As captains on the team, you are a leader on and off the practice area. College captains are in the same boat- but as athletes, we all know that it is not business all of the time and having fun is important while you are in this position. So, after talking with Davidson College women’s soccer team junior captain, Michele Manceaux, and Football’s 266 pound junior linebacker, Bryce Perry Martin (nickname PM), we get a new look at what being a leader on the field looks like.
Interview with women’s soccer captain, Michele Manceaux. Michele is a junior at Davidson College and is a forward or winger. She is a Political Science and Psychology double major and is an active participant in the Black Student Coalition.
Makayla, LRT Sports: How was your recruitment process with the Davidson soccer staff? Best experience and most challenging experience?
Michele: “My recruiting process was different from most of my teammates. I went through a camp for three days in Dallas. This camp had coaches from all over the country and from different divisions (D1, D2, D3, NAIA). Initially, Davidson was not my first choice, but my dad told me to keep an eye on them because it’s a great academic school and, of course, Steph Curry went there. So I played my heart out that camp. At the end, the directors told us it was our opportunity to sit down with these coaches one on one and look to be recruited. I went to Davidson first, and the coach at the time told me basically everything I wanted to hear. He enjoyed watching me play and wanted to set up a visit for me as soon as possible. I was ecstatic!”
“The visit was the best and challenging experience for me. This was the first time I was going to visit a school and to do it by myself was a scary thing too. As soon as I got to Davidson, I fell in love with everything. The campus, the people, the classes, everything about it made me feel like I belonged there. Then one night, I got really upset when my mom called to ask me how everything was going. I realized I was 900+ miles away from home and that I’d have to be 900 miles away from home for four years if I chose Davidson. But this is what I wanted. I wanted to go out of state, I wanted to play soccer, but I didn’t know I would be this homesick. She then asked me if I loved the school and I replied yes. My mom told me something that helped me make my decision; she told me that if I love the school then I should go there. No matter which school I picked, she would be happy and proud of me. She wanted me to make the best choice for me and never to regret anything. So in a sense, her acceptance of me going to another state to further my education and soccer career helped me pick Davidson.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What are two tips that you have for student athletes to get coaches on their radar?
Michele: “First tip is communicate with the coaches and be persistent about it. That means to email them about your great interest in their program, school and style of play. Email them about the tournaments you’ll be at and send them your schedule because if they’re going to be at the same tournament, you could invite them to come and watch. Your club coaches can help with formulating these emails, but college coaches can tell which emails were copied and which ones were typed out by a player. Make the emails personal!! Speak about your personal achievements and what you’re expecting to do with your future (include questions). It also wouldn’t hurt to talk about how their college team performed in a recent game. They’ll appreciate the attention.”
“Second tip is to play the game and play the game well! When you’re going to showcase tournaments, it’s a big deal for you and your team. Everyone on you team is doing their absolute best to impress the coaches and show off what they can do. Don’t show off to impress. Don’t do moves you’ve never done to demonstrate that you’re the best one on the field. The players that get a coach’s recognition are the ones that can keep possession of the ball, take on players 1v1, DEFEND, score (if that’s your position) and support players. You did half the job by constantly contacting coaches to see you play, now you have to back it up with your performance.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: Let’s talk about workouts, what is that one exercise that you would recommend that high school athletes do to prepare for playing soccer at the next level?
Michele: “One piece of exercise I’d definitely recommend would be body workouts. Body workouts consist of lunges, wall sits, squats, high knees, etc. I know in high school and club, my coaches were not fans of weight lifting because they thought it would lead to injury or stunt growth. However, before getting to Davidson, I worked with a trainer whose philosophy was centered around body workouts. There is so much you can do without weights that build endurance in your muscles and condition them to last through practices and games. Weights is to strength as body workouts is to conditioning. You must have a balance of the two. So when you’re trying to stay in shape always consider body workouts”
Makayla, LRT Sports: How do you balance your sport with your academics? Does Davidson have the assistance for the athletes who cannot keep up with both?
Michele: “What’s worked for me is having a planner of some kind. Some people like electronic versions, but I prefer writing it down. Knowing what your schedule is going to look like can help dictate what to put as priority. Being a student-athlete is already difficult enough when you miss classes or exams because of games, but you’re in control of completing assignments on time, communicating with professors and coaches, adjusting your study habits, etc.”
“Davidson has some assistance for helping first years transition from high school to college by having sports psychologists. I think the option of having a sports psychologist on campus is helpful, but there’s a lot of student-athletes that aren’t comfortable with going to seek help. I was fortunate to have teammates and coaches who welcomed any problems I had with classes or soccer. It really helped me improve my communication skills and ask questions about things I was struggling with.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: As a captain, you are expected to be a leader on and off the field. But, sometimes the team needs to relax and bond a little. What is your favorite team bonding memory?
Michele: “My favorite team bonding memory has to be when we went to the escape room my freshman year. We were put into different groups at random by our coaches. It ended up being so funny! People came out of the escape room handcuffed or traumatized. It was the best time.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: Do you feel that upcoming student-athletes should find an outlet other than their spriot when they start college? If so, why and what is your outlet?
