Category Archives: Field Hockey

From HS to college and college to the national team – transitions in the game

Field hockey, no matter the level, is such a skilled game that is always changing and evolving. I think that is what initially attracted me to the sport. I see it as a cross between Ice Hockey and Soccer, two sports that I had grown up watching and playing almost all my life. When I started playing in 7th grade for my mom’s club team “Chix With Stix Field Hockey” I focused less on trying to push myself to be better and more on just being in the moment and having fun with my friends. I didn’t really understand that there was a possibility I could play in college or beyond, I always strictly thought about playing Ice Hockey.

Joining the Duxbury High School varsity field hockey team as a freshman, I remember being completely shocked by the speed and the skill that some of my upperclassmen possessed. We had a couple girls committed to top tier Division I and Division III programs. A couple of the girls also played for my club team, HTC Field Hockey, so as a group, we would do private lessons together with my club coach. I was in awe of these players, watching them use 3D skills to beat a defender and then line up for a reverse chip with such ease. My edgy, but at the time of my freshman season, one dimensional game had been completely shaken up. For me, seeing what it took to play in college was slightly daunting, but a challenge I was more than willing to accept.

USA Field Hockey Team in Action

Throughout my four years in high school, I absorbed all the skills I could possibly take in, watching hours and hours of international game footage. I spent long days with my club coaches, trying to turn my one dimensional game into a three dimensional, dynamic, tactical and aggressive game that would allow me to succeed in college. I began my journey, committing to Boston University and then joining the squad one year later. Despite my hard work and thorough preparation, I quickly realized that no matter what, you will never truly understand the game and be able to adapt to it until you’re stuck in the middle of it.

The pace is faster. The players are bigger and stronger. Everyone possesses the same skills and game sense that you do, but now they can execute these skills perfectly all while running at their top speed. I remember sitting at the field asking myself “how do you set yourself apart?” For me this was a huge lesson that I would have to learn, not only for college but for playing at the next level on the US Women’s National Team. Tactically, I had to understand every press that we would use, how to set up in different situations based on what I saw in front of me and so much more. I learned that fitness, strength, nutrition and sleep were just as important as understanding a skill or what was happening on the field. I quickly began to understand that flexibility with what my coaches needed from me was key. My freshman season I was forward, but after that year we needed a center back, so my role changed. I had to learn a whole new skills set to be ready for the following season, and that’s what I did. Throughout my college career, I learned that the tangibles were important, but the intangibles, like being coachable and open to new opportunities in front of you, was equally if not more important.

My U.S. and college careers have largely been intertwined, as I joined the U.S. Development Squad during the summer going into my junior season at Boston University. Joining the Development squad and eventually, the Women’s National Team showed me just how competitive field hockey can be. Each player is different and brings their own spin and style to the game, but despite this we are essentially the same. We have been the best players on every team we have ever played on, dominating in college and beyond. Nevertheless, the game continues to become faster. Every country we play against on the international stage has a different style of play, which can include a different pressing style, a structure that allows them to play through the midfield or down the sideline. Maybe they constantly use aerials to get the ball down the field, or maybe not. Each country brings something different and new to the table, and we always need to be ready for it. The U.S. plays a fast, forward game that is very aggressive with major emphasis on having a front foot mentality. We will fight tooth and nail to win the ball and get it in the cage. It’s a style that is unique to the U.S. and truly gives us an edge.

It is amazing to see the evolution of the game over time. In the beginning, you see it as very one dimensional. I focused on having fun with my friends and learning something new. As I understood more about the game and my love grew, my game also grew becoming more three dimensional with added variables that pushed me to become the player I am today. I am still growing and changing with the times because even today the game has not stopped growing. To continue to compete at such a high level, you must change and evolve with it, being open to new tactical or technical skills that might come along. As I said before, the task might be daunting but believe me, looking back it will be one of the greatest journeys of your life. For me, I will always be proud of the moment I picked up a stick and said “bring it on”.

