Nicole’s actual day job is in finance, but her true passion is Lacrosse. No day goes by without Nicole doing something connected with Lacrosse. That is because she’s not only playing on the field for the women’s team of the Vienna Monarchs, she’s also their captain and thus responsible for finance and organisation. How she became so involved and more or less fell in love with this niche sport? Well, read on. (Pic: www.josefstepan.cz)
What does your training routine look like?
I train with the female team of the Vienna Monarchs, twice a week for approximately two hours. Moreover, we have training camps (about 8 weekends per year) with the national team.
What is your favourite training place?
I just need a proper flat soccer field 😉
How did you get into sport and your specific routine?
I started playing Lacrosse through the University sports program “USI Sport” in spring 2006, in Vienna. The reason why I chose Lacrosse was pretty simple, I just wanted to try something new – a sport I have never tried before. And since this course was brand new for women, the decision came easily to me. Then after one semester the chairman of the Vienna Monarchs came to our training and asked if we wanted to join the club. Their plan was to start a women’s team. I simply had to say yes and as far as I can remember I’ve been attending the trainings twice a week ever since. The only exception is one month winter and summer break.
The reason why I chose Lacrosse was pretty simple, I just wanted to try something new …
Could you summarise Lacrosse for us?
Lacrosse is a combination of tactics, team spirit, quickness, endurance and ball handling. There are always two teams who compete on a field about the size of a soccer field. In general a team consists of 12 players and a game lasts two halves of 30 minutes each. The goal is to shoot a ball, about the size of a tennis ball, into the other team’s gateway. You’re not allowed to touch the ball with your hands. Instead you have to manoeuvre the ball with a stick, whose head is strung with a mesh. Security and fairness are a must during the game – three referees on the field oversee make sure everyone sticks to the rules.
For how long have you been doing sports and how regular are you doing sport?
I’ve always been into sport. However, before Lacrosse, I’ve actually never been a member of a team. With my passion in Lacrosse my training intensity grew simultaneously.
What makes you do sports?
Because it’s great fun! Sport frees my mind after a long stressful day at work, just as it used to after a long spell of revision for exams. Training helps to stabilise my posture and it compensates for spending all day sat in front of a computer.
How do you stay motivated to keep going with you training?
I know that I always feel better after having practiced. That’s the best motivation. Plus, as Lacrosse is a team sport, not attending the training means that you potentially weaken the whole team. And that’s a pretty bad feeling.
Thoughts before, during and after your training?
Well, that actually depends on my mood …
Before: After a stressful day at work, I’m not highly motivated and have to convince myself that I will enjoy the training.
During: When it’s a good game and I have the “Lacrosse flow”, I just think of doing drills and possible ways of teaching the other girls to improve their play.
After: I usually feel very much at ease and I’m glad that I convinced myself to go on the field and play.
How does sport influence your daily life?
In many ways: I spend a vast amount of my time at practice, plus we also have games on almost every second weekend in spring. Furthermore, I am also involved in organisational stuff. So you could say that Lacrosse does not influence my daily life – it is my daily life.
Would you say you are competitive: when it comes to sport? In general?
Yes and yes!
Is there a difference in the sport for women and men?
Yes, there’s a strict distinction between women’s and men’s Lacrosse:
Women play without body contact. In addition, their sticks have tightly strung heads. This makes it technically challenging and it requires a lot of skill to move the ball across the field.
How popular is the sport in your opinion?
Men’s Lacrosse is far more popular than Lacrosse for women. In my opinion that’s the reason why there are more men’s teams than women’s teams. But bit by bit the men’s clubs are starting women’s division, just as it was with the Vienna Monarchs.
At the moment our women team has about 20 members. That’s why we don’t divide in age groups and everyone plays together. To draw the bigger picture: there are three teams for women in Austria at the moment, which have enough team members to play in the league – our team, plus the Vienna Cherokees and the Gladiators in Graz. (There used to be teams in Carinthia and Innsbruck, but I’m not sure if they still exist …)
So you could say that you’ve helped starting the women’s team?
The current one, yes. There had been a women team before, but they decided to separate and founded the Vienna Cherokees. Apart form helping with organization, I’m also the Captain of the team and I also trained the girls in the past. Unfortunately because of time constraints I had to give this training part up. But nevertheless, I help wherever I can. Whether it’s organising or managing all kinds of request concerning the women team, as well as being in charge of the finances.
Is there anything positive or negative you would like to share?
To have a really good Lacrosse practice, we need at least ten people on the field. So I’m dependent on the motivation of nine other girls to be able to play in this constitution. If they show up, it’s positive, if not, it’s negative.
Is there a big risk of injuries?
During the play you ought to wear a protection for eyes and teeth. Although body contact is forbidden, collisions can of course happen. But most of the severe injuries are caused by the „stop and go“ movements during playing. These are mainly injuries concerning knees (cross band) and ankles (lateral ligament). Sticks and balls mainly cause bruises, but all in all let’s put it that way: you shouldn’t be oversensitive to pain 😉
Sticks and balls mainly cause bruises, but all in all let’s put it that way: you shouldn’t be oversensitive to pain.
What was your most memorable moment?
There is never ever just one of these moments in my Lacrosse story… if I had to choose though, maybe the goal I scored against Japan with the national team. Or the winning goal that Kathi scored at the Champions League 2015 in the 5th overtime, or when the hard work paid off and we finally managed a play in a match that we practiced again and again and again for … I don’t know… maybe the most memorable moment is yet to come?
If you weren’t into sports what would you be doing instead?
I have no clue.
In five key words: What are the best things about your training you want to share with the readers?
1. Training frees your mind
2. you get to see your friends
3. you have have fun
4. work out and
5. you constantly improve yourself
What is your favourite motivational quote?
Pain is weakness leaving the body.