Michele: “Of course! Being a student-athlete means your time is devoted to school and your respected sport. You spend most of your time with your teammates which is great but sometimes you need a break from them. Also, you should spend time getting to know other people, whether they play a different sport or are in the same class as you. You never know who could be one of your long lasting friends in college. Personally my outlet is a group of friends I made my freshman fall. We all lived on the same hall, one of them was my roommate, and to this day I’m best friends with! After practices, games, or class we’d hang out as much as we can. On weekends we’d stay in sometimes and have sleepovers or just talk nonstop. My sophomore year we lived in different dorms but we always made sure we’d have a meal together or schedule something to do! So I was fortunate to have them and continue to have them as my outlet.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is one thing you wish you knew before playing at the college level?
Michele: “I wish I knew how important fitness was for college soccer. Maybe it was the club I came from where fitness wasn’t something we were going to be doing every practice, but fitness is everything in college. My freshman year, I couldn’t even last 10 minutes without feeling out of shape. It takes a lot of dedication and work during the summer to come into the season fit. I just wish someone told me how important it was from the start.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is your favorite post game meal?
Michele: “My favorite post game meal has to be anything pasta!”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is the funniest thing to happen to you in the locker room?
Michele: “We had a dance circle before one of our games this past season! It was fun having a dance off with everyone. We even got people who don’t really dance to do a jig! It was just funny how much we got into so quickly! It was super spontaneous and an awesome time.”
Interview with defensive lineman Football captain, Bryce Perry-Martin. Bryce is a junior at Davidson College and is majoring in Communications. He is a Bonner Scholar and volunteers at Davidson Elementary regularly. In 2017 and 2018 he was named to the Pioneer Football League All-Conference second team
Photo by Davidson College Athletics
Makayla, LRT Sports: Being that you are a defensive linemen, what is one piece of advice that you can offer to a football player who are looking to play that position in college?
PM: “One piece of advice I can give to high school athletes now to prepare for college is to stay adamant and working heavily on staying low while on the line of scrimmage. Work everything explosive, in drills and emphasize being mean at the line.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: You never stop training throughout the year, so what is your favorite cardio workout to keep in shape for the upcoming season?
PM: “My favorite cardio workouts are the position oriented drills. Repetition is key and it is important to reduce rest to optimize fitness and simulate game conditions.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: You are a Bonner Scholar which is a service based scholarship, what did you have to do to get this scholarship?
PM: “In high school, I was part of the National Honors Society and one of the regulations we had to follow was to volunteer. So, I took advantage of opportunities present to me and enjoyed volunteering for a computer refurbishing computer course. We would take over the old computers and use those pieces to make brand new computers that families would come to pick up. After doing that with some friends and seeing the positive impact in the community, when I got into Davidson, I applied for the scholarship and was one of twenty students selected in my year.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is one hurdle that you have during the season?
PM: “I get really sole during the season. Having two workouts a day for six days a week catches up with your body. Your body never fully gets used to what happens to it during a game, so the constant physical toll that you incur during a game catches up to you.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: Being an athlete myself, I understand the importance of extracurricular activities outside of your sport. What do you do? Why is it important for other athletes to have other outlets?
PM: “I volunteer at Davidson Elementary regularly. So, being involved in the community around you is important because these are the people that will be supporting you for the next 4+ years. I think it is better to leave the community better than how you found it. I enjoy being able to spend time with the kids in the classroom, especially the student I am actively working with, Jamari, who has positively changed my Davidson experience for the better.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: Let’s talk about the coaching change, how do you think that will affect the dynamics of the team? Should all athletes have that in the back of their head, meaning that coaches can change so you need to mentally prepare yourself for that?
PM: “The new coach gives new energy to the team; they come in with a fresh perspective, high energy, and are looking to get the ball rolling with the team to do better than it has in the past. I think that this new coaching staff did a great job getting to know us and learning about us as people and players.”
“I would say yes, you should be prepared for the coaching changes (because they could happen at anytime) but that should not change your work ethic on the field. No matter what coach is there, you should give your all in practice and games. In addition, your goals and aspirations should not change with the coaching change either; you should still be trying to win every game, complete every rep, and leave your all on the field.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: How can high school athletes get on a coaches radar? Do you have any tips for them?
PM: “I think it is important to keep your grades up because more opportunities present themselves. Make sure you stay active in looking for camps to go to, but keep your goals realistic and attainable; it can be tempting to go to a large DI camp for the name of the school, but think about where you are in the process of being recruited.”
“This may not seem like a large part of the process, but being a good teammate and being recognized by your coaches as such can boost your perception as a player in the eyes of other coaches. I also think that you should n’t be afraid to reach out to coaches and ‘recruit them’. You are the main participant in your recruitment process and you should be able to pick what coaches are in it with you. Finally, social media is important to recruitment today, so make sure that you have a Twitter and be smart about what you post.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is your go-to meal before a game?
PM: “We usually get catering before games, but I want pasta with alfredo and marinara sauce with some grilled chicken. And NEVER forget the bread sticks.”
Makayla, LRT Sports: What is the funniest thing that happened to you on the field?
PM: “During study hall freshman year, my teammates and I played baseball with brooms and balled up paper. At some point, we started playing ‘Don’t Break the Bottle’ and started seeing how long a glass bottle could last without breaking. Of course, I was the one who broke it. Don’t try this at home.”
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