An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Director of Athletics Chris Hartley and fall sports program heads and head coaches

Every great coach has a game plan in place to give teams and individuals the best chance to compete at their best. And, there are few times that a carefully prepared game plan can be followed without making changes on the fly. Over the last nine months, this office and the coaches at Lakeside have had to throw out game plans that have served us well for years. I am incredibly proud of the creative, invested approach that our coaches have displayed to ensure that student-athletes remain connected to their teams.

We remain committed to upholding our three core values: broad-based participation, development, and competitive success. Coaches have connected with student-athletes in many different ways to make sure those new to our teams stay connected and are ready to contribute to each team’s work. Whether giving seniors the task of mentoring the younger students, monitoring at-home workouts, or participating in discussions about equity, inclusion, and social justice, coaches are continuing to teach skills that lead to individual development. We know that the only way for teams to compete at their best is for the members of teams to feel supported and know their presence matters. Team activities have been designed to build a positive team culture.

We are eager to get back to the usual game plan and will continue to make changes on the fly that serve our student-athletes well.

GIRLS SOCCER

by Girls Soccer Program Head Derrek Falor

During our non-season, we have focused our efforts on being mindful of the opportunities we do have rather than looping on what we are missing. Not having a fall soccer season has certainly been a huge bummer but in the mental training world athletes are most effective when they concentrate on the present. So, our goal this fall has been to shift our players attention back to their work within their clubs, if they play club, or on being the best online student they can be if they don’t have a club soccer outlet. Ordinarily club soccer would not have training this time of year as it would give way to high school. So, the opportunity to be mindful and fully invest in one’s non-school soccer opportunity provides development otherwise not accessible in normal years as well as a path to player development.

Secondly, we have been working with our leaders to consider how they will best lead when we do get to play in the spring, as that season will be much shorter than years past. Since we won’t have the time to build our team culture along the previous known timelines, we will instead help our team leaders create servant leadership actions which ideally, will shed a light on how we do things successfully. Hence, more action, less talk! Finally, we have been learning about, and focusing on, improving our self-talk as a way to more fully bring mental training into our players’ work. In two research studies I conducted with various soccer populations, self-talk was the lowest of the 9 Mental Skills of Successful Athletes. So, our goal this fall has been to work on creating cues and phrases that drive our play and work to focus our attention on the present moment whenever we have the opportunity to training or touch a ball. We do this through a mental training tool I created in my work as mental performance consultant called a Script. A Script is a short series of cue words/phrases that direct a player’s attention to a controllable action. Instead of “work hard” or “have a good first touch” (too general to really measure or drive performance) we encourage players to use phrases like “quickly check into half spaces” or “first touch away from pressure.”

Follow Lakeside Lions girls soccer on Twitter at @LakesideLionsFC.

VOLLEYBALL

by Volleyball Program Head Jeff Kim

Volleyball has focused on at-home workouts and building relationships during the pandemic. Senior captains, Catherine M. and Alena K. took the lead on Zoom meetings and connected new Lakeside students with returning students. The students used a program called Padlet to learn more about each other and post fun facts. PLT4M, a digital training software app, was used as our form of remote training. The program required no equipment and allowed all students to continue to work out at home. We have not been able to train with the volleyball team in person, but we will be ready when the gym doors open again.

Follow Lakeside Lions volleyball on Twitter at @LakesideLionsVB.

