Leading the way to success
Amongst the crowd, Brittany finds herself immersed in a series of memories. One of those memories consists of the NCAA finals against West Chester where the Raiders had lost.
Reality returns to Brittany as she watches an offensive player on the Shippensburg Raiders set up a cross. Her teammate receives possession of the ball and drives it into the goal. It occurs to Brittany at this point, that the Raiders will celebrate another victory against their rival.
When the Raiders congregate and cheer about their recent success, the head coach makes her way to the team. A sense of pride swells in Brittany’s chest as she claps her hands and cheers for her past coach — Bertie Landes.
Landes, head coach of the Shippensburg University Raider field hockey team, is a 2011 inductee of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Hall of Fame. This is her 15th year of coaching at SU, leading the 2013 Raiders to 15 wins. With an outstanding record nationally for field hockey, Landes is recognized for her coaching skills and passion for the game of field hockey.
“Coach Landes is very knowledgeable about the game of field hockey,” said Bre White, captain and forward on the 2013 Raider team. “You can always go to her for support, and she always believes in the team.”
Looking at the field hockey team as a family, it is easy to spot why it has been so successful. Each player has an understanding of the game and offers different skillsets that complement her teammates. The relationship starts with the individual player who wants to make her teammates look good, by respecting each teammate and hoping the best for them.
“No matter where she is on my team, she is just as important as any other player,” Landes said.
With these values in mind, Landes takes the initiative and positions her players on the field in a strategic manner. The concept of field hockey is very similar to soccer, except field hockey involves a stick and a much smaller ball.
“Positioning in field hockey is very different than soccer and it’s a bit more difficult,” Landes said. “Players have to have the strength and the endurance when doing things when no one else can. Mentally it is about never quitting, commitment, and determination.”
So it comes as no surprise that there is a need for extra leadership on the field as well. The captains also take responsibility when out on the field.
“Coach and I have a strong relationship, she expects me to lead the team in the right direction and help the underclassmen along the way,” White said.
In practices, Bertie has the players work on improving their individual skills and getting better overall. Some of Landes’ exercises involve 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s or practicing corners. A corner is when a foul occurs in the circle and defense has to stay outside the line. With rivals like West Chester and Bloomsburg, Landes has the team review videos from its previous games.
We watch videos before every game, and our opponents can also view videos of our games,” Landes said.
Like any sport, it is important to acknowledge rivalry.
A rival is an opponent who has good skills and is aggressive while playing the game passionately,” Landes said.
The term “rival” doesn’t change much for White either.
“A team that is great competition, one that we look forward to playing and we never give up because we give it our all because it means a lot to beat your rival,” White said.
As a head coach, Landes is in charge of her players’ conduct and how they will grow and develop. For those aspiring to be coaches, Landes had some advice.
“I think you have to have a heart for the players and look at them not just as a player, but know they are a human being. It’s all about field hockey and not about anything else, that’s how we can reach our potential.”
In the end, Landes uses her experience and passion for the game to help her team succeed. Landes will continue to recruit new players each year and will give them the guidance they need to succeed.
“We were fortunate to have an international player on our team this year and bring a unique experience from her own country,” Landes said. “Our goal is to be in the finals, and this team really has the passion and the heart to make it.”