COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - November 17, 2020 - When the women’s Junior High Performance teams returned home from California in February following training camps, none of the players or staff predicted that the teams would not see each other again in 2020. The U.S. U-16, Rise and U-21 Women's National Teams wrapped up a couple of weeks of highly productive training and competition against Canada at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. while the U.S. Women’s National Development Team had convened in Berkeley, Calif. for a 3-day long camp including games against University of California, Berkeley and the Olympic Club.
It was a sign of things to come when the U.S. U-21 Men’s National Team were forced to return home early from Buenos Aires, Argentina in the middle of a series against their hosts as the full extent of the disruption and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic became clearer.
With the remainder of the year’s in-person programming canceled, USA Field Hockey collaborated with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to deliver a bespoke online development opportunity for all 200 men’s and women’s Junior High Performance players. Junior High Performance University (JHPU), as it became known, was designed to provide players with expert insights from Olympic-level practitioners on areas such as nutrition, psychology, leadership and what it takes to succeed at senior international level.
“While we would much rather be able to train and compete together, the fact is that we have not been able to do that for 9 months now,” said Phil Edwards, USA Field Hockey’s Senior Manager of Coaching and Performance. “We cannot replace that, but we can add other elements to the program that will help players continue to grow. JHPU came together really well and I cannot thank John Crawley and his team at the USOPC along with Lauren, Pat and Andrew, enough for sharing their insights with the players.”
The inaugural “semester” of JHPU ran from October 13 to November 5, 2020 with two “classes” a week. Five of those classes were conducted by USOPC experts:
- Better: Foundations for Growing Exceptional Performance - John Crawley, USOPC’s High Performance Director of Team Sports
- Mindfulness: Attention is the Currency of Performance - Dr. Peter Haberl, Senior Sport Psychologist
- Sport Nutrition: Making Choices for Performance - Rachel Mack, Sport Dietitian
- Sleep Hygiene: Wake Up a Smarter, Stronger Version of Yourself - Dr. Lindsay Shaw, Senior Sports Psychophysiologist
- Performance Training for Field Hockey – Jared Siegmund, Strength & Conditioning Coach
In addition, USA Field Hockey legends Lauren Crandall and Pat Harris shared insights from their combined 429 caps of experience for the U.S Women’s and Men’s National Teams, respectively. Crandall, the USWNT captain at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games, presented on Leadership: Creating a Team of Leaderful People and Harris, a stalwart of the top domestic leagues across the Atlantic and current KHC Leuven, Belgium player, discussed the lessons he has learned from playing his trade in Europe.
Finally, in a class aimed at players on the men’s side, a number of current men’s Junior High Performance players joined Old Dominion University Head Coach Andrew Griffiths for a roundtable discussion on the topic of NCAA Practice Players.
After the success of the first “semester” Junior High Performance players can expect to be exposed to more Olympic-level insights from world-leading experts in the future.