GIRLS SWIM AND DIVE

by Susan Mayfield, head girls swim coach

This past weekend would have been the state championship meet for the Girls Swim & Dive team, under typical circumstances. While its challenging missing the season due to COVID-19 restrictions, we remain hopeful for some semblance of a team experience in the early spring. In the meantime, the girls are working to stay connected through our “Swive Families” (Swive = our team word that represents the combination of SWIM and DIVE). Our team captains a few years ago developed the idea of “Families” as a way to create smaller support systems within the team. Families consist of 4-6 team members from varying grades and are led by the upperclassmen of the group. During a typical season, the team breaks out into Family groups at practices or team meetings to share stories, seek support or feedback, answer a specific topic or question, or just talk about anything on their minds. For many team members, being in a smaller group helps alleviate hesitation around sharing or asking for feedback, and the families create an opportunity to build friendships across classes. Right now, our senior athletes are leading their Families in regular check-ins through Zoom calls and ongoing text communication. We held a few team meetings earlier in the school year to meet our new team members and will be hosting a December meeting before the end of 2020. I am hopeful that having our Families in place and holding a few team meetings prior to the start of our actual season will have created early bonds and connections that will only strengthen our team moving forward! GO LIONS!

Follow Lakeside Lions girls swim and dive on Twitter at @LakesideLionsSD.

CROSS COUNTRY

by Running Program Head Sally Revere ’79

This fall a self-chosen subset of the cross country team spent 9 weeks virtually running across the United States from Lakeside to Maine. It has been a great way for the participants to feel connected to a team effort even though they logged the miles all running solo around their own neighborhoods and not collectively on our usual workout routes. We had twice weekly meetings – one a remote workout led by coaches that included days of yoga, stretching, core and cardio (so many burpees!), and one team meeting each week where we looked at the milestones coming up in the next week (photos of where we would be virtually running), announced the number of miles accomplished that week, as well as small pod breakout rooms where pod captains led participants in games and activities.

Each week participants had scavenger hunt items to watch for on their runs (a small free library, carved pumpkins, bodies of water, etc.), and most weeks had challenging peaks to climb either individually (such as 416’ First Hill in Seattle or the 1450’ Sears Tower in Chicago), or collectively in pods (Granite Peak in Montana, 12,808’). Those Peak of the Week days (also called “altitude adjustments”) had everyone trying to log elevation gain on Thursdays – a collective and bonding suffer-fest. Mileage and elevation gains were tracked by individual runners daily via Strava (an online tool that records miles walked, ran, biked, etc.) and through self-reporting.

We had a Teams page that was updated frequently with workouts, photos of our running route, inspirational videos/books and music, cross training videos, and general comments and team chats (including pod written running poetry – see an example below!). The team received congratulations packets at special milestones (Yellowstone, Chicago, and Bass Harbor Maine), wrote postcards to each other for inspiration, and sent each other homemade bracelets.

To go the distance

To run for ten thousand miles

First put on your shoes.

Even through the rain

the harsh wind and icy cold

a runner persists

Follow Lakeside Lions cross country on Twitter at @LakesideLionsXC.

FOOTBALL

by Football Program Head Mike Lengel

The football team was disappointed to learn that the fall season would be postponed, but the delay ultimately characterized itself as less a bad thing, and more an opportunity to “walk the walk” of all the mental training we work on as a team. If things had been normal, on day one of the season, we would have introduced our mindfulness training, which aims to help our football players focus on the present moment, rather than uncontrollable, external distractions. Instead, we were forced to introduce that platform virtually, through team Zoom meetings and emails. We also focused on relationship and culture building, two other important pillars on our team. While the coaches went to work on the strategy and logistics of the new-virtual-normal, the players built mini advisories, where returning senior players act as mentors to new players; we also began holding weekly open house meetings, where players can tune in to hear the team discuss actionable steps to uphold our team culture, break down film of a Seahawks or Huskies game, or compete against each other in Jeopardy!-style trivia. While we miss the excitement, energy, and rowdiness of in-person football practices and games, we’ll continue to turn this delay into a good thing; and when football happens again, we’ll be ready!

Follow Lakeside Lions football on Twitter at @LakesideLionsFB.

