BOULDER, Colo. -- Two separate camps, two vastly different experiences.
Camps in Harrisonburg, Va., and Chula Vista, Calif., provided vastly different experiences for the Women’s Eagles, but resulted with the same outcome.
At the one camp, it was a calm sunny weekend with temperatures in the mid-70s. Players donned sunblock while the sessions ran exactly to plan. On the other side of the country, snow fell amidst high winds and temperatures that struggled to reach the mid-40s. Sessions were altered due to weather advisories with players grabbing for every article of clothing that was available.
Despite the different factors both camps saw the team grow in the manner that it needed to. Both sites were able to have players gain a better understanding of the patterns of play, while executing them under pressure.
Leading the colder camp at the James Madison University campus, Peter Baggetta promoted focus to the players. Citing a quote that he uses to emphasize attention to details, the defense coach ensured the Eagles were at full pace despite the outside factors.
“We need to think about our focus like we are climbing Mount Everest,” Baggetta said when the squad was pulled inside due to a lightning advisory. “We say, ‘We can’t change the mountain, but we can change how we climb it.’ That mean’s we can’t control the factors that happen on the mountain, but we can control how we react to those factors and making sure that we still get to the top of that mountain.”
To assist with players overcoming the frigid conditions, skills coach John Coumbe-Lilley led special warm-up sessions. Smiles broadened as the players high-fived and hit each other while emulating boxing movements.
“The idea is that after a few repetitions, you not only are warmed up, but you aren’t worried about the cold or what it’s going to feel like when you catch a ball in this weather,” said Coumbe-Lilley.
The players, too, noted the attention to detail and overall focus when in a session.
“The weather was an obvious inconvenience, but everyone did a great job staying focused and positive,” said Kate Daley of the camp at JMU. “I personally feel that we came away with better execution and understanding of our on-field strategy which is really important for us going into the Can-Am series.”
The camp at Chula Vista was held at the Olympic Training Center, providing the players with an elite environment to work on their preparation. The focus was on “The Eagle Way,” a phrase the program is using to emphasize continuous improvement.
“’The Eagle Way’ is a plan-do-review process with the focus on improving our execution,” said Eagles Head Coach Steinberg. “At the camp we wanted to constantly improve our standards and this will be a theme when we go to Victoria.”
Introducing some new approaches to the set pieces and to the patterns of play were challenging for the players, but by the end of the camps there was much more comfort for the new approaches.
Steinberg was pleased with the results he witnessed. Overall though, the head coach was excited with how the assemblies went and the progress the team has made heading into the Can-Am series.
“The camp at Chula Vista was very successful, as was the one at JMU,” said Steinberg. “These camps were a great step in preparing for a tough series against Canada and as we continue our journey to the Word Cup.”
The head coach continued by saying: “We are looking to the Can-Am series as a chance to experiment, try some new players and new approaches. We want to maximize the learning opportunity for the players and staff.”
The Eagles now sit a week away from the two-match series against Canada. They will head to Victoria, British Columbia, April 11, with matches April 15 and 19.
The tests will be the Eagles’ first matches of 2014.
To get a behind-the-scenes look at the Women’s Eagles program, check out the ‘Final In ’14’ blog.