Coach Nikki Williams

Coach Nikki Williams

Season(s) Coaching the Divas: 2012-2016
Wide Receivers Coach – 2012-2016

Playing Experience:
D.C. Divas, 2001-2009, 2011-2012, 2014

Coach Nikki Williams Q&A

Why did you decide to get into coaching after your playing career was over?
It’s always hard to walk away from the playing side of it. But I felt like I still had something to offer. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to come back and still be a part of what I feel is an awesome organization, coaching and working with the position I’m familiar with and played for many years.

One thing I didn’t want to do was come back and just be a statue, someone who stood around and wasn’t really allowed to be a coach or have any say in what goes on in practice or on game day. When I was hired, Coach Fischer said all along that her coaches would have an opportunity to not just to be a coach in name but to actually put what we practice into play. That made me feel good about coming out here to coach. I knew I wouldn’t feel like I was wasting my time, just standing around and watching. I knew I was going to have an opportunity to actually share what I have learned over the years and give back. I owe a lot to the people in front of me who guided me and coached me and helped me to become a better player, so I felt like I was in a position where I could do the same for others.

What has been your biggest adjustment from playing women’s football to coaching it?
When you become a coach, you have to kind of wear a different hat, in a sense. A lot of things that you did or said as a player you can’t do or say as a coach if you want your players to believe in what you’re teaching. You kind of have to take a step back sometimes.

I also think that while we tell our players that they have to have thick skin and be able to take constructive criticism, as a coach, you have to be able to deliver the message in a way that is not hardening to the player. Everybody’s different; everybody can’t be coached the same. You have to get to know the people that you’re coaching. That’s something you kind of have to learn as you go.

How has your background as a women’s football player helped you as a coach?
It helps, obviously, that they know I played and that I excelled in the position, because I come with some credibility, which is good. You’re able to take your experiences and share them with players; if you’ve been in their situation before, you can give them some insight as to the best way to deal with whatever they’re facing. It certainly helps to have played wide receiver before as opposed to just coming in as a coach and not really having played the position. You may have knowledge of the position, but I think it’s really a plus that I have played wide receiver before and specifically for this team.

What is your overall coaching philosophy? How would you like your players to play the game?
First and foremost, my coaching philosophy is just to get my players to be good citizens and to display good sportsmanship, to play within the rules of the game. The most important thing is just to be a good person. We always, always preach, “Don’t embarrass yourself, don’t embarrass the team, and don’t embarrass the organization.” I also always tell the players I’m coaching, “You girls are the best of the best. You know that, and the people that play against you know that. They’ve seen it for themselves. So let your pads do your talking.”

On the field, my advice is to play hard and play fierce…give 110 percent whether you’re doing great or not. For the most part, our girls have done that. They’ve always given us all they’ve got, and that’s all we’ve ever asked of them.