The Total Field Hockey Camp run by Lafayette head coach Jennifer Stone is giving high school athletes and rising college freshman a peek at training at the division one level. Work starts early at the four day camp as these young athletes are exposed the rigors and mental training it takes to be an elite level field hockey player. Stone has assembled her own coaching staff, ex-national team members, along with stars from Lafayette College to give team and individualized instruction. They are showed the requirements needed to become better in their sport including weight training, nutrition, psychological tips, and intensive game experience between camp teams After the organized sessions there is a chance to play with the camp instructors.
The camp participants play everyday on the state of the art astroturf XII surface, that is the exclusive field for Lafayette’s field hockey team. Aside from the exposure to the athletic resources of the College, the camper lives in the college dorms and can sample campus life on this 230 acre private school on the banks of the Delaware River. The camp is also populated by many of Lafayette’s 2015 recruits, giving the coaches a peek at their level of fitness and a chance to sharpen their skills before reporting for the official opening of preseason on August 13. Enthusiasm was rampant as nearly 90 pct of the participants stayed later after 9 pm to play against the staff on their own. In fact, my observation was that the intensity and spirit of these game was more intensive than the official sessions.
It is not surprising that many of a school’s eventual recruits come from these camps, and I would speculate that this camp will be no exception. Personally, it was a chance for me see many of Lafayette’s new players in action. While the adjustment to the next level will not be without future hard work, I did see flashes of why these young athletes were selected to be Leopards this coming season. Samantha Broadhurst has a nose for the goal, Theresa Delahanty demonstrated good fitness, intensity and stick skills, Adriana Pero showed me her speed, athleticism,and hockey intelligence, Gabby Ulery has quick reactions and foot agility in the goal, and Liza Welch’s speed, athletic ability, and hockey skills demonstrated to me how her addition on the field will strengthen the Leopards this fall. In a conversation with two of Lafayette’s seniors, Captain Hannah Millen, and Kirby Szalkowski after the end of Saturday’s session, I asked what will these young players have to adjust to. The teammates both opined, the speed of the game is so much higher in college which will require fitness and quick decision making in order to be successful.( Later on this week I will publish a more extensive interview with Hannah and Kirby). There is only one month before pre-season camp opens. After summer preparation is over, the Leopards will begin preparation for their first game with Ball State, and the championship season, but it is these efforts this summer that will spell success in the fall.