GIRLS CREW

by Girls Crew Program Head Briana Schulte

We are really fortunate that we are able to train as a team during the pandemic. For crew, our primary land training tool is the rowing machine (aka the erg), and through a combination of personally owned machines and machines loaned by Lakeside, every varsity rower has had access to a rowing machine since the initial shutdown. This means that we have been able to hold remote, synchronous training sessions each week: four run by the coaches and one run by the Varsity Girls Leadership Team.

The training sessions are modeled after our land practices at the boathouse: we start the sessions with 5-6 minutes of "Locker Room." The Locker Room is time when the athletes are logging in to the Zoom room and chatting, but the coaches are off screen, on mute and with the volume off so that the athletes can make that transition between school-Zoom and crew-Zoom casually. Then the coaches return to the Zoom room and we play a quick Red-vs-Gold Team Challenge game to loosen up and transition to who we are as a team. After that game, we start the work of physical training -- intervals, endurance pieces, or 100% technique focused sessions depending on the day. All of our training sessions prioritize making personal connections: time at every practice for the athletes to chat freely with each other, Monday's practices end with a coach-led, topical small group discussion, Tuesday's practices end with Vent-Share-Validate (a time to share or vent or feel heard/hear others) and Wednesday's and Thursday's end with an opportunity for athletes to complete our Square's Your Head At form (to share updates/information with coaches).

No form of remote training is ideal, but we are super lucky because we ARE able to have all of our athletes actually TRAINING intentionally for our sport. Rowers are rowing, and coxswains either help run the practice by calling out the upcoming work or correcting technique or they have an assigned workout to complete while the rowers are training on the machines. This work keeps us looking forward, moving forward to WHEN we are back on the water.

Follow Lakeside Lions crew on Twitter at @LakesideLionsCR.

BOYS CREW

by Boys Crew Program Head Jeff Iqbal

While the pandemic has put an indefinite hiatus on our ability to get out on the water and row together in eights and fours, the team has been making the most of this interruption, and working to come back strong. In crew, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to do sport-specific indoor training using the erg. The erg is an indoor rowing machine (short for "ergometer", literally a device to measure work) that allows rowers to perform all the same motions as they do on the water, while the machine provides feedback on the pace and level of effort. Prior to COVID, we used the erg for indoor training when the weather prevented us from being outside. In COVID times, we are able to lend out the team's ergs to our rowers for use at home. This has allowed our athletes a unique opportunity to continue developing their fitness and technique in virtual practices.

Using Zoom, we have been running virtual technique sessions where we do drill work on the erg to improve the rowing motion while coaches and coxswains provide feedback in real time. With the help of other virtual collaboration tools, we have been able to run virtual workouts and group competitions, keeping the athletes engaged with their teammates and working toward common goals. We have even been fortunate enough to be able to compete in some virtual regattas against other rowing teams around the country. It's a far cry from where we want to be, on the water with our teammates, feeling the motion of the boat beneath us. But the team has done a great job making the best of a difficult situation, and it gives me every confidence that when the pandemic has passed, we'll be ready.

Follow Lakeside Lions crew on Twitter at @LakesideLionsCR.

ULTIMATE

by Brendan Wallace, boys Ultimate coach

Boys' ultimate frisbee started meeting over Zoom on Wednesday nights as the school year began. We alternated each week between "fun" sessions – primarily planned by the captains: sharing stories and then playing online games together – and "serious" sessions – planned by me where we all did a 10 minute workout together and then watched film clips around certain ultimate topics/themes. All returning JV players, varsity players and interested newcomers were encouraged to come to both/either sessions and returning varsity players and varsity hopefuls were *especially* encouraged to make it to "serious" nights.

We've had a lot of fun with both kinds of meetups: it's been nice for the freshmen especially to get to meet some of the older players on the team and see what our culture and team identity are like. We planned to stop the meetings in anticipation of Lakeside going to the hybrid model, and then after some discussion decided to just meet on alternating weeks for the "fun" sessions when Lakeside made the call to continue remote learning.

Follow Lakeside Lions Athletics on Twitter at @LakesideLions.