Describe your ideal athlete.
The ideal Dickinson squash athlete is self-motivated to work hard on reaching high levels of success on court, in the classroom and in the community. An athlete’s desire to work hard and become better at his or her sport must be driven internally, because the athletes spend less time in-season and practicing under the coach’s guidance than they do out of season. So squash players must want to put the work in to improve their game during their summer and winter holidays and during fall and spring captain practices.
It will be my job as the coach to help my players understand the pieces they need to add to their games, give them appropriate planning and practice sessions to acquire those skills and to prepare them to reach their peak performances at the right time throughout the season. It is the job of the player to have a winning attitude and to put the work in to continue to push their peak performance ceiling upwards. Academically and socially, college athletes are making their own decisions more so than in high school, so having self-motivated, responsible members of the Dickinson community on the squash team is crucial to ensuring that we have a great team culture.
Describe the tradition of your program. What are three core values of your program?
2014-15 was the inaugural season for the Dickinson squash programs. Starting a new program allowed me to help institute the team culture and core values based on what I have seen work at the other programs I have been a part of.
The main goals that I set for every player is to strive to continually improve, bring a great attitude to the facility each day and have fun working on your game with your teammates. Working together as a team and helping each other develop as squash players, athletes and people is what makes the Dickinson College squash experience so enjoyable. You have to want to train, practice, compete, study, research, and get involved on campus to be a great student-athlete; it is a lot to balance. I believe we will have the right type of athletes coming to Dickinson and will be able to establish a one-of-a-kind opportunity to reach high levels of success in the classroom, on court and in the community by helping our players achieve the necessary balance.
Describe an average in-season day for a student-athlete.
The average weekday for a Dickinson squash player consists of attending classes throughout the morning and afternoon, practicing for up to two hours between 4 and 7:30 p.m. and then eating dinner with the team or other friends. Some players may do homework at the library, some may have group project meetings and others may be lucky enough to have some downtime to spend with friends.
Our playing schedule varies week to week in the winter season, sometimes having only one match on a weekend and other times playing three or four matches over the course of the weekend. The squash season flows well with the academic calendar because there are only a few weekends of competition in the fall, mainly in November and finishing before first semester exams. Upon our return in January, the bulk of the season is early in the semester when classes are just beginning. The squash season ends as midterms and things start to pick up and our student-athletes can focus on their classes and off-season training from March to May.
Offer details on facilities your program uses regularly and benefits from.
The Kline Center expansion completed in the summer of 2014 is home to five CourtTech squash courts and new state-of-the-art two-story fitness center. The squash center has a show court with two-story viewing on one side-wall and each of the five courts has bleacher seating. A viewing balcony above the show court also allows for easy live video streaming of matches. Being right next the fitness center makes it easy to get a warm-up or workout in before or after practice.
Located just across the street from the Kline is the Durden Athletic Training Center (completed January 2014), which the squash team uses primarily for preseason and postseason team strength and conditioning workouts. The Durden Strength Training Room is also open to individual athletes outside of team hours during the week and is home to one of our sports medicine facilities, locker rooms and a large conference room that can be used for video analysis or team meetings.
Describe the positive balance between academics and athletics at Dickinson.
Dickinson’s athletic programs demonstrate the purest ideals of sport; that is the mission of our athletic department. Establishing a positive competitive environment and giving our athletes the opportunity to grow intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally is the ultimate goal. Recruiting the right athletes that embrace the balance between academics and athletics and strive for success in both is the key to our department’s success.
Why is Carlisle, and central Pennsylvania, an outstanding place for a student-athlete to live, work and compete? Do your student-athletes study abroad?
Carlisle, Pennsylvania offers everything you want and need from a classic college town. The town and campus coexist very well together, so much so that some upper-class students opt to live in Dickinson housing in the middle of town, which is just a short walk from campus. The compact and centralized campus makes it easy to get from the residences to classes, the dining halls and the athletic complexes. Walking into town to try out one of the many restaurants or visit some of the local shops couldn’t be easier.
People traveling from a distance have lots of options for airports to fly in or out with, including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Amtrak operates 25 miles away in Harrisburg and offers trains to most major cities on the east coast. New York City is just a few hours by train. Being close to several metropolitan areas makes it easy for students when interviewing for jobs and internships or to plan a weekend getaway. I will encourage athletes to study abroad in the summer; the option to study abroad in the fall is a possibility, but it is not ideal because players would miss the first half of the season.
Describe some of the professional areas in which your program alumni currently have careers.
2015 is our first graduating class. We have players that will begin graduate programs and others who will go into the workforce right away. Our team is composed of students with a wide range of academic and occupational interests, and I anticipate in a few years we will have some very helpful and devoted alumni across many fields to help connect and advise future generations of Dickinson squash players.
In your opinion, what does it take to thrive at Dickinson?
The student-athletes who thrive at Dickinson are the ones who enjoy being involved in all of the things they are passionate about. Our players are involved in peer mentorship programs, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Greek life, the Student Investment Group, student dance groups, a capella and music groups, intramural and club sports, study-abroad programs and serve as tour guides, along with much more. We have multiple two-sport athletes. Many of our players are successful in juggling their role as a student, squash player and responsibilities in their other interest groups.
I believe the students who participate and identify themselves with more than just squash and academics thrive because they meet new people, they learn and grow by working with different groups and they learn to value their time and put it to good use.