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Elmira's Rosen doesn’t let the pressure get to her

by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor

Photos: Elmira Athletics

Not everyone can handle it. Only the best can deal with the day-to-day grind of being counted on to lead a team every single game.

Pressure, as they say, is a bitch. It can tear down the strongest person, or make the weaker that much more week. Not every athlete can handle the pressure that is put on them form peers, coaches, fans, whoever is watching them that day.

Some, however, thrive under the pressure. They thrive under the fact that they are the one’s being counted on to lead the team.

Elmira College’s Kylie Rosen knows about pressure. She is counted on to lead the line for the Elmira field hockey team. But, to her, it’s not about the pressure she puts on herself. It’s more about the adrenaline rush to go out there and try and get the job done.

“I do place pressure on myself to score but it is more in an adrenaline-rush type of way in which I do get excited but still have to see what my options are. My dad has always told me to play with my head on a swivel. I use this tactic when I get a pass from my teammate(s),” stated Rosen. “Before I receive the ball, I always look around to see what my options are, so when I do receive the ball I already know what I'm going to do with it. This is just one example of wanting to score and getting the ball in the back of the net. There is no I in team. I always look to see which is the smartest play when I'm below the 25 yard line or in the circle with the ball. I have to make a quick yet smart decision to either just rip the ball into the net, hit another player's foot to cause a corner, or look to pass to one of my teammates who may have the better opportunity to score.”

One would look at her stats from a year ago and say that Rosen has regressed over her college career. It’s not about regressing. It’s about getting comfortable again. The last couple years was the strangest years that anyone has every had to go through.

With Covid. and the uncertainly of ever playing a game again, it was hard for any athlete to get in that rhythm, or comfort zone again. For Rosen is was trying to get back in the groove. Her mental was the biggest thing she was trying to work on.

“Last year, in terms of stats, was not what I anticipated it to be. After having close to two years of not having a full season at all, it was difficult. Last year was hard for me as my mental game was my biggest struggle in how it affected my game. I got in my head a lot when playing. Assistant Coach Janie Kempf would always give me pep talks to increase my confidence,” explained Rosen. “Coach Janie is who really helped my progress throughout the season. After scoring two goals against Medaille University in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, I got that feeling of loving the game again. I scored in front of my family members and friends. When athletes are in a tough mental place, sometimes all it takes is an assistant coach and two goals to get you back in it again.”

Being in a tough mental place is something that athletes have been dealing with over the past couple of years. The one thing that Covid did was give athletes, and everyone, a chance to sit back and look at themselves a little bit more.

People have been trained their entire lives to get up and do the same thing over and over again. Routines are a big thing for everyone. The last two years changed that. The unknown changed the way people have been thinking.

Now, people are trying to take more time for themselves. They are trying to figure out what they need out of life, and how to go get it.

“I am a big advocate of focusing on myself mentally. I always do things to keep myself physically and mentally healthy. Whether that is spending time with my family or going to the gym, those two activities are two of the top things that keep my mindset in a good place,” stated Rosen. “Although field hockey is one of the main priorities of commitment in my life, family is my number one priority. My family has always had a bond like no other, however, we got even closer in 2010 when we found out my dad had brain cancer. I was nine years old when my dad was diagnosed. With his sickness, he often couldn't attend games and tournaments. This was a time when my mom and I formed a strong bond and she helped me become the player I am today. My dad is sick still to this day. With 4+ cancers, three of which are in remission, I learned to play for my dad and my family.”

Hobbies are important when you are trying to deal with the mental side of life. Some athletes will throw themselves into their work. That’s how they deal with it. Others need to find a different release.

They need to find something that is completely different that what they are doing. It could be as simple as going on boat, or just going for a walk. Just getting out and changing the scenery.

“As much as I like playing field hockey, there are times where I do need a break to pay attention to other things I am also committed to. During the summer, my family has a boat that we spend a lot of time on. I love being on the water and embracing what god has blessed us with. I also love going down to Niawanda park and walking or rollerblading on the path there. It is so peaceful to watch and hear the boats and jet skis go by when the sun is setting,” explained Rosen. “I also like to play video games. Even outside of field hockey, I still like going to the gym and keeping myself healthy on a daily basis. I like attending the gym with my friends because we motivate each other to push ourselves and make our goals our reality. As stated before, I love being out in nature. I love going hiking. Some of my favorite places I have hiked are Allegheny State Park, Niagara Falls, and Watkins Glen. Another one of my hobbies is helping with the Special Olympics. I did a lot of work in high school with the Special Olympics such as being an assistant for the Unified Basketball team for the Williamsville School District. I also helped out with a bowling organization for the Special Olympics. Once I graduate from college and my masters program, I am looking forward to becoming a special education teacher. However, I also want to coach the Unified Basketball team and get more involved with the Special Olympics and possibly run and be a part of some of the organizations such as the Playmakers Association.”

Life could get tough at times for Rosen. Being a double major in college, onto of being an athlete is no easy task. It’s long nights studying making sure that she takes care of what she needs to take care of in the classroom.

Rosen knows field hockey has awarded her the opportunity to get a great education. She also knows that field hockey won’t be there forever. That’s why Rosen is already looking ahead to her future, no matter how tough it could be at times.

“Being a student athlete on top of being a double major can definitely be tough. I am double majoring in Childhood Education and Special Education with a concentration in social studies. With being in this double major area, some of my education courses require 34 hours per trimester in a school setting. This was definitely beneficial for my future and I loved all of my placements, teachers who I worked with, and all of the hard working and smart students I met. Completing 34 hours per term, on top of class during the day, homework, practices and games was a lot to manage. I learned that I had to make a schedule to manage all of my commitments. Making a itinerary of when I needed to attend games, practices, and teaching hours on top of homework helped me accomplish everything,” explained Rosen. “I learned that during these stressful times, you have to be disciplined. There were times where I had to leave early or miss one or the other commitments. With that, I had to leave class early to go to a game; or I had to miss or leave practice early for classes or tutoring. Even with this, I still managed to maintain good grades. People often think that sports are a distraction from school, but I disagree. It is important to learn many tactics, strategies, and time management. Between school and sports, I learned that you have to take a break for even just for a half hour. Going to practice is always a good way to get my mind off school for a little bit especially if I’m stressed. Same goes with field hockey; if a game didn’t go as planned, seeing my friends in class always makes me happy.”

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