|Patricia Klecha-Porter, head womenís field hockey coach, offers her team advice during half-time. She also is the assistant squash coach, and has worked at Wesleyan for more than 20 years.|
Field Hockey Coach is Leading by Example
|Q: How were you
first introduced to field hockey and squash, and at what age did you begin
A: My older sister was involved in the sport of field hockey. After her practice she would play with me. Organized training began in ninth grade. Squash was introduced to me at Wesleyan under the Head Coach Don Long. He mentored and gave me a solid foundation of skills, strategy and coaching.
Q: At Ithaca College, you were a team captain and MVP in both field hockey and lacrosse. What were your secrets to success?
A: My strongest asset as a captain was the ability to show by example. I was determined to always compete hard every minute of the contest no matter what the score was. Respect the rules, respect your teammate and respect your opponent. Work at what is most productive and difficult for the opponent. I enjoyed communicating, encouraging my teammates to rally, do their best in both field hockey and lacrosse. What remained a constant with all three sports was my reminder that what effort you put into the sport, practice, game, was what you were going to achieve. My teammates knew that.
Q: What did you major in and why did you decide to pursue a career in coaching?
A: At Ithaca College I received a bachelorís of science in physical education with a minor in psychology. At Springfield College I received a masterís of science in exercise physiology and cardiac rehabilitation. The coaching field had become an extension of my desire to pursue field hockey at the national level. Having the knowledge and training at a high level gave me the opportunity to teach and coach the sport.
Q: Youíve been at Wesleyan 21 years, 15 of which you were head coach of the squash team. What keeps your job interesting?
A: I truly enjoy watching players develop from the beginning of a season to the end, and their long term development, from their freshmen year to their senior year. Each fall, the team must pull together, from the early stages of the game to the end of postseason play. It is what gets them there that I have a passion for. I like to employ new ways of training, set a goal for that team for the season and create practices to make it happen. My gratification comes from observing their talent come together and over all improvement.
Q: What physical education classes do you teach at Wesleyan?
A: I teach Step Aerobics and Advanced Strength Training.
Q: In 1999, you were honored as the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) field hockey coach of the year.
A: I was honored to be selected by my colleagues and to be honored as the Coach of the Year. I do credit the 1999 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship team for this recognition. They were a solid team.
Q: As a field hockey coach, you guided the lady Cardinals to their most regular-season victories in team history with 11 in 2005, and have led the team to two ECAC New England Division III titles in 1999 and 2000. What are your other major accomplishments?
A: I was inducted into the Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame and the New York State Section 5 Hall of Fame. In 2005 I was awarded the Chickie Possion Award for Service in Field Hockey in Connecticut.
Q: When does the field hockey season begin and how do you help prepare the team? What coaching lessons do you stress year after year?
A: Field Hockey season begins Sept. 1. Programs are set up for players to develop their fitness level. When the season begins we strive for players to play their best, work hard no matter what the score is, no matter how much time is on the clock. I stress to the team to be accountable for your actions, respect others, judge the situation and make the best decisions.
Q: Youíve taken your team to Bermuda, Barbados and the Netherlands. What is the advantage of these trips?
A: Tours are a definite perk for a team to develop bonding, friendship and camaraderie. To travel 10-12 days with each other, playing a sport you have a passion for in different countries makes the unknown exciting. Experiencing different customs and different styles of play allows the individual to go out of their comfort zone and accommodate, change and be charged with new ideas. Traveling allows for the students to become sports ambassadors for the U.S. and Wesleyan.
Q: You hold an International Umpiring rating, the highest level for umpires in the game of women's lacrosse. Where have you umpired?
A: Besides numerous college games and NCAA playoffs here in the states, I have umpired for the International Federation of Womenís Lacrosse Associations World Cup during the summer of 2001 in Wycombe, England, the 2005 World Cup at the Navel Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and the International Owl tournament in Oshawa, Canada.
Q: What is the Cardinal Field Hockey Camp and what is your role with this camp?
A: The goal is to offer a fundamental clinic that exposes high school players to current techniques and skills of field hockey. The Cardinal Field Hockey Camp is an evening camp for 7-12th grade players. I direct, create the curriculum, manage the coaching staff and I am involved in the daily coaching. The camp has been running for over 10 years.
Q: At Wesleyan, who is your assistant coach?
A: Jen Shea is the field hockey assistant who played at Amherst College. She also is our head softball coach here at Wesleyan.
Q: You have competed at the Olympic Sports Festival.
A: The Olympic Festival was a great experience for me. It was an extensive selection process for athletes who where chosen by performing in the United States Field Hockey Association Developmental camps. I truly enjoyed the level of play and was honored to be selected twice in the 80s. I also had the opportunity to play with my younger sister on those teams.
Q: What are your hobbies and interests aside from sports?
A: I enjoy gardening, exercising, reading and doing home improvements.
Q: Tell me about your family, and do they enjoy sports, too?
A: I have a wonderful husband, Scott, who keeps me well balanced, two sons, Nathan and Andrew, and a daughter, Logan. All are involved with sports and keep me entertained!
|By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor. Photos by Brian Katten, sports information director.|