Jamie Goldsmith is six games into her rookie season with the Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL). Despite being new to the American-based hockey league, she is not new to the sport. Goldsmith is currently serving as an Admissions staffer and girls hockey coach at The Gunnery, a co-ed boarding school in Connecticut.
Erica caught up with Jaime to ask her a few questions about her career…
How long did you know you wanted to get into coaching?
Honestly, I don’t think there was anything else I thought about doing, I was a big fan of the Mighty Ducks movies growing up, so Gordon Bombay was a huge influence on my decision to coach!? But I honestly had really good coaches. Growing up and playing I had really good coaches and I think that also drew me in and brought me to the profession.
What the transition from playing to coaching like for you?
Anytime you go from playing to coaching, you always try and put yourself in your player’s shoes. As you get further removed from that, that becomes harder to do so. So, coming back and playing certainly makes it a lot easier for me to continue to do that, so it’s been a pretty cool experience.
What are some of the things you try and impart on (your players) as a coach to help them on the ice to get to whatever level it is they want to get to, while also making them stronger off the ice?
I think it comes down to the process every single time. I’m from Philly, the 76ers (of the NBA) right now have the motto of committ to the process. But I don’t think that’s special just to the 76ers, I think that’s kind of a buzz thing right now. But its working!
Many kids want instant results, they want things to happen overnight…but when I have seen kids that have bought into that process of taking care of themselves, getting in the weight room, getting good sleep, taking care of the priorities (whether that’s school, being committed to their families, etc) leads to the results they want. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the kids I’ve seen that have gotten to where they want to get to are the ones that have really bought into that process. It’s a gruelling one and it’s hard, but the ones that really bought in have seen the results they want to get.
What are some of the things that you do to help yourself keep up with what’s in the practice? What parts of your education to you rely on for that?
I was a philosophy major in college, I wanted to do psychology but I didn?t do so hot on tests so I realized that paper writing was more up my alley! So as a philosophy major I read a lot and I continue to read a lot, that helps with some of the bigger picture thinking.
I try and stay as organized as possible … I have been able to pick different nuggets from coaches I’ve had in the past – traits I liked as a player. My high school coach gave us binders that (helped) get us on the same page. Whether it was faceoff plays, our systems, but also nuggets of advice or inspirational quotes, whatever it might be.
That is something that I have my girls doing now, is keeping a binder. They can contribute to it; they’re super-excited about it. I have never seen high school kids so excited to write down stuff in a binder!
So that’s something we do to stay on the same page, I post practice plans, that’s something else I took from my college days. Everyone, at the end of the day, communicates differently and has different needs. So (catering) to all that with all the different personalities is something I try to do.
You said you have had some great coaching in the past, is there one thing that stands out to you that you try to do every day?
I was fortunate enough that I had coaches that put the person before the player. So, something as simple as attitude, and knowing that is something, when we wake up every morning, we chose how we want to lead our day.
Little things get hard and they might start to build up that some people might perceive as, ‘this could lead to a bad day,’. I try to not think that way, and additionally, talk about that with my teams as well.
If you were to talk to one of your players who was thinking about becoming a coach, what would be some of the advice you would give her?
That’s a good question. I would say, have fun! It’s really a fulfilling job, it never feels like a job. And when it starts to feel like its hard, remember that you are doing something pretty awesome and … impacting lives. It’s so fun to be a part of the game in some way … keeping that in the back of your mind is important.
Author: Erica Ayala is a sports writer with bylines at Double G Sports, MyWSports, Excelle Sports and the Female Coaching Network. She has covered events such as the WNBA Draft, the Inaugural National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) Isobel Cup Finals, and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement of Sheryl Swoopes. As a member of the Elon University softball team, she was?selected as a 2006 Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar. Erica received her B.A in Political Science, with a minor in African-American Studies in 2008. In 2015, she received the Elon University Top 10 Under 10 Award from the Young Alumni Council. It is her love for sports and passion for advocacy that has brought Erica to sports writing. As a former athlete, she feels strongly about providing other children, especially girls, the opportunity to excel in athletics. As an advocate, she is drawn to the mission to continue to promote gender equity in the coverage, the funding and the compensation of girls and women in sports.