Kate Higgins (left) and April Pollock, Arcadia's women's lacrosse coaches.
Kate Higgins (left) and April Pollock, Arcadia's women's lacrosse coaches.

April Pollock and Kate Higgins, Women’s Lacrosse Coaches

Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach April Pollock and Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach Kate Higgins discuss the challenges and rewards of coaching at Arcadia.

How did you get into coaching?

AP: My senior year in college, I was taking a study course for the LSATs because I originally wanted to go to law school. After the lacrosse season ended, and I realized that I wasn’t going to have lacrosse in my life anymore, I decided to try being an assistant coach. I loved it, got my Master’s degree in Advanced Level Coaching, and have been coaching ever since.

KH: After my last senior game, I was like, ‘Ok. Cool. I’m done with lacrosse. It’s time for me to move on.” I worked at a camp after I graduated, but when I came back and thought about what I wanted to devote my time to, I couldn’t think of anything outside of lacrosse. It has shaped me for the better, and I wanted to provide that experience for someone else.

Why did you get into coaching?

AP: The experience that my coach gave me, I wanted to give to other people. I realized that there needs to be more women in coaching. It’s important to be here as a gay woman as well. When I was at UConn, there wasn’t a lot of support. A lot of coaches were closeted, so I wanted to get into the field, be open, and be a resource for athletes.

How would you describe your coaching style?

AP: I describe myself as a pretty laid back coach, but I don’t know if everybody else would. I use sports to teach life lessons. I’m more interested in seeing a player come in as a freshman and mature through the process as an individual, not necessarily a lacrosse player. I see strong women who are ready to take on the world as seniors.

KH: Because I’m young and haven’t been coaching for a long time, I’m always looking to change and improve. As of now, my coaching philosophy is to grow with the game. My style is softer—I try to come from a place of understanding and compassion. If I tell someone to do something two or three times and they aren’t understanding, I assume that I’m not coaching it the right way. My thought process is always, “How can I change what I’m telling them?”

What is the most difficult part about coaching?

AP: It’s the things you can’t control, like injuries. You spend a whole season preparing, then a couple injuries can ruin your season.

KH: After you graduate from college, you recognize how much what happens off the field impacts everything that happens on the field. We see the tip of the iceberg. As a coach, it’s frustrating to know there’s so much else going on that we will never know about.

What is your favorite part about coaching?

AP: Forming a team and seeing that the girls are together because of me. Seeing how they get along, and the different, quirky personalities.

KH: Everything. This summer, I worked for a sales and marketing rep firm. It was so boring and tedious. I think my favorite thing about coaching is that you get to be outside, run around, be with people you enjoy being with, and see growth and improvement.

What do you like best about your fellow coach?

AP: Kate and I balance each other out. Kate is more attuned to how players are feeling, and senses when I should pull back and not push so hard. I can be a little abrasive at times.

KH: April has taught me to understand coaching from a human-development perspective. I always turn to her for advice; she gives great feedback. I tell people that April is overtly abrasive, but covertly the sweetest person. She’s able to empathize and connect with people on a deeper level.

What do you hope to instill in your players?

AP: A sense of confidence that helps them step outside their comfort zones, try new things, and feel empowered by sport. I want them to leave with their teammates being their best friends. I know it’s not going to happen for everybody, but giving them the experience of being on a team is important to me.