Adrienne - Roadmap to Collegiate Coaching
What do you do for a living?
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Bowdoin College
What does a day at your job look like?
It varies dramatically depending on the time of year. Our basketball season is Nov 1 thru the end of March, during which it’s a 7 day a week job. I get to the office early to work on our practice plan and interact with my assistant coach. There’s lots of communication with the players: I meet with players individually, have team meetings, and meetings with the team captains. Communication is a large part of my job. I spend time studying film of both my team and our opponents. During the season we have practice 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. The days are long, I usually don’t get home until late in the evening. I spend time recruiting to our program all year long. I communicate with potential recruits about our team, travel to watch players in tournaments and work camps to identify strong student athletes.
What path did you take to get here?
I grew up on a dairy farm -->
Graduated High school -->
Got a Bachelors Degree in History at Bates College, where I played basketball -->
I thought I’d go into law so I worked at a law firm in Boston and volunteered as a basketball coach at Babson College -->
Got an assistant coaching job at Colby College and was there for 2 years -->
Got a graduate assistant position at Smith College where I was able to coach basketball/soccer and teach physical education classes -->
I was hired as Head Coach at Swarthmore College outside of Philly and stayed there for 9 years as a tenured faculty member, teaching and coaching -->
Moved back to Maine and took a position as Dean of Athletics and Basketball Coach at Gould Academy for 3 years -->
Got the Head Coach position at Bowdoin and have been there for 12 years
What are the challenges of your job?
Finding a life/work balance. This is a demanding job that has long hours. It’s tough to find balance with my family/personal life. I have had to work on that.
What are the blessings of your job?
The opportunity to mentor student athletes, build relationships with them and make an impact on their lives.
What 3 characteristics do you have to possess or develop to do your job well?
1. Growth mindset. This job is humbling. You have to be willing to accept and absorb your fails to receive them as opportunities to grow and move on from.
2. Strong ability to communicate effectively with the people you work with, especially athletes.
3. Trust is so important for a high functioning team. You have to be able to build trust through building relationships.
What are 3 concrete things you’d tell someone on their journey to doing your job?
1. Understand the sport you want to coach. The sport is the tool you’re utilizing to develop leaders. Know the sport. Explore all avenues of learning the tactics of the sport you’re going to be teaching, including an understanding of exercise physiology and nutrition.
2. Learn how to have honest conversations without fear of not being liked. Practice those skills. Have conversations that deepen relationships. This is critical to being an effective leader.
3. Volunteering in local rec departments or at a summer camp to get valuable coaching experience. Start young.Work with young people and mentor them.