Ask a Coach Nina Klein, Associate Head Coach, Quinnipiac University

It has been a whirlwind three years for Nina Klein.

In 2017, she secured her third NCAA Division I National Championship trophy with the University of Connecticut Huskies and on top of a mountain of honors, was named the NFHCA/Zag Field Hockey Division I Scholar-Athlete of the Year. In 2018, Nina graduated from UConn and began her coaching career at Quinnipiac University. In 2019, she was named to USA Field Hockey’s National Development Squad and was promoted to associate head coach.

As a part of our Ask a Coach series, Nina agreed to sit down and answer your questions about goalkeeping, coaching, and balancing her dual careers.

Nina during opening line-ups at the NCAA Division I Championship tournament. Photo credit: Joshua Kisha

What do you look for in a goalkeeper?

I enjoy working with goalkeepers that can think critically about the game and are relentless in their effort to improve their fundamental skills, game sense, and knowledge. I look for goalkeepers who are engaged and ask intellectual questions during training sessions.

What do you think is essential to being a good goalkeeper?

Athleticism is a key attribute to being a good goalkeeper. In order to be successful and ensure longevity in this vigorous position, it is important for goalkeepers to incorporate fitness and strength training in their training regimen to improve overall outcomes on the pitch.

What is your top "in-the-cage" memory?

My top "in-the-cage" memory came into fruition during my red-shirt senior season when I made an unbelievable stroke save and won a penalty shootout in the 2017 NCAA tournament’s semi-final match versus the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

How do you balance a playing career with coaching?

Time management, open communication with my co-workers, and staying organized helps me to balance my coaching and playing career. I enjoy continuing to learn about the game through both lenses.

Nina poses in her USA Field Hockey uniform. Photo credit: Mark Palczewski

What was the biggest surprise once you made the transition from player to coach?

How exhausting preseason is for a coach...I thought it was exhausting as a student-athlete but being a coach during August is a whole different level of fatigue. Say hello to swollen feet and the sweatiest of days!

Thank you, Nina! And thanks to everyone who submitted a question!

Want more answers? Catch some advice from Charlotte Ambush director, Miki Osherow, University of North Carolina head coach, Karen Shelton, Trinity College assistant coach, Katie Kloeckener, and Shippensburg University head coach, Tara Zollinger!

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