HADLEY, Mass. - Thirty NESCAC female student-athletes attended the eighth edition of the NESCAC Coaching Symposium for Women with the opportunity to learn about the various facets of coaching on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2 at the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center in Westford, Mass.
The NESCAC Coaching Symposium for Women, organized by the senior woman administrators (SWA) at member institutions, is designed to increase the number of female coaches in athletics with the help of a grant from the NCAA along with support by NESCAC institutions.
Attendees started the weekend by participating in roundtable discussions about coaching philosophy, case studies and transitioning from athlete to coach before hearing a presentation from keynote speaker, Sue Enquist.
Enquist, former UCLA head softball coach, led the attendees through activities to help them establish their value set and provide concrete examples of what those values look like. Enquist guided the participants through reflection about their strengths, how those strengths carry into coaching and creating an improvement plan. Throughout the presentation, Enquist translated how this information carries over into being a successful person and coach.
Sunday morning began with a pair of NESCAC coaches sharing steps about how to build a team and establish a positive team culture while also playing a game of Coaching Jeopardy, which provided additional characteristics of successful coaches and teams and historical moments in women's sport.
A panel comprised of young assistant and prep school coaches shared their experiences transitioning from athlete to coach and ways to boost their credentials for early coaching positions. Enquist, who moderated the panel, then put each panelist in the hot seat by asking them how they would handle difficult coaching situations.
Helen Williams, president of HMW Sports Consulting, presented about the importance of leadership in coaching. She told participants to acknowledge teaching moments and showed how coaches can be creative during these moments by walking attendees through scenarios to address problems that can occur within a team. Williams also helped them assess their leadership qualities and talked about how to use the qualities to get started in the coaching profession.
The symposium wrapped up with a veteran coaches panel which shared experiences from the various careers.
Each attendee will be assisted by a campus mentor who will help the student-athletes in their development as a coach and in the job search following graduation should they decide to enter the field of coaching.