AllyHammel #21
USA Field Hockey Defender
GryphonTaboo Blue Steel Pro

AllyHammel #21
USA Field Hockey Defender
GryphonTaboo Blue Steel Pro

Field Hockey Stick Bow Shapes

Selecting a New Stick for High School Field Hockey

Selecting a new field hockey stick is a decision driven by personal preferences. It’s much more than graphics and position, it really comes down to your personal playing style. Think about what skills you perform on a regular basis- do you need more power? High carbon content contributes to high power in hits, but can also make receiving more challenging. If control is more your focus, you will want something with a little less carbon. Players need to find the right balance of power and feel to best suit their game. If you are typically a fall-season field hockey player, we usually suggest an advanced stick which range from about 30-60% carbon. If you also play club field hockey year round, you may want to consider an elite stick which are usually around 70-100% carbon.

Field Hockey Stick Materials

Similarly, you will also need to find the best shape that suits your playing style. All sticks have a bow to them, and the location of the highest point of that bow along the stick can have different advantages and disadvantages in the game. When first learning the game, most players will start with a regular bow, which has the highest point placed in the midsection or center of the shaft equally assisting every skill in the game. The most common shape in the modern game of field hockey is the late bow, which has the highest point closer to the toe of the stick. This shape offers extra assistance with lifting the ball, aerials, and dynamic ball movement, without sacrificing your hitting technique. An extreme late bow has the highest point as close to the toe as possible, maximizing 3D skills and dynamic ball control. This extreme shape may take some time getting used to when driving.

Field Hockey Stick Bow Shapes

Ready to pick out your next stick? Look at your current stick first. We usually suggest going up in carbon content about 30-50%. This will give you a nice increase in power without losing too much control all at once. So for example, if you are looking for a step up from your middle school stick and it was 10% carbon, you’d want to look for a stick that was around 40-60% carbon. If you are ready to move up from your first high school stick and it was 30% carbon, you will want to look at something that is 60-80% carbon. Once you decide what carbon range you are looking for, you can start looking at shape. If you are an all-around player who likes to do a lot of hits/slaps, you will probably want a late bow shape. If you are the type of player that likes to do a lot of aerials, 3D skills, and dynamic ball movement, you may want to get an extreme late bow shape.

Still have some questions? We know all of the details can be pretty confusing. You can always reach out to one of our Longstreth Experts for help with selecting the perfect stick for you! We’re always here and happy to help- this is what we do!

#weAREfieldhockey #ChooseTheBest

Longstreth Sporting Goods Hires Jana Withrow as Director of Field Hockey

Jana Withrow’s years of dedication, passion and proven commitment to the game of field hockey will strengthen Longstreth’s team.

Longstreth Sporting Goods is extremely pleased to announce Jana Withrow will be returning as Director of Field Hockey. She will lead the field hockey team with a focus on Longstreth’s sales efforts, and will coordinate equipment and uniform/apparel product offerings to build a cohesive experience for our college, team, and club customers. Longstreth co-owner John Schaefer says, “We are very happy that Jana is returning to Longstreth to lead our Hockey team, and believe that she and Alli Lokey together will offer the best customer service available by combining true hockey expertise with our great selection of hockey products, including from our core brands TK, Gryphon and Ritual.”

Jana has an extensive hockey background as a top-level goalie and coach. She was an All-American and National Champion at the University of North Carolina. After college, Jana earned a goalkeeper position on the USA Women’s National Team – where she was a member of the team during the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Olympic Qualifier games. Keeping her hand in the game, she spent a few years coaching at the University of North Carolina and became head coach of Columbia University in 2009. She joined Longstreth Sporting Goods in 2010 as Field Hockey Manager where she managed our hockey business to develop the best equipment and bring it to the U.S. market. Jana has spent the last six years managing hockey sales for Harrow Sports.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Longstreth team,” states Withrow. “I share their values, their focus on innovative products and passion for the game.  With my knowledge of the marketplace, and Longstreth’s history in women’s sports, I know we can offer customers a great experience.”

