April 15, 2024

Clare Grady started her freshmen year on the field hockey team strong, but soon found herself in the training room more often than she was on the field. Grady, now a senior, was unable to suit up and play for the last three years of college due to several serious injuries. She didn’t let that stop her from being on the team, however, and took on the role of a student assistant coach.

Grady says that the transition from being a player to a student assistant coach was very difficult for her, because she was unable to play as she watched her team compete. She used the situation as a learning opportunity, however.

“Pretty quickly, I learned that I could still be a big asset to the team,” Grady said. “If I wasn’t at practice, I would be missing out.”

According to Grady, her setbacks and injuries helped her to grow and mature as a person. She learned how to stay positive and handle herself in the face of adversity.

Grady has been a member of a field hockey team for 12 years now, and says that the team is the best part of the sport. At Wittenberg, her teammates have become her best friends and the reason she stayed committed to the sport throughout her setbacks.

“Without field hockey, I would really be missing a sense of community,” Grady said. “My team is my support system. If anything goes wrong, they are the first people I call. They are my family, and they shaped my Wittenberg experience.”

The culture of teamwork and competition is Grady’s favorite part of field hockey. She hopes to create this same culture as a coach for another team in the future. She loves field hockey, and wants to stay involved with the sport as long as she can.

Grady’s experience as a student assistant coach at Wittenberg has taught her to think of the game a little differently.

She understands that you must be knowledgeable of the field, but she also said a competitive spirit and a caring attitude towards the team are necessary attributes for a coach.

According to Grady, athletes with injuries that prevent them from competing should consider becoming a student assistant coach or team manager. She said that staying involved in your sport is important, and even as an injured athlete, you can experience the team culture and competitive atmosphere. Through staying involved in field hockey, Grady received the support she needed, and encourages others to do the same.

“It’s difficult, but you should persevere if it is something you still want to be a part of,” Grady said.

Sometimes, you can accomplish just as much on the sidelines.

 

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