Coachless teams face disadvantages

The sailing team poses at one of their races last year. Without a
coach, the squad encountered numerous scheduling challenges. Ella Kitterman/Sagamore Staff

The sailing team poses at one of their races last year. Without a coach, the squad encountered numerous scheduling challenges. Ella Kitterman/Sagamore Staff

Maddie Nagler, Sports Writing Editor

Playing time, schedules and practice instruction are all aspects of a team that are usually handled by a coach. In fact, almost all day to day team functions are performed under a coach’s authority. So what happens when a coach is no longer in the picture? Do the captains begin to embody the role of a coach?

The coach of the girls lacrosse team quit for personal reasons at the conclusion of last season. Weeks before the season started, the team struggled to prepare for the upcoming spring, as the vacancy was unfilled until days before tryouts.

According to senior and captain Molly Sacks, the players were not sure who to go to for help with coaching.

“Basically, we went going through preseason not really knowing what to expect at tryouts and not knowing who to talk to or ask questions about or really just not knowing what the season is going to be like,” Sacks said.

Sacks said that the captains did their best to prepare for the season despite this roadblock, but it was hard.

“We basically modeled preseason on how it was in years before and were just expecting things to be the same, but we were not really sure,” Sachs said.

Sacks said the team had been given no information as to who potential candidates for the coach position could have been.

“I know that they had a bunch of people they were considering. We had [science teacher Aubrey] Love as an assistant coach in past years, so we were thinking that maybe he could be assistant or head coach again, but we were not really sure,” Sacks said.

Last year, the sailing team was in a similar situation. The team remained without a coach for half the season until Brookline graduate Sarah Silvestri took on the role.

Junior Helen Bechler, who is a captain of the sailing team, said that last year’s captains really had to take on the traditional responsibilities of a coaching as well.

“It was pretty stressful for the captains. There were four of them. Will [Neubauer], a captain, had to do all of the scheduling, which is what a coach would usually do. He would do all of the registering for regatas and emailing other coaches. We didn’t have any support really from the athletic department so we had to have students drive to Maine on the weekends,” Bechler said.

According to Bechler, with the absence of a coach, the team’s seriousness and eligibility to compete was sometimes questioned by other teams.

“I think there were problems with some other teams taking us seriously,” Bechler said. “I think the captains did, however,  a really good job of teaching us how to sail and administrating.”

The girl’s lacrosse team, which is now coached by Jamie Gallagher, has not had to face the same in-season challenges that last year’s sailing team dealt with. However, junior and captain Elizabeth Bailey said that the transition from pre-season to in-season has been difficult.

“I think getting to meet a coach before a season and at least starting to form some kind of relationship is really important to the fluidity of the team and its cohesiveness. This year, we didn’t get the opportunity to do that and therefore it has been a struggle to transition,” Bailey said. “I think the beginning of the season will be sort of difficult. Our new coach will be new to all of us so there definitely is going to be a transition period of her getting to know us and us getting to know her.”

Despite the hardships that come with getting a new coach right before the start of the season, Bailey said that the team is very happy with the athletic department’s decision overall.

“Right now we’re are working out all the kinks, but I think after some time once we have bonded more, it won’t have mattered that we got a new coach so late. However, it definitely would have been far less frustrating had we known this new coach earlier,” Bailey said.  “Also, we are all really happy with our new coach. Even though it took so long, they made an excellent decision.”