Coaching conundrum


Coaches such as assistant field hockey coach Kristina Sikora (right) are instrumental in the development of their players. With frequent coaching switches, however, players’ growth is put in jeopardy. Photo by Colleen Thomson

High schools everywhere are facing coaching shortages, according to Forbes. There are many reasons for this shortage, including lack of interest and low coaching salaries. Whatever the reason may be, Mercy is also experiencing the effects of these shortages.

For example, the swim team has had five different assistant coaches in the past four years. Although one of these coaches has stayed for three years, the other four have varied throughout the years. According to senior Francesca Schena, this has had a positive impact on her performance.

“For the most part, having the opinions of multiple different coaches has benefitted me a lot,” Schena said. “I believe it has impacted me positively because I have been able to see many perspectives for my performance.”

Furthermore, Schena observes the team as a whole benefitting from the switches, even though it can be tough at times.

“We are all sad when a coach leaves because we have built a relationship with them, but the new coaches are always awesome too,” she said. “I think we improve as a team through seeing the different coaching styles and tips from the assistant coaches.”

It does help, however, that the swim team has only faced assistant coach changes and has been able to maintain a steady head coach.

“We are very fortunate to have a strong head coach, so having that foundation helps us avoid any misdirection in the transition between the many different assistant coaches we have,” Schena said.

The field hockey team has also been struggling with coaching switches this season. In fact, it has had three different varsity head coaches this season and had to eliminate the freshman team because of lack of coaches. Furthermore, the program only has one assistant coach between the JV and varsity teams.

“I think this has made it hard for our team to grow together because each coach has had a different teaching style so it feels like once we finally get used to a new teaching style we are given a new one by a new coach,” said senior Maggie Dwyer.

As a captain of the varsity team, Dwyer strives to promote an atmosphere of cohesion and respect, but she said coaching switches make it difficult for the team to bond. On the other hand, she said the field hockey team has been “more honest and up front with each other, which has caused more friendships to grow.”