Hello, from Ireland!
WEDNESDAY, JULY 5TH:
After a 4.5 hour flight from Seattle to Toronto, a 5 hour layover in Toronto, and a 6 hour flight on to Dublin, I am finally here! I showed up just in time for a quick nap and we were off to our first team training session. After months of virtual communication, it was so great to finally be out on the field together (or “pitch” as they call it here).
Having never played together as a complete team until this training camp, I was intrigued to see how the first practice would go. Well, it was AWESOME. I was blown away by how fired up and ready to compete every single player was the moment they stepped on the field. Whether it was stickwork, 4v3s, or 7v7, it was obvious that they had all put in work in the off-season leading up to this great opportunity. The energy of the team was contagious and even though I was tired and jet legged, it got me fired up!
Highlights of the Day:
We just completed our second day of training. It was a long day but a lot of great work was put in. As it is the fundamental component of good lacrosse, we worked on a ton of stickwork. All the same things we do back in Seattle! I think that is the biggest takeaway – even at the highest levels of lacrosse, we continue to work on the same fundamentals that we do at a young age. One of my favorite quotes is by Bruce Lee and it goes like this:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
It is the players who are willing to commit to continue to hone their craft and work on the same fundamentals over and over again that will be successful. This is why we always make time for stickwork at practice.
I also had the opportunity to work specifically with the offense. It was exciting to see the chemistry we had on this end of the field and to see how our offensive IQ and playmaking has evolved even since Euros. In the afternoon we did a lot of 1v1s, 2v2s, 3v3s, and finished with 3v2 Continuous – the best drill ever!! As is customary with just about every Ireland Lacrosse practice, we ended with our circle up, singing Ireland’s Call, and a slow clap into our cheer. I get chills every time we sing. Not necessarily because of the awesome voices (haha), but because there is this strong sense of Irish pride on this team and it is a special moment shared when we all sing together. While I didn’t get a video of us singing (don’t worry, there will be many more opportunities), I did get a video of our slow clap and cheer.
I have been with Irish Lacrosse since the European Championships back in 2015 and it is exciting to see the players and program continue to grow and evolve. We only have a short time together in Dublin during this training camp and yet I feel that the girls have already established a strong baseline for this team and they continue to raise the bar each time they step on the field – challenging themselves and each other. I think my favorite part about this group, and about the Irish culture in general, is this strong since of community and camaraderie that exists. As competitive as the team is on the field, the second we are off the field it is lots of laughter, jokes, and good times. I feel very fortunate to be working with such a dedicated, fun, and supportive group.
I am pretty excited to be here….
The team during training camp..
Welcome to my blog! While many of you may already know this, I am one of the assistant coaches for Irish National Women’s Lacrosse team. Yes, I know, it is an awesome gig and has been a very rewarding opportunity. It has been an honor to coach this special group of women, to work with this incredible staff (who are also great friends), and to be a part of the international growth of the game! In less than one month, I will head off to Ireland to train as a team before we fly to England to participate in the FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup. My hope, in creating this blog, is to share this special experience with all of you.
To answer some of the questions that many people have, and that you might have as well:
Are you even Irish?
No, I am technically not Irish (although I feel pretty lucky, get it…Irish…).
How did you ever land this amazing opportunity?
Like I said above, I’ve got the luck of the Irish! All kidding aside, Sarah Walsh, the head coach of Team Ireland and a former player on the team herself, reached out to me when I first moved to Seattle two and a half years ago. Sarah and I are both Northwestern graduates and while I never had the opportunity to play with Sarah (who graduated the year before I attended) we had a great connection and have coached a number of camps together. In fact, Sarah was the very first Northwestern player I met when I visited the school between my junior and senior year of high school. She went out of her way to make me feel comfortable and at home with the Northwestern team and that feeling she left me with is one of the many reasons I committed to go to school at the end of that visit. When she called me up two and a half years ago and asked if I would be interested in helping coach the team (although I took a few days to think about it), I said that I would love to. Our philosophies and values (and the rest of the coach staffs) are so much in line that is was a no brainer and the experience has been everything I imagined and WAY more.
How do you manage to live in Seattle and coach the Irish team?
Great questions. When I joined the staff two and a half years ago, the major upcoming event was the European Championship the following August of 2015. The next major event was the World Cup that is coming up this July. While the times that I spend with the team are intensive (3 weeks in Prague, Czech Republic for the European Championships and 3 weeks coming up in July for the World Cup) they are not frequent and happen to occur during times that, as a 7th grade coordinator at Seattle Academy, I have off! With that in mind, the girls train very hard on their own year round to prepare for these tournaments and hold each other accountable.
What Harry Potter house do you belong to?
Okay, I recognize that this is probably not a question that you actually have but one thing you need to know about our team is that everyone gets sorted into a house and as no surprise to anyone, I am a member of Hufflepuff. I will introduce you to some other Huffles when I get over to Europe!
What is the highlight of coaching this team?
The people. This is such a special group of people that I have the privilege to coach. They are passionate, engaged, funny, supportive, and they all have a really special connection to each other and a pride in representing Ireland. I remember the end of the European Championships feeling very bittersweet. We had done really well as a team and I was excited to get back home, but I was really sad to be leaving the team. Now we will all be reunited very soon and I could not be more excited.
Coaching the Irish team has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I cannot wait to share the experience with you all. Look out for inside scoops on the team and World Cup, interviews with players, and video clips!
See you across the pond!