Jana_Headshot

Longstreth Sporting Goods has been dedicated for more than 40 years to encouraging and developing women’s sports.  While specializing in Field Hockey, Lacrosse, and Fastpitch Softball, Longstreth can also outfit almost any team or athlete.  Located approximately 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia, PA, Longstreth provides teams across the United States with the best equipment, uniforms/teamwear and footwear. Visit www.longstreth.com to see the full selection of products.

Julia Young USA Field Hockey Sponsored Player

Get to Know Longstreth Sponsored Field Hockey Player Julia Young

As female athletes, we all have a passion for our sport. Unfortunately, injuries are often part of the game. Longstreth Field Hockey recently sat down with USA National Team Defender, Julia Young to discuss her recent injury and recovery. Her positive attitude and mental strength are inspiring.

Julia Young USA Field Hockey Sponsored Player

Julia tore her ACL, medial meniscus, and sprained her MCL during the Pan American Cup last summer. She had ACL reconstruction surgery using a patellar tendon graft and a meniscus repair. Luckily, her MCL was able to heal on her own. Doctors think she’ll be able to be back on the field sometime in May.

“The hardest part of recovery so far was the first week,” Julia told us, “The pain was the worst I had ever felt and I honestly had no idea how I was going to get through it mentally.” The following month was frustrating, learning to navigate around on crutches and depending on others for help. “My recovery schedule is crazy – going to physical therapy 3 times a week and have at-home exercises. I also do upper body lifts 3 times a week and watch all the team practices.”

Team USA field hockey players and coaches have supported Julia throughout her challenging journey. They’ve continued to keep her involved. “The supportive team culture has helped me a lot getting through the mental challenges of this injury,” said Julia, “and makes me feel like I’m still out on the field with them every day.”

When faced with an injury that keeps you on the sideline for a while, it’s important to stay mentally tough. Julia suggests to give yourself time and don’t get discouraged if you are not healing as quickly as you’d hope. “Your body can do amazing things, but you have to give it time to heal,” advises Julia.

We asked Julia what she is most excited about once she is fully recovered. Julia says she can’t wait to get out on the field and be competitive again, and practice every day with her team mates. “You don’t realize how much you love to compete and play, until you can’t.” We wish Julia a quick, healthy recovery and can’t wait to see her playing field hockey again.

Longstreth Sporting Goods is proud to sponsor many of the U.S. Women’s National Team players. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.

Get to Know Longstreth Sponsored Field Hockey Player Ali Froede

Ali Froede, a Longstreth Sporting Goods sponsored player, recently did a Q&A session with us on her experience at FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Froede has been a member of the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team since 2015, where she plays defense. She attended Miami University of Ohio, and while there, was awarded First-Team All MAC twice, as well as NFHCA All-West Region Second Team in 2014.

Sponsored Field Hockey Player Ali Froede

First things first, we had to know what her top three favorite moments on the trip were in regards to hockey, and playing in the tournament. She replied that her favorite memory was, of course, winning! She elaborated and said, “This was the first time we have ever won a quarterfinal game – let alone make it to the finals and win.” Her second favorite moment was the thrill of her first major tournament. She said that South Africa was a lot of fun to play in, and that the environment itself was great. Lastly, she recalled that one day at practice two boys were standing at the fence watching them. She said that the team then invited them to play around, and also gave them USA pinnies and sticks, which the boys were super excited about.

We were also curious as to how the team moved past the losses to Argentina and South Africa. We wanted to know if it made things more difficult, or if it made them work even harder. Froede explained that losing to Argentina was not as bad as losing to South Africa. She gave her reasoning when she said, “One, they were the host nation so with that brought a huge supportive crowd that made themselves heard. Two, we felt that we could have definitely won that game, but let exterior factors inhibit us from playing our game – like the refs and the crowd.” In order for the team to get back on track, Froede said, “As a team, we came together and got back to our basics. We are constantly focused on ‘doing our jobs’ – a staple we often remind ourselves to do, and we started playing UN1TED, which ultimately started us in the direction of the finals.”

