! I also liked hearing the presentation about “being a young coach” and was able to add a little insight into that since I am pretty young myself.”
Serving as a mentor, her duty was to help the athletes that were there. She was assigned two athletes from other colleges in the conference and would talk everyday about lots of different issues in coaching sports. Lister said that “I tried to give them as much knowledge as I could to help them on their way to becoming a coach and also try to prepare them for things they may encounter along the way.” She had two students to mentor - one from Dickinson and the other from McDaniel.
Lister said the entire symposium was a great learning experience. “I can't really say that there is one thing that is bigger than any other that I learned because everything was really good,” said Lister. “I guess Title IX would be the most I actually learned. I was familiar with it but was able to gain so much more knowledge and some of the facts that were presented were amazing (like how few women coaches there are coaching women sports).”
Nicholoff was one of 24 athletes from the Centennial's 11 institutions to attend, while Lister was one of 16 coaches to be at the symposium and was a mentor. One of the other coaches there was former Shorewomen soccer assistant coach and current Haverford head women's soccer coach Jamie Gluck. Current assistant field hockey coach Melanie Ruppert '07 attended the symposium in 2007.