Making it Work
In March 2020, we had to to stop our practices in due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With state and health guidelines urging people to stay home, we had to adapt the way we held our practices as a team, and worked on our fitness and skills. This time has been extremely valuable to go over field hockey concepts and watch film, and we believe that it will benefit all our players when we get back onto the field and get back to competing.
Skills and Workout Packet
The coaches put together a workout packet with a variety of core and cardio workouts that players can do in their own time that do not require a lot of equipment. Coach Kita, a personal trainer, focused on core activities that are beneficial to field hockey players and injury prevention, and gave options for high intensity training workouts that will build their stamina and endurance. In addition, the coaches put together a variety of stick skills videos and shared relevant resources that players can use to work on their field hockey skills, including hand speed, 3D skills, fluidity of movement, and footwork, in a small space.
Although we have not been able to go out and practice on the field, we have been lucky to use this time to work on theory and our knowledge of the game. Each week our teams have had two virtual practices that have covered a range of topics, which we then watch or evaluate by watching film of our tournaments, as well as college and international games.
The topics covered this spring are the following:
- Decision-making – How and why we make decisions and how we can strengthen our ability to make good decisions quickly
- Outletting and ball movement – Looking at different formations out of the backfield, finding the space and passing lanes, advanced college-level ball movement concepts with midfielders and forwards, and creating our own animated ball movements using a virtual tactical board.
- Defensive structures/the press – Looked at our press as a team and also learned about different types of presses and how to execute them as a team but also how to play against them.
- Corners – Learned rules about corners, looked at types of defensive formations used for corners and the attacking corner options that work best against those formations, and how to modify your defensive corner formation or attacking corner options based on the strengths of your opponent.
Our virtual practices also feature guest speakers, and so far have included all our current DI, DII, and DIII college players, and will feature other experienced and/or professional athletes .
Our coaches also organized team workouts through Zoom, which primarily focused on the resistance band exercises we started in the fall. Coach Karen, who works in a physical therapy office, has been working with the girls on injury prevention, strengthening of muscles and correcting form through resistance band exercises. The 60-minute band exercises are open to all players on our club teams. In June, Coach Karen also added some light weights to the workouts.
To help keep all the players motivated and connected, we formed accountability groups that comprise of players from different age groups. This not only gives our players a chance to get to know each other and interact with players from our different teams, but it gives them an opportunity to share ideas and information with each other. The groups meet regularly, share workouts or skills exercises, and challenge each other. Thank you to all our group leaders for all your work this Spring.