Many new players have been added to the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team, and we were curious how that affected their game. Froede said, “A focus of the tournament was learning how to play together with new faces. As one of the newer players, it was a great experience to play so many games and gain confidence in myself and my skills on the field.”

There are a bunch of neat things to see in South Africa, that you can’t typically see here, so we wanted to know what fun adventures the team went on while they were there. Froede said that on the last day they were in South Africa, they got to go to a lion park. “My favorite was playing [with] and petting the baby lions!” said Froede. “They were so cute and fluffy, and it was amazing getting to touch an animal you normally don’t get to see that close! We also got to feed giraffes, see zebras, wild dogs, and wildebeests. It was a great way to end the trip.”

As the Pan American Cup approaches, we wanted to know what the team has learned from this experience in order to have further success in Pan Ams. Froede graciously responded, “We learned that we perform our best when we focus on our individual jobs, and play together and UN1TED. Going into the PAC we are going to take one game at a time and focus on our jobs for the moment.” Although playing in South Africa was fun, Froede is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the Pan Ams.

Longstreth Sporting Goods would like to congratulate the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team on their extraordinary win in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals, and wish them further success in the Pan American Cup. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.

Are Your Goggles Legal for the upcoming 2017-18 Season?

Field Hockey and Lacrosse Goggles

Rule changes regarding equipment are constantly fluctuating and the latest shift concerns goggles. As many of you know, goggles are a key piece of equipment that high school and middle school women’s field hockey and women’s lacrosse players are required to wear.

In order for wire goggles to be legal for women’s field hockey, they must have a wire bar that stretches vertically through the goggle. The comparison between women’s field hockey and women’s lacrosse goggles can be found below.

lacrosse goggles vs field hockey goggles

Notice that there is no veritcal bar running through the player’s vision in the lacrosse goggle. The reasoning behind the need for the vertical bar in field hockey is to prevent the toe of a stick from getting in the goggle. In lacrosse, this is not an issue, therefore they do not require the vertical wire piece.

Keep this rule of thumb in mind, you CAN wear your women’s field hockey goggles for lacrosse, but CANNOT wear your women’s lacrosse goggles for field hockey. So if you are a duel-sport athlete and want to invest in only one pair of goggles, your best bet would be to purchase women’s field hockey goggles.

Many players prefer Bangerz goggles. There are two styles of Bangerz goggles that can be used for both women’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey. These are the Bangerz Elite Goggle and the Bangerz Sleek Fitting Youth Eyeguard. Unfortunately, the Bangerz Sunglasses Eye Protection is no longer legal for women’s field hockey. However, they are legal for women’s lacrosse.

If you’re wondering are your current field hockey goggles are legal, or you are just in search of a new pair, feel free to contact Longstreth Sporting Good’s Retail Store or Customer Service with any questions you may have. Visit our Ask the Experts page to forward us any of your sports related questions. We are here to help!

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Introducing Nedstar [video]

 

Introducing Nedstar a Lonstreth exclusive field hockey brand!

Video Transcript: Hi, I’m Maggie and today we’ll be talking about Nedstar.

Longstreth is proud to add Nedstar Field Hockey to our exclusive line of products. Nedstar sticks represent quality and innovation. They transfer their love of the game into high-quality sticks. The colorful, well-designed sticks offer a variety of composition and bow types. These sticks are perfect for the advanced and elite players.

To become a part of the Never Ending Dream, stop by our retail store to try your new NedStar stick, today!

