USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of April 4, 2011

April 05, 2011, 10:44 a.m. (ET)
USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of April 4, 2011  

Glad to see April arrive.
I hope spring does as well.

766 Thank yous! We have just completed our post-event online survey of the USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournaments held last month in Virginia and all of us would like to extend a big thank you to the 766 athletes, parents, coaches and umpires who took the time to give us feedback on all aspects of their experience. We are committed to evaluating each event with the goal of taking actions on the key issues to make each event better in what we sum up in one word: to make all USA Field Hockey events ‘Premium’.

While we received many compliments on many aspects of the events, there were some areas that clearly need improvement. The core concerns related to the quality of the sport court surface and the boards; the parking in Richmond; and, generally, the level of officiating.

We are immediately taking the following steps: we have agreed to put more resource around cleaning and maintaining the playing surface before and during the event (and incidentally to maximize the size of the courts within the confines of the facility); we have begun the process of sourcing new boards to replace those that are below standard; and we have scheduled a meeting with decision makers in Richmond to explore how we can improve parking  arrangements for event participants. With regard to officiating, this is sport, and the brave souls who put themselves out as officials are always going to be the subject of criticism, however, we recognize the need to continue to provide tools to officials to help them improve their performance. In February we appointed our first Umpire Manager on staff, Steve Horgan. In short, his task is to improve the standard of officiating and we are confident that this process is underway and we will show continual improvements.  

Those were the highlights of the key  findings and outcomes, but there were a number of other more minor areas that we will also address. The survey along with personal meetings with our customers is a healthy process that will help guide us to put on ever better and more ‘Premium’ events.

To put the online survey into context, it is just part of a broader commitment for us to work to be responsive to members’ needs. As part of our Strategic Plan, we are committed to providing a better platform for clubs to grow, and athletes to have more and higher quality playing experiences. So far this year, we have held over 49 one-on-one meetings with club administrators; made staff available to meet with club staff during events; held group discussions; and undertaken an anonymous online survey to all member clubs. The next step, as we move to act on some of the common themes of this research, is to work with a representative group of club administrators who can provide diverse advice. We will do this through the establishment of a USA Field Hockey Member Club Task Force. The task force will be assembled as described within USA Field Hockey by-laws and will represent the spectrum of clubs and geographic regions.

The grand total of our member clubs cover a wide range of capability and distinct abilities. Some clubs are sophisticated for-profit organizations; others are not for profit groups; many others are less formal groups that come together to practice and play; and there is also a group of clubs that purposely form for the sole purpose of taking a team to USA Field Hockey's National Hockey Festival. Each type of club has its own dimension and reason for being. And, they are all legitimate USA Field Hockey clubs.

Within our by-laws are sections dealing with the establishment of task forces. They are to be ad hoc groups with narrow tasks. Below we have assembled a description of the member club task force.

USA Field Hockey Member Club Advisory Task Force Guideline
In any corporation, there are processes identified within its organic documents that determine procedures. USA Field Hockey operates under a set of by-laws that is in compliance with United States Olympic Committee membership requirements and to provide order in its day to day business.


USA Field Hockey governance provides for several standing committees (e.g. Finance and Audit, Nominations, Judiciary, Advancement, Member Services, and Ethics) which have ongoing duties. Most non-profits are structured in such a manner with standing committees to provide efficiencies in governance. However from time to time, specific issues will arise that require the establishment of ad hoc advisory task forces. Advisory Task Forces are provided with specific tasks. Once complete, the advisory task force is disbanded. Below is a set of guidelines based upon USA Field Hockey by-laws for the establishment of a task force, in this case a USA Field Hockey Member Club Advisory Task Force:

In accordance with Article 10 – Committees, 10.1 Designations, 10.1.2 Advisory Task Forces or Committees. The Board or Executive Director shall appoint such advisory task forces or committees, other than those set forth in Section 10.1.3, as the Board or Executive Director believe appropriate, and shall define narrowly the mission and deliverables of such task forces or committees. The decision to appoint or not appoint and to terminate such a task force or committee shall be exclusively the Board’s or the Executive Director’s. They (the task force) shall serve until their final report is submitted to the Board of Directors or until termination of their duties by the Board.

The mission and deliverables of the Member Club Advisory Task Force shall be to (i) provide advice on the operation of the 2012 USA Field Hockey National Club Championship qualifying system; (ii) provide advice on upgrading the USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournaments, their qualifying events, and the process to qualify so to achieve fairness and a premium level; and (iii) provide advice on creating a system to eliminate or modify the legacy system applicable to USA Field Hockey’s National Hockey Festival.

In order to be recognized as a USA Field Hockey Member Club to participate on the Task Force the following criteria must be met:

  • Member Club Advisory Task Force will be made up of 7 – 9 members from the USA Field Hockey club member constituency, plus two members of the USAFH Board of Directors, and staff members Laura Darling, USAFH Managing Director of Olympic and Athlete Development, and Steve Locke, USAFH executive director.  All Member Club Advisory Task Force members from the club constituency must be USA Field Hockey members and have a club affiliation.
  •  Only club members, preferably the owner or designated administrator, can represent clubs and serve as a member of the Member Club Advisory Task Force.
  • Members of the Member Club Advisory Task Force must represent the scope of all USA Field Hockey member clubs, taking into consideration for-profit, non-profit, local clubs, small clubs, large clubs and regional representation. A club must have at a minimum a membership base of ten members.
  • A club can only have one representative on the Member Club Advisory Task Force.
  • The Member Club Advisory Task Force must designate one member as the official spokesperson.
  • The Member Club Task Force roster member nominees will be submitted to the Executive Director (through USA Field Hockey's Laura Darling) to ensure they comply with the guidelines set forth. 

So, why do I bring this to your attention? We are seeking a diverse club group to participate on this task force. The weekly report is being used because we think clubs are so important to our sport’s growth, and it reaches out to our entire membership. If you have an interest and you feel that you fulfill the requirements as identified above please submit your name along with club ownership/principal affiliation to Laura Darling at

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: ‘A new survey found that 55 percent of men expect to pay on the first date. While the other 45 percent have never been on a second date.’

Have a great week!

Steve Locke

Executive Director

USA Field Hockey