Empower really hit its stride with this camp. We focused on 4-3’s (attack up by one player), 5v5, scrimmaging, and new “big and away” stick skills. Three or four current Dartmouth players, Lily Ford from the UNH team, and JJ Daniel from Hanover High School coached and played with the girls in the drills and scrimmages. No better way to learn than to play with these outstanding women. The scrimmages of the 8th graders v. “college kids” and 5th-7th graders were excellent.
Our “speaker series” was rich and more meaningful than we could have imagined. Cindy Pierce, Dr. Nancy Turkington and Brook Raney helped Empower achieve its goal of developing the “whole player.” A few nuggets the Empower girls and coaches want to remember and put into our culture are as follows:
- Communication: Use a name, be calm, be direct and use few words. Avoid chaotic shrieking!
- Leadership: Prioritize “service leadership.” Demanding respect because of age or position falls flat. We will focus on the responsibilities of leadership. Leaders are found in all sorts of places outside of captains and coaches.
- Nutrition: Drink a bottle of water through the school day. It should be empty by the end. We all remember Dr. Turkington mentioning Nutella (in moderation, of course) as a reasonable protein source, but peanut butter is better.
- Leadership: Being a captain or leader doesn’t mean being the best player, but being the best at supporting your team.
- Nutrition: Eating breakfast (with a protein) not only helps you think more clearly in school, but also improves your athletic performance.
- Confidence: BE YOURSELF! Find your “Healthy Crew,” your friends who will always encourage you to be your true self. Your “Healthy Crew” will give you tough feedback (“you should not have posted that,”), will give you as much energy as they take, and will accept you fully. You will feel your strongest with these friends. On a team, there will always be lots of personalities. Everyone the team will not be your best pal, but you have to find a way to work your common goal at practice, in games, and while traveling.
- Nutrition: Lunch is early at school. What you eat at 11:00 a.m., will not get you through practice. Be sure to have water and a snack that hits several food groups (crackers and cheese, apple and peanut butter, bagel and almond butter, etc…) after school and before practice. Gatorade and other such drinks are OK while you are participating in sports (an all-day tournament, for example), but not as a snack.
- Confidence: Value what your body can do, not what it looks like. Stay focused on the power of your body.
- Nutrition: Athletes should have a snack after practice even if dinner is right around the corner.
- “Brook’s Top 13 List of must do’s….” Read it again, girls!
- Nutrition: Remember JJ’s pre-game breakfast and lunch? Let’s replicate the thought that went into making sure she gave her body the balance of food groups it needed — and the sheer quantity — to compete and to think at its best.
- Risk and Resilience: Take risks on the field. Put yourself “out there.” Take risks by reaching out to teammates you don’t know as well or look like they need a life-line. Know you will experience failure. Know you will play a position you don’t love. Know your parent will be late for pick-up once in awhile. And work on being resilient.
Parents, please make sure your Empower player reads this list to help cement these ideas. Even if she did not come to camp, it’s worth sharing.
Thank you Emma, Sophie and Anda for helping us continue to develop our “whole player” focus. We’d love for more Empower girls to advise us and be apart of our “whole player posse.” E-mail Marianne at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to offer some ideas. We will continue to develop these ideas in the fall.