USA Field Hockey

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report

Aug. 19, 2014, 2:50 p.m. (ET)

USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of August 18, 2014

NCAA Rulings Create an Uncertain Future
To say the future is uncertain is a certainty. With what we all are hearing, college football and perhaps even collegiate basketball are sports in some turmoil over their collective futures. What does this all mean; what does it mean to the college sport programs that some people categorize as "minor"; what does it mean for college field hockey? Perhaps nothing; perhaps everything. No one is certain. What is certain is that we need some objective viewing into our crystal balls to proactively prepare for the future, for whatever the future brings. Will the future mean status quo for the many programs found in DI, II and III schools and others? Maybe. But, what if it doesn't. What if some of the athletic financial streams in college institutions begin to dry up. What then?

Title IX, a U.S. Congressional Act, was enacted in 1972 and since that time, the central interest within the sport of field hockey has been a focus on young women playing with an end goal of the possibility of achieving a college athletic scholarship. As the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport, we have been intimately engaged in this focus with the result that much of our programming is for development and selection, but equally serves for showcasing. The unfortunate aspect of that is that we have become a sort of a one trick pony even though we do quite a bit of other programmatic offerings. These other programs (that are equally important as showcasing), such as our high performance efforts (i.e. International, World Cup and Olympic teams) do not produce revenue, they spend it. The high performance teams are a fundamental part of our mission as an NGB - to win internationally. Other programming is centered around development and those programs are as important (e.g.  FUNdamental Field Hockey, You Go Girl, and others), but they also do not develop revenue streams. They are the other strand of our mission to grow the game and are important to drive participants and a long term future for our game.

To be successful in our mission - to win internationally and to grow the game - takes a lot of hard work and there is no denying it, a good chunk of financial resources. We operate in an intensely competitive world both on the international playing field and in convincing folks young and old to play our sport, coach our sport and officiate our sport. There is no sugar daddy funding us, there is no government funding, we must generate surpluses from parts of our programming that we can invest into other parts of our programming. The more we can generate and spend wisely, the more successful we will be in achieving our mission.

Our events, principally designed to provide a national platform for competitive hockey, innately serve as college recruiting showcase events. They together with Futures are our revenue programs, with a good assist coming from membership and sponsorship. So, what happens if college scholarship opportunities dry up, or are diminished? It is obvious to me that if our current structure remains status quo that we will need to fold our tent or substantially downsize. Every organization must, from time to time, recognize that things do not remain the same forever, and success demands that modification to approaches needs to occur.

So, that last paragraph is the real purpose of this topic. Over time, we have created a number of task forces that have dealt with specific topics. In the near term, we will ask for the collective input from some of our best and brightest hockey minds to brainstorm this issue so to report to our Board of Directors on how to diversify this organization and perhaps modify our current strategic plan. We need objective and big picture thinkers. If you think you might be in that category and the topic is of interest to you, I would like to hear from you. It is meant for universal thinkers. Are you universal? If so, please let me know if you are interested and why you would fit into a committee of thinking people willing to project healthy new diversity for this NGB. Contact me at slocke@usafieldhockey.com

Top World Players Assist Men’s National Team
During the last week, global standout and Australia hockey star Jamie Dwyer has been hanging out in Chula Vista, Calif. with the U.S. Men’s National Team, offering up his advice and expertise to the squad. Dwyer’s timing was perfect with the team coming off of successful series against Chile and Mexico. With the squad focusing on offensive attack as a key part of their game, Dwyer’s experience is a critical addition to the men’s training. Holland hockey guru and lethal corner specialist Taeke Taekema will be joining the squad as an assistant coach for their Argentina series, which begins on August 23. Find out more about Dwyer and Taekema’s impressive skill sets, and just how they are working to improve the men, here.

College Headquarters
Looking to keep up with all of your favorite Division I, II and III teams during the college season? No worries! NCAA and USA Field Hockey have paired together to create a one-stop shop College Headquarters to track matches and rankings throughout the fall. Never miss out on a second of the excitement by clicking here!

Teamwork Transcends the Years
A demonstration of love and teamwork was shown on Saturday, August 9th as 21 teammates and coaches from the 1994 World Cup Bronze Medal team and 1996 Atlanta Olympics gathered to support former Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Martin in his battle with cancer. Within a four week planning period, 21 teammates and coaches from 14 different states showed up on “Coach’s" doorstep in Willington, Conn., many of whom had not seen each other for nearly two decades. The cover picture of this report depicts a who’s who in the current and former collegiate coaching realm as well as teammates who traveled as far as California, Florida and Georgia. This was an impressive testament of how team relationships can stand the test of time!  

Coach Martin, thank you for your service to USA Field Hockey and all of the athletes you have touched during your years at the University of Connecticut. Sending you positive energy from the entire field hockey community. Get well soon!

Register for a Futures Trial today!
Registration for 2015 Futures Trials is officially open for all athletes who did not participate in last year’s Futures program! The Futures program is the beginning of the Olympic pipeline and all of our current U.S. Women’s National Team members began their journey with Futures. For more information about the program and trials, click here.

Celebrate National Field Hockey Day
The third annual National Field Hockey Day is rapidly approaching on Saturday, September 13th! National Field Hockey Day, created to inspire participation and increase awareness of the sport, invites coaches, umpires, athletes, parents and fans to celebrate our sport in their communities. For more information on how you can get involved, click here.

Late Show with David Letterman: “David Gregory, host of Meet the Press, is being replaced by a guy named Chuck Todd, which indicates to me that in order to host that program you have to have two first names.”

Have a great week!!

Steven Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey

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