“Focus. On. Repetitions.” That is new Math Teacher and Softball Coach Danielle Chagnon’s mantra for the girls’ softball team this season. After 5 years at Cushing Academy, Chagnon decided it was time for a change.
“I enjoy change in general and it’s exciting to learn from an unfamiliar setting. My experience so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Deerfield has been a very welcoming place for me. I came to Deerfield to get experience and perspective from what I expected would be a very different professional and academic environment. I wanted the experience of teaching, living, and coaching in a new community.”
Chagnon gets her expertise from playing at the collegiate level as a three-year soccer player and four-year player/co-captain of the softball team at Bowdoin College.
“Playing softball in college definitely helps me to have a better eye for the technical aspect of players’ performances. There are a lot of complicated motions in the skills they execute, so it helps to be able to break down the motions so players can make adjustments.”
And while her own collegiate glory days are behind her, Chagnon is wasting no time in preparing Deerfield’s own female athletes for theirs. “For this year, I think our goal is to work on skills and for our players to understand the game and their positions more thoroughly. A long term goal is to be a skilled, knowledgeable, well-rounded group of ball players so that we can get the most enjoyment out of our seasons and also prepare athletes to be versatile if they choose to play in college.”
As for coaching and teaching at a boarding school versus a day school, Chagnon said the experience can’t be beat. “I think any coach at boarding school would say this: coaching is the perfect complement to what we do in the classroom all day. It’s a refreshing change of pace and scenery where students and I get to know each other better. Every player on our team is coachable, patient, helpful, and fun. You can’t ask for better ingredients to have a great time and make progress.” She added, “I also get to work with an outstanding head coach, Ms. Melvoin.”
This season is predicted to not only be successful, but also great fun. Ms. Chagnon concluded by quoting Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, saying, “If you were having fun, you would have caught that ball!”