Coming off back-to-back losses, we were really hoping to respond and get back on track. Our (2-3) record to start the season is a good example of the parity that exists in the NLL. If you look across the league, you will notice other teams with early swings of wins and losses. Because we only play sixteen games, every game takes on so much meaning.
It was discouraging not just to lose to Rochester, but to lose in the nature we did. From start to finish, we were outplayed. It now becomes a balance between moving forward, but not forgetting or accepting the mistakes made. It is important not to shy away from adversity. You need to meet it head on, embrace obstacles, and view them as opportunities to learn and grow. You have to hope that a tough loss like the one we experienced to Rochester will evoke some change and lead to us being better in the long term.
As a coach at The Hill Academy, I’m able to see both ends of the spectrum. Since I started my coaching career back in 2005, it has changed my perspective as a player. You view the game in a different light. As a player, you become much more aware of your preparation, body language and how you respond to direction — you think about the things you value in the players that you coach and try to “practice what you preach.”
As a coach, you cannot ask something of a player that you are not willing to do yourself. It is a big advantage to be in this position. I’m constantly learning new things from teammates, coaches, opponents, and competition that I can apply to coaching. I also learn a great deal from the players that I coach, which drives and motivates me to be a better player.
I really like to work out with my players. The work off the field is as important as the work on the field. It gives me a chance to see firsthand how they are working and progressing in the weight room. It also holds me accountable to hitting reps and pushing weight, because I want to set the right example for my players. The players always take great pride in beating their coach in a lift or a sprint (which is happening more an more these days!)
There are currently five players in the NLL that graduated from The Hill Academy. I have to say it is a little strange playing against my former players. I think the best way to approach this situation is to compete hard and try to back up what I stood for as a coach, so they know I was genuine and honest. Regardless of what position you’re in (player or coach), the key is to be yourself. Whether you’re a player or coach, there should be consistencies in your approach.
The preparation has already begun for Feb. 23rd (a road rematch with Rochester), with an added sense of urgency.
Hope to see you when we are back in Philadelphia to face the Colorado Mammoth on Feb. 24th at 4 p.m.