Kate Okrasinksi – Interview


Kate Okrasinksi is the head coach for the Dutch Women’s National Lacrosse team and has played for her native Country the USA since she was 11 years old.

Born in Athens, Georgia, USA and after a short time living in Canada, Kate grew up in Seattle, Washington and played for the University of Oregon club team in College. ?After injuries forced her to retire, she changed hats to coaching to remain involved in the game.

Kate coached two National Tournaments for Oregon before moving to Portland where she was the Head Coach for two seasons at Jesuit High School. After moving to the Netherlands in 2012 to pursue a Research Masters in Global Health at the VU University, she also coach the Dutch National Team…



I really kept falling into coaching opportunities. I played two years of club lacrosse at the University of Oregon and had to quit because of injuries. After a full year without lacrosse, my former coach invited me to help out. We coached two years together for that club team taking the team to two national championship tournaments. After graduating and moving to Portland I figured that I was done coaching. However, though Oregon connections I was approached to be the assistant coach at Jesuit High School. That was a great experience and completely different. I was only used to coaching three days a week over a 9 month college club season. The shift to 5 days a week for 10 weeks just about killed me for two seasons in a row. The intensity of two games a week, paired with a full time job was a wake up call. However, it was wonderful to be in my early twenties mentoring high school age girls. I grew a lot as a leader during those years. In 2012 I decided to start my masters in Amsterdam, and I was sure I had said good by to coaching for good. However, after playing with the Amsterdam Club team for a few weeks I was referred by my teammates (and national team players) for the head coach position. I was beyond excited to find my way back into coaching yet again, and especially at such a high level.

I have escaped all professional development and certification channels. I am not a career coach, and therefore have never been paid as one. So the practical and theory work I have built over the years is really though networking, youtube and a love of the game.

I love our game. The tradition, the fineness and the unique nature. There is so little we share in common with the men’s game that I have never really entertained people that ask don’t you wish you play men?s lacrosse… (or)… Don?t you wish you could hit people. No. Not at all actually….

I think both games and game styles are fun, energetic and add value to sport. Should our games become more similar in structure? No. Why? Can we continue to learn from each other. Absolutely. The women’s game can learn about how to move, cradle and work with offensive formations. However, the men have a lot to learn from us. Some of the best ball handles and offensive men’s players can train and play with a women’s stick. No reason not to share; but to compare undermines our history, tradition and the unique differences and attributes of our respective games.

To be honest I have not met many female coaches in Europe. And all of the men I have worked closely with from other programs have been American men. We all actually have very much of the same perspective and vision when it comes to the women’s game and coaching women.

That is some of the hardest things I do. I have been blessed with a coaching staff that has truly supported me in every move I’ve made. When I moved to South Africa for my masters internship research, I was blessed with technology and a dedicated training staff. For three months leading to the tournament the would execute practice plans and collect video. I would analyse tape and give individual feedback to player, and training summaries. It was brutal… But we did it.

The strength of the lacrosse community has really moved me. No matter where I have moved, I have been instantly welcomed into a wonderful network of people who love to work hard and play hard. This is a beautiful game, and one that is still fighting its way into the main stream (on the west coast and in Europe), as such, those in the sport are invested in growing the game, sharing resources and supporting the community. It is a great thing to be a part of.