The excitement of a new challenge is what gets Karen Doxey out of bed each morning. As the coach of the varsity field hockey team, she lives for the new puzzle each day brings and thrives on putting today’s pieces together. Whether it’s giving her players personalized instruction or individually helping each one become part of the team, Coach Doxey strives to build relationships. “To me it is taking whoever I have and getting them to the next level individually and as a team.” It’s really all about working together through direct communication both on and off the field. When Coach Doxey first arrived as a Collegiate coach in 1987, she was amazed when the players informed her that they “could now have a team again.” This left her wondering what the true meaning of a team really was. Therefore, this statement always has and will forever influence the way she leads each one of her varsity teams.
Coach Doxey grew up in Pennsylvania, where she attended Ridley High School, playing both field hockey and lacrosse. She remembers loving nothing more than when a coach gave her personalized instruction, telling her exactly how to do something. Although Coach Doxey prefers field hockey, considering its challenging concepts, she still admits to being a more talented lacrosse player. It’s no surprise she chose to play lacrosse in college. As a graduate from Westchester University, she admits to constantly being pressed for time and struggling to find a balance between her student-teacher career and her commitment to the lacrosse team. It is no wonder Coach Doxey can relate to the variety of other commitments her players are involved with beyond Robins Campus’ Field Six at as well.
From the first day of preseason to the team’s first chance to show off what they’ve been working for, Coach Doxey begins deliberately mapping out each practice hoping to have the team as best prepared for competition. As the season continues, her practice plans exist on a more general level and get broken down based on the group’s previous practices and game performance. By striving to eliminate as much “dead time” as possible, she aims to keep her practice intentions in a consistent flow. Although she is always thoughtfully thinking through the best way to elevate each player’s skill level, she claims her work is not “rocket science.” Likewise, she also enjoys observing how much each one of her players are willing to push themselves during practice as well. Varsity co-captain Carson Pinney comments on her experience playing for Coach Doxey, “Coach Doxey always pushes each one of her players, including myself, to always want to improve and work our hardest, no matter the score of the game or the circumstances.” Thus, she believes the competitive days are designed for watching each player naturally going hard, combined with their individual personalities shining through. However, she also appreciates assigning her players small groups and giving them a short amount of time to design activities such as innovative team cheers and lavish stick tricks.
Although Coach Doxey has been coaching for 28 years, year after year she still fears the same situation. Known as the “deer in the headlights effect,” players have a tendency to “stoop” down to the other team’s level when both she and the team know their skills are superior to their competition. When a team performs above and beyond their opponent’s potential, the “ultimate feeling” crosses into Coach Doxey’s mind. Not only does this feeling occur during a proud game moment, but she also experiences it when a player finally masters a skill they have been having trouble with during practice. “There is nothing better than knowing a player finally feels confident after all the time they have been putting into the skill.”
Coach Doxey believes in teamwork, the type a group works on both on and off the field. She coaches individuals to perform as a unit, wanting them to play with consistent communication and triangle passes. She understands where the group stands, always tailoring each team in a different way from the last. She teaches her players to be competitive, always reminding them to bring the right attitude, more than enough intensity, and expects nothing less than full desire for the game. Coach Doxey relies on her players to bridge the gaps between each other on the field through communication. Therefore, she is encourages her players every step of the way by continually preaching the importance of sportsmanship. Even simple gestures, such as side-line cheering during games and supportive shout-outs in between drills, are key ingredients to her definition of teamwork. As Libby Roseboro, the Collegiate Athletics Administrative Assistant said, “She is the type of coach who you want to have talking in your ear constantly. Her knowledge and passion for the game is evident and she has passed it through teams for generations.”
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Harrison (’17)