October 2015: Learning teamwork and endurance with Coach Staring

A coach who is as energetic, outgoing, goal driven and loves the game as much as the student-athletes that she coaches is a force with which to be reckoned with. Coach Martha Staring is a new face to the Collegiate athletic community and her hard work with the girls’ varsity field hockey team truly stands out.

“I believe field hockey is a sport where you can lay it all on the line,” said Staring. “I love the intensity of the game; your skills, speed and endurance are tested as you play and to me that is invigorating.”

Staring is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Regent University. She is focused and extremely proud to coach at Collegiate.

For this, and other reasons, Coach Staring is the October Coach of the Month. She sat down with the Oak Connection and talked field hockey, coaching and what the sport means to her.

What was your reaction when you were told you were the Coach of the Month for October?

My reaction when I was told I was Coach of the Month for October was my hard work is paying off somewhere. I was excited and grateful to have been chosen.

How did you come to coach field hockey at Collegiate?

At the time, I had been looking for a job that allowed me to work with students or teens. It came to my attention that Norfolk Collegiate was seeking assistance with field hockey, so I contacted the athletic director with my information and experience to see if we were a match, and we were!

How has your playing experience prepared you for coaching?

My playing experience has prepared me for coaching because I have been put in various playing situations. I started playing very young and continued to gain experience through camps and clinics, futures, indoor and outdoor tournaments as well as playing in high school and college. In each of these hockey scenarios, I had multiple coaches and had to adjust to many different styles of coaching, which has made me a better coach and taught me how to be my best. I now understand that everyone learns differently and some need various approaches when you are coaching them. I do my best to reach out to the players and figure out what will work best for them and the team as a whole.

What are some of your goals for the team this year?

Some goals for the year include working together, doing our best, having a positive attitude on and off the field and becoming an all-around better athlete.

Is there one piece of advice that was given to you that you hope to pass along to your student-athletes? If so, what is it and why is it important to pass along?

One piece of advice that was given to me that I hope to pass along to my student-athletes is to not be afraid to tap into your full potential. Sometimes athletes get comfortable at their current playing level and are afraid to push past it. This is important to pass along to them because I believe each athlete sometimes has a voice in his or her head saying “you can’t do this,” whether it’s a timed mile, a drill or earning a starting position. Learning how to overcome that self-doubt and tap into his or her full potential by working hard is one of the best feelings there is; it is very rewarding.

What is the biggest challenge for your team this year? How do you think your team will concur this?

One of the biggest challenges for the team this year is playing at the level of their opponent instead of playing the game to the best of their ability and learning how to work together. The only ones standing in the team’s way of winning games is themselves. The drive and will of wanting to win has to come from within; it’s not something you can teach as a coach. In order for the team to concur this, I believe we need to set aside our differences and come out as a united front: each player wanting to win and playing to the best of his or her ability. That’s all I ask as a coach is for the girls to have a positive attitude, do their best, help their teammates, be coachable and want to win.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to? Why?

I actually have three mentors that I look up to. Nicole, Kelly and Theresa are my older sisters. I look up to them because they hold me to a very high standard. They are constantly pushing me to become better, whether that was as a past athlete or as a new coach. My sisters don’t allow me to make excuses for myself.  If I have a problem, they are going to ask me: what can I do to help the situation, am I giving my all and what can I do to help the people around me? They believe in me when I forget to believe in myself.

When not coaching field hockey, what do you do?

When I’m not coaching, I’m typically doing homework; I am a full-time graduate student. In addition, I volunteer for Hospice. Most of these people are unable to communicate; therefore, I sit with them and share smiles, a warm touch and spend quality time with the patients, and it really makes a difference. When I have free time, I try to participate in an adult field hockey league or relax at the beach.