Head Coach Lani Silversides started coaching Andover Girls Basketball in the fall of 2005, just months after graduating from playing four years of Division-I basketball at the University of Vermont (U.V.M.). After thriving in a record-setting career as both a high school and collegiate athlete, Silversides brought experience and knowledge to Andover’s team.
Silversides began thinking like a coach as early as the fifth grade, when she started drawing plays and working alongside her coaches to adjust the team’s movements. Silversides also coached her town’s recreational team throughout middle school and high school.
Silversides was named Maine Female Athlete of the Year in 2001 after graduating from York High School in York, Maine. There, she was named second all-time scoring leader with 1,413 points and made school records with 1,111 rebounds and 299 blocks. Silversides was a top athlete throughout high school, receiving 12 varsity letters for competing in soccer and track, in addition to basketball.
At U.V.M., Silversides earned America East All-Conference Team honors as a senior and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
From an early age, Silversides’s father acted as a role model to her coaching method.
“[My dad] is not a yeller and a screamer but really a teacher, and I think that’s how I would describe myself as well as a coach,” Silversides wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Learning from her father, Silversides now serves as a role model to her players.
Captain Emma Kelley ’17 said, “Coach Silversides is not only a coach but a role model and friend. She always manages to keep calm even when a game gets crazy. I admire her ability to maintain a cool head and keep our team goals in mind rather than getting caught up in the drama of a game. She is always looking out for us on and off the court.”
Silversides’s caring demeanor as a coach is recognized by her players across the board. Newcomers Claire Brady ’20 and Post-Graduate (PG) Corina Lindsay ’17 both felt immediately welcomed to the team by Silversides.
Brady said, “Coach has really welcomed me to the team through group activities and team bonding, and I really feel part of the team. At the beginning of the season, we had a meeting where we talked about what we wanted to be like and achieve as a team for the season, so she has really set a great team environment.”
Lindsay added, “It is difficult joining a team as a PG. You have to kind of figure out what is expected of you both on and off the court. [Silversides] really helped me find my place before we even started the season. We would sit down and talk a lot about the season to come which has made my transition onto the team easy.”
Silversides helps her players understand the mental aspects of the game, as well as what life lessons can be gained from the hardships experienced during competition. As a coach, she hopes to make her players not only better athletes, but better people.
Silversides wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I find sports teaches you so much about life in general — learning to fail, how you handle yourself in mistakes, setting goals, working hard, working together with other people, et cetera. So, I try to use sport as a way of teaching athletes these other skills that will help them in their life outside of school and sport.”
“One specific thing my athletes I think would hear a lot from me is about controlling what you can control and not spending any energy or wasting time worrying about (or complaining about) the things you can’t control,” Silversides added.
The extra effort and energy Silversides puts into coaching the team is widely recognized by her players.
Lindsay said, “Usually my other coaches would just run a practice and call it a day, [Silversides] takes extra time to really stress the importance of mental toughness. She also encourages team chemistry. She makes sure that we are all working together and striving for the goals we hope to achieve.”
Silversides’s passion for the game continues to grow and drives her to be a better coach.
“I love seeing a team come together and get better. Even little things like running an out of bounds play properly and scoring off it makes me so happy,” said Silversides.
With 15 games left in the season, Silversides hopes that the team will continue to improve and learn from both its mistakes and successes.
Silversides wrote, “I hope to convey to the team that feeling of anything can happen and really having to learn to break down the game into moments where you give your best focus and effort.”
Editor’s Note: Emma Kelley is a Features Editor for The Phillipian.