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks: https://www.longstreth.com/Nedstar-Sticks/products/2498/
All Field Hockey Sticks: https://www.longstreth.com/field-hockey-sticks.asp

Related Article:

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks – New to the Longstreth Line

Nedstar Field Hockey Sticks

Nedstar is an Irish field hockey company that has been on the market for only a few years. Their passion and energy match Longstreth’s commitment to the game – making Nedstar a good fit for Longstreth’s exclusive line of field hockey sticks.

Nedstar creates field hockey sticks of the highest design and innovation. They represent quality, affordability, and colorfulness. USA Women’s National Team player, Katelyn Falgowski Ginolfi plays with the Nedstar Superfly. This powerhouse stick is light to the touch, with a late bow and solid composition for the elite player.

Longstreth is the exclusive U.S. dealer for the Nedstar field hockey sticks. Check out the Nedstar Dream Limited Edition, a drag flicking specialist stick which also caters to dynamic ball movement all over the field.  The Nedstar Superfly is a popular choice for the dynamic player who requires quick ball handling as well as maximum power. The Nedstar Groove G2 is a powerful stick with a grooved channel, which allows effortless transition between the ball on the turf and aerial skills. The line is rounded out with the Nedstar Low Bow 2 which has the versatility to balance power and skill.

Visit Longstreth.com to view each stick’s composition, bow, and target weight. If you have any field hockey questions, ask our field hockey experts – they’re always here to help you select the perfect field hockey stick.

Field Hockey Goalkeeping Essentials List

As a field hockey goalkeeper, you are the last defense against the opposing team. You need the right field hockey equipment to protect yourself and the goal. Your team relies on your skill and performance to give them the chance to make their goals count. Even better, the thrill of recording a shutout performance awaits you if you can combine your practice and skills with the equipment that works best for you. Here’s a guide to the most important equipment from head to toe. FH Goalkeeping Essentials

1. The Head and Neck

The most important part of your body for you to protect is your head. The hardest drives can put the ball speed well above fifty miles per hour, so a high quality helmet is essential to help you maintain your focus. Beyond basic protection, today’s helmets from top brands like TK and OBO provide well-ventilated comfort to help you keep a cool head. Add in a throat guard as well to keep your neck and throat protected.

2. Upper Body

The main piece of field hockey equipment here is the chest and shoulder protection, which comes in one piece. Entry level pieces even have attached arm guards, although more advanced protection keeps these two separate for increased mobility and faster reaction times.

Your hands need protection too, and you will need a left hand blocker along with your right handed goalkeeping glove.

3. Midsection and Lower Body

Your goalie pants are hidden under your game shorts, and may have a pelvic protector included in their design. If they do not, you will need to purchase this separately. Most beginner’s pants have this included, but if you are ready for the next level of mobility and protection, the pelvic protector needs to be a separate piece.

You protect your lower legs and feet with leg guards and kickers. The type of foam that these are made from is an important factor to consider, as lighter foam helps to deliver bigger rebounds. This gives you the advantage of clearing the ball further from the goal, though it is a more advanced product and may cost more because of this.

4. The Stick

Your stick is incredibly important, and while it does not serve the added purpose of protecting your body like the rest of equipment, your field hockey stick choice greatly affects your performance. Invest in the best one that you can, so that you can quickly reject any drive that comes your way. While Longstreth recommends goalie sticks, your stick can be a field player stick as it is not required to be a goalie specific stick.

5. Bag and Accessories

While you may have a team jersey that is assigned to you, you will need some an extra or two for practices. Wearing all of the goal keeping equipment generates a lot of heat and sweat, so make sure that you have a couple clean jerseys on hand. You will also want a way to carry all of this equipment around. It is a lot to keep track of, and a goal keeping bag helps you to stay organized so that you can focus on your performance.

No matter what you need as a goal keeper, Longstreth is THE sporting goods store that has it for you. Come by our retail store today and get fitted for your goalkeeping kit today from the experts. We know how hard you work, and we put the same effort into making sure that we have all that you need to perform at your best. We also carry the largest selection of Softball essentials and Lacrosse gear.