Lizzie Frederick’s lacrosse career officially ended in August 2019. The senior played only 18 games before a long-term foot injury forced her to medically retire before her final season.
Though Frederick cannot play, she has a new role: student coach for the 2020 season.
She has been dealing with her injury since September 2016, Frederick said.
“It was definitely taking a toll on me as a player and as a teammate,” she added. “So I decided with [coach Bonnie Rosen] in August that I thought it would be best for me to step away from physically playing so that I could step into a new role to really try and help the team.”
Frederick, who played attack, lost the option to play this season when she decided to coach. Now as a coach, she mostly works with the goalkeepers.
“She is kind of the goalie whisperer,” Rosen said. “She’s a great shooter. Trust me, we wish she could be playing for us on the field, and so, she’s really great in that environment.”
Frederick works with senior Maryn Lowell, junior Olivia Martin and freshman Eryn Beal for about an hour during practices, before entering a game and at halftime.
“If we have a team that has a couple players that are very scoutable, we’ll try and mimic some of those shots so that they’re ready for them when the game comes,” Frederick said.
This helps the goalies learn an opposing player’s strengths.
“Some people have different tendencies,” Frederick said. “If they’re really good at something then they’re going to do it a lot. So we figured if we can get that down, then that can eliminate some of the goals that would happen if we didn’t understand how they played.”
She also acts as “a second pair of eyes” on all areas of the field to help her teammates with technique, she said.
“We do have film when we come off the field and can see it in real-time, but she’s an even better person because she’s analyzed the information and can give us quick feedback between our reps,” senior attacker Maddie Gebert said.
To kick off the season, the Owls beat George Washington University 17-8 on Saturday at Howarth Field. In addition to helping the goalies warm up, Frederick helped Rosen keep track of substitutions, Frederick said.
Rosen said this is the first time she has had an undergraduate coach. She has had injured players in the past who helped on the sideline, but Frederick is the first person to take on the responsibilities for a whole season.
“[Frederick] is someone who understands the game, and once she made the decision that it was not going to be possible to play through her injuries, we really talked seriously about the roles she could take on,” Rosen said. “And she was really excited about the role of the student coach, and so we’ve been working on it since day one of the fall.”
Frederick’s relationship with her teammates made her the “perfect person” for the student coaching role, Rosen said. She won’t look to fill the position unless another fitting person comes along, she added.
“I think this is a type of role that is for specific people,” Rosen said. “We would lose [Frederick] at the end of this year, but she doesn’t get replaced by just having the position.”