Sports fans and entertainment watchers have one major thing in common: enjoying the action they are seeing in the moment. For men’s and women’s lacrosse, people may cheer for their favorite players or make fun comments throughout the game but few get to experience what goes on behind the games themselves.
Keene State College men’s lacrosse head coach Mark Theriault said the spring season is just the half of it. In the fall, tryouts start, players are cut, teams are made, and training begins.
“The preseason, for me, is more about getting people to gel together more than just running,” Theriault said. “With men’s lacrosse, we start early. We have already had two games already. We need to be skill ready and cognitive ready.”
While both the men’s and women’s lacrosse coaches said that running drills can be boring for students, players recognize the importance of these exercises.
“A big way of beating teams is being in better shape than them because you can run for the full game while they might get tired out,” KSC senior women’s lacrosse midfield player Taylor Farland said.
Both coaches of the women’s and men’s lacrosse team said they intertwine a lot of running with more fun drills to keep students ready for their next game but still enjoying the sport itself.
KSC women’s lacrosse coach Katie Clark said the preseason is also a time where first years and upper classmen can really get to know one another and learn how each teammate plays.
While in her tenth season, Clark said she has seen plenty of players come as first years and leave as seniors. While every graduated senior has left his or her impact on the team after their four years, both Theriault and Clark said that it is both exciting and frightening for large amounts of seniors to graduate and first years to start fresh.
Theriault said, “As the coach, it’s my job to recruit and kind of keep recruiting. Last year we were definitely senior heavy with 13 seniors. The kids here are adjusting and are stepping up to the challenges.
“There are a lot of new characters in starting positions which means there are a lot more teaching for me and my staff,” he said.
With new talent comes new perspectives, skill sets, and competitive abilities to add onto the teams. Some may find the annual adjustments difficult, but a good team can cause positive outcomes.
Clark said this year’s team seems to be different than before as the players are more connected and supportive to one another.
KSC senior men’s lacrosse midfield attack player Hunter Arnold said students are not separated by their grade levels like you may see in cinematic media.
“We like to support each other and be a family out there on and off the field,” he said, “we don’t really do any of that freshmen-senior type stuff.”
Clark said the coaches try their best to make sure first years and upperclassmen are gelling together during the non-traditional season, so seeing these positive relationships form create strong bonds between the players and coaches.
Farland said building these bonds are easier because lacrosse is a spring sport, meaning players have all of the fall semester to get to know one another and become a “family.”
Whether they are building skills and learning from season games or experiencing more emotional conference games, having the support from their teammates have made the players grow together in preparation for when both lacrosse teams go up against big national leagues like Tufts, Skidmore, Bates, and Hamilton. Every win leading to the team’s end goal: winning LEC Championships.
As a personal goal for this season, Clark said, “I really want them to just be proud of we as coaches have put effort into the season as well as themselves.”
Some students, like Arnold, have already recognised the hard work done by coaches.
“Our coaching staff is awesome,” he said, “They work day in and day out all the time to try and get us better and motivate us to be the best that we can.”
Coaches may put a lot of time training and working with student athletes, but none of it is wasted time as each coach impacts the team and the team impacts their coach.
Theriault said he has his own special reason for liking Division Three teams the best, and that is the people he gets to meet and build relationships that last longer than a student’s four years here at KSC.
“I could be a chess coach or anything and as long as I’m giving the kids really positive lifelong experiences, then I feel I’m doing my job,” Theriault said.
Angelique Inchierca can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org