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May the (Philly) Force Be with You: 9 Q’s with Midfielder Molly Hendrick
UNC Tar Heels alum and Philadelphia Force midfielder Molly Hendrick is winning at life right now. As a member of the first women's pro lacrosse league in the U.S., she's helping to shape the future of the game for women. She's also giving back and mentoring young players as an assistant coach for Ohio State's women's lacrosse team.
In between college, going pro, and coaching, Molly also took some time to intern with STX. Now, she’s on the other side of the table as a player and official member of Team STX! Below, Molly dishes on the transition from college to pro, what makes a great teammate, and the future of UWLX (plus a few behind-the-scenes tidbits from her time at STX!).
You just graduated from UNC and now you’re playing for the Philly Force! What’s been the biggest difference in transitioning from college ball to pro ball?
It's really amazing to have the opportunity to continue to play at a high-level. Three years ago, pro lacrosse for women wasn't even a thing, so I'm super proud and excited to have this opportunity! I think any transition has its challenges, but that's what keeps it fresh and interesting.
Leaving college is a huge transition in itself. Not having your roommates and friends around you all the time feels so crazy! But I think the biggest thing in terms of the game is learning to play with new people and playing styles. You get to know your teammates in college so well - you’re playing and traveling together for four years – you get into a real rhythm. With the Force, I’m playing alongside people who I’ve only been with for a couple of months. We have to be more intentional about our communication, how we run plays, etc. At the same time, it's really cool to get to play with people who you've played against for so long. It's a great way to challenge and grow your own skill set!
You played basketball and volleyball in high school – do those skills and experiences figure into your lacrosse game?
For sure! Basketball got me moving and thinking fast. Volleyball was big for hand-eye coordination. And both helped me stay in shape during the offseason. Plus, I just love being in the game - I get bored if I'm not playing.
At a high-level, I think playing across multiple sports elevates any athlete in terms of game IQ and athleticism. It helps set you apart from the crowd. Any player at the top is going to have a good shot or solid defense skills, but being a dynamic player with good instincts – that helps you stand out.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you wall ball?
Mmm...13? I will wall ball anywhere, anytime. It's a staple in my practice cause it helps keep my stick work sharp.
I also LOVE scoring goals, so I focus a lot on shooting drills. One of my more recent areas of focus is in-tight shooting – for that, I get a bunch of balls and work on my fakes around the crease.
We loved having you intern at STX – you brought a really unique player's perspective! Can you share a little about your experience?
Yeah, it was amazing! I worked in the marketing department, and I learned so much about the business side of the game and connecting with players to identify their needs and fill them.
Some places, you go to work and it’s alright, but there’s no vision or passion behind what you’re doing. With STX, the vision is to make the sport of lacrosse more accessible – grow the game, increase visibility, give young athletes the opportunity to play, etc. It was awesome showing up to work every day with that vision in mind!
Any behind-the-scenes tidbits you can share?
People don’t necessarily realize it, but STX is actually a family-owned business and that definitely translates to the work culture. Every day, lunch is served upstairs and all the employees eat together. This helped me connect with my colleagues on a personal level and gave us the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another!
I also got to try out new, never-before-seen products and give my feedback. STX is serious about making top-notch products that equip athletes to play to their highest potential. I love that athletes are looped into the design process to give first-hand feedback.
The UWLX gave women the opportunity to play pro lacrosse for the first time ever in U.S. history – what’s it like to be in on the ground floor of such a major breakthrough for the sport?
I love that the UWLX has made pro lacrosse accessible for women and it’s such an honor to get to be a part of that movement. Before UWLX, you graduated college and that was it – maybe you played club and if you were lucky you made the national team – but there was no opportunity to play professionally.
I think that the future is bright for the UWLX and we will continue to see growth for women in the sport – the UWLX partnership with 3D Lacrosse is taking the league to the next level and the talent we are seeing is unmatched!
What’s the best advice you’ve received from one of your lacrosse mentors?
Always be the best teammate you can be. Because people won’t remember how many points you scored or how you approached each specific play, but they will remember how you made them feel and how much you cared.
What makes a great teammate?
Putting others before yourself. Sometimes, off-the-field chemistry gets overlooked, but I think it’s equally – if not more – important than drills or regular practices. Before things can reach their full potential on the field, it’s absolutely key to have strong relationships that are built on mutual trust and support.
If you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Michael Jordan because he is my favorite athlete (GOAT) and he has his own apparel line. That’s when you know you’ve made it…
How is the UWLX working to grow the sport for women? Three years after the start of the groundbreaking league, we reflect on its impact.