Seattle youth lacrosse coach Lindsey Anderson has been named the 2013 National Girls Youth Coach of the Year by US Lacrosse.
Anderson, a middle-school girls coach and youth coach mentor with the Quick Styx (queenannequickstyx.uslaxteams.com) youth lacrosse program in Queen Anne, was nominated for the honor by a 14-year-old player on her middle-school team.
One of six recipients of the national governing body’s 2013 Youth Awards, Anderson was selected as the nation’s top girls youth coach as a role model with a love of the game, for her ability to connect with her players and deep understanding of the importance of sportsmanship in molding young lives.
“Lindsey has a love for the game that I cannot explain. She has put her heart and all of her efforts into making this season a productive, fun and amazing time,” wrote Haily Santorsola, one of three eighth-graders from nearby St. Anne School (101 W. Lee St.) who play for Anderson, in her nomination letter to US Lacrosse.
For Anderson, who got her start in lacrosse as a Bellevue High School senior winning the 2003 state championship in just her first year in the sport, the award came as a complete surprise.
“I was stunned and excited,” said Anderson, one of 12 coaches at the 11-year-old youth program that annually draws some 120 second- through eighth-grade girls attending 33 Seattle-area elementary schools, from Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard and north to Shoreline.
“I didn’t ever expect to be recognized for something at this level,” she said. “I don’t really see myself as any different than any of our coaches. It just happens; it’s all natural.”
And there’s no doubt she’s a natural, said Quick Styx volunteer director George Bergeron.
“Lindsey is a role model. When my own daughter started playing, we were getting beat pretty bad. Lindsey stood out as someone that we really wanted in our program,” Bergeron said. “She always kept a positive approach with the kids and the parents and put a lot of effort into making sure that we have practice plans, drills and a model for future coaches that come into the program.”
For Anderson, who has coached and tutored young people since high school and plans to teach math and science when she completes her master’s degree in education this summer at Seattle Pacific University, the teaching part of the coaching equation is easy.
“It’s always come easy to me. It’s like a puzzle — a fun puzzle,” she said.
“I had friends that played lacrosse [in high school]. I didn’t know that they played other sports, but they played lacrosse,” Anderson said. “That was important. Being on a team where you are surrounded by girls and boys your age helps you be accepted.”
As an undergraduate at Western Washington University in Bellingham, near Washington state’s border with Canada, Anderson gravitated to the school’s club lacrosse team, playing D-wing and midfield early on, then taking on player-coach responsibilities as an upperclassman.
This reinforced the impact of mentorship.
“We learn something new at every practice,” Santorsola said. “But she always throws in a twist,” describing a popular drill called “Steal the Bacon,” in which Anderson splits the team into two groups, with each player matching up with an opponent on the other side.
“She throws the ball in the center and calls your number. Then you’ve got to grab the ball first, shoot and score,” said a smiling Santorsola. “My favorite thing is running and competing.”
With or without the bacon, Anderson still sees the youth sports experience as less about winning and losing and more about team play.
“At the end of the week or end of the season, I never know who won or lost. It’s not something that I care about at all,” she said. “But it’s really fun when we win.”
MIKE McQUAID is the sports information director for US Lacrosse–Washington. To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.