USA Field Hockey Weekly Report - Week of May 2, 2011

May 03, 2011, 11:02 a.m. (ET)


USA Field Hockey Weekly Report-Week of May 2, 2011

A core reason for why we exist is to grow the sport at the grassroots level. One of the tools we have to accomplish this goal is the USA Field Hockey Equipment Grant Program. Katelyn Nerbonne of the USA Field Hockey staff reminded me of that fact yesterday. She said further: “The aim of the grant program is to assist in the development of new and existing field hockey grassroots programs by providing equipment. We are proud to be working in partnership with a number of core sponsors: Dita, CranBarry, 4U Field Hockey, and Penn Monto, who each year generously contribute product for distribution within the grant program. In addition, grant recipients also receive educational information about the technical and tactical sides of teaching the sport. Last year, the USA Field Hockey Grant Equipment awarded approximately 800 balls, 325 sticks, 400 pairs of shin guards, 550 mouth guards and 8 sets of goalie equipment to several different schools and club programs. The recipients used the equipment for start-up programs, mainly in areas that historically have not had field hockey.”

Here is one of last year’s recipient school’s testimonial:

“In addition to exposing the game to approximately 200 students during classes, the after school intramural program was able to reach out to an additional  10 students…Central Middle School is honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the USA Field Hockey Grant and hope that we can continue to expose the students in our area of Florida to the game.”

So Katelyn’s  pitch is particularly aimed at those in their twenties that have had such a wonderful experience in hockey.  As you leave college and move into the workforce there is the danger of you leaving hockey. This is a great opportunity to give back; start a field hockey program in your area; give new hockey players the chance to enjoy the rich experience that our sport offers; and it can all start by applying for a grant.

If you’re interested in starting a club or school program click here to apply for the USA Field Hockey Grant Program. The deadline is May 16, 2011; applicants will be notified of the grant decisions by June 16, 2011 after which equipment will be distributed to successful grant applicants. If you have questions, please email Katelyn Nerbonne at

Within the sport’s world is the very significant Sports Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), a huge trade association representing all sorts of sport manufacturing groups. The SGMA regularly embarks on numerous surveys and is the group that can accurately reflect, no matter the sport, how many participants are engaged in the particular sport within the United States. We use much of their statistical work as we develop sponsor decks to develop new sponsor-partners into our national governing body (NGB). All of the Olympic sports NGBs are highly reliant on SGMA statistical information. So, with that entre, I found the following piece from the SGMA to be particularly interesting as it delved into the importance of social networking (you know…Facebook, Twitter, You-Tube, Texting) in participation in sport.

SGMA Survey Says ‘Social Networking’ Has Significant Impact on Sports Participation

‘Generation Y’ Is Most Active Part of Population

SILVER SPRING, MD – April 15, 2011 – ‘Social networking’ is having a major impact on sports participation patterns in the U.S. – particularly for those aged 12 to 30 (‘Generation Y’).   According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s (SGMA) Sports & Fitness Participation Topline Report (2011 edition), the approach of ‘Generation Y’ toward athletic activity and exercise is changing because of the influences of Twitter, Texting, Facebook, and YouTube.

The True Impact of ‘Generation Y’

In all areas of exercise, those who are ‘Generation Y’ (born between 1980 and 1999) outnumber both the ‘Baby Boomers’ (born between 1945 and 1964) and ‘Generation X’ (born between 1965 and 1979) in every area of sports participation – individual sports, racquet sports, team sports, outdoor sports, winter sports, water sports, and fitness sports.  The most popular category for ‘Generation Y’ is fitness sports where 51.3 million of them are engaged in some type of fitness-oriented pursuit.  Those in the ‘Generation Y’ segment of the population have the strongest ‘social’ mindset which is influencing what they do with their free time.  As a result of their strong ‘social’ attitudes, the ‘Generation Y’ portion of the population is strongly gravitating toward group exercise.   

“The ‘social’ mindset of ‘Generation Y’ is the reason why health club memberships are picking up and group-oriented exercise classes are gaining in popularity.  ‘Generation Y’ enjoys working out and exercising with friends, whereas ‘Generation X’ has been focused more on individual pursuits,” said SGMA President/CEO Tom Cove.  “For ‘Generation Y,’ it’s as much about the socialization as it is the perspiration.”

Team Sports News

In team sports, there is good news to report.  Many traditional endeavors such as outdoor soccer, indoor soccer, tackle football, baseball, basketball, cheerleading, and court volleyball have experienced small degrees of growth in ‘overall’ participation since 2009 – reversing a recent trend in the other direction.  The other good news on team sports is that ‘overall’ participation in some ‘niche’ team sports activities has showcased dramatic increases since 2009, such as rugby – up 50.7%, lacrosse – up 37.7%, field hockey – up 21.8%, and beach volleyball – up 12.3%.  After analyzing team sports participation patterns at the ‘core’ level, four team sports have had double-digit percentage increases in participation since 2009.  They are lacrosse (13+ times/year….up 33.1%), rugby (8+ times/year….. up 20.3%), ultimate frisbee (13+ times/year….up 19.2%), and beach volleyball (13+ times/year…..up 18.9%).

This is all good news and verifies why we are investing a fair amount of time in focusing in social networks…especially Facebook, Twitter. 

The Women's National Team just wrapped up a five game series with Japan in Chula Vista, CA. The USA won 2 , lost 2 and tied 1. Japan will be our top competition at the Champions Challenge in June in Dublin, Ireland and the winner will move on to the 2012 Champions Trophy. The Champions Trophy is the place to be in international hockey, as it includes the world's top eight teams and the main prize is coveted world ranking points. 

The Junior Women's National Teams have also been busy this month. The U17's were in the hockey-mecca Holland and the U19's were in Chile. Both Teams played some great hockey and probably had a bit of fun as well! Thanks to all of the players, their parents and, of course, the coaches (Shellie Onstead, Char Morett, Pam Stuper, Pam Bustin, Carla Tagliente, Kristen Holmes-Winn) and their staffs for providing an amazing experience for our future Rio 2016 Olympians. I heard that the Juniors were pretty psyched to put on the red, white and blue for the first time - cool stuff!

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
: “The price of coffee has hit a 34-year high. Except at Starbucks, where coffee has always been at a 34-year high.”

Have a great week! 

Steve Locke

USA Field Hockey

Executive Director