When I was in my first couple of years of high school in England I was playing a sport called polocrosse which is like lacrosse played on a horse. The sport was still growing in England although it was much more popular in Australia and New Zealand. When I was 16, my club flew a coach from New Zealand over to help us try for the national championship.
The coach, Edie, was the best coach I have ever had for any sport. Our contact with her started out in some of the group practices. Polocrosse teams are made up of six players and Edie started coaching us as a group before giving us some individual lessons.
Edie had played both Basketball and Polocrosse for New Zealand before coming to England to coach and she was one of those rare people who is not only a fantastic athlete but also able to break down the sport or activity into small parts that can be easily understood. She was able to teach the intangibles of sports that most coaches cannot.
I played a number two, which was a swing position requiring me to be able to play strong offense and strong defense. This required excellent positional awareness and horsemanship. Edie worked with me on positioning the horse where I wanted it and made a massive improvement in my balance and riding. She was also able to teach me the positioning through constant practice and very specific breakdowns of what went right and what went wrong with each play.
The second year she coached our team we were able to win the UK Polocrosse National Championship in a tight fought game. My personal performance in the game was summed up by the other coach who said part of their strategy was to remove me from the game because my impact was so great, and that impact was due to Edie’s mentorship.