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December 18, 2013

Oh Come All Ye Hockey Players

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February 27, 2013

“In Scientia Opportunitas”

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Let’s take a page out of law enforcement’s book and apply it to hockey. All good players do it. It informs their initial touch and first step with the ball. It allows them the space, vision and speed required to eliminate defenders. What we’re talking about is INFORMATION COLLECTION.

Coaches talk all the time about spacing. Good spacing or structure is the result of players taking an active role in their play off the ball. In order to be effective off the ball, players must collect information in real time, and then use that information to define their next movement in the context of the team’s game plan. For example, a key element of off-ball movement requires you to read the line of your attacking teammate who has the ball and position yourself in such a way so as to isolate defenders in numbers-up scenarios (2v1’s, 3v2’s). Another type of off-ball movement may require you to lead (move) out of certain spaces (away from the ball) to draw defenders away from your team’s intended line of attack.

The important point to take away from the act of information collection in off-ball movement, is that it ultimately occurs before your next touch on the ball. The more information you have prior to receiving the ball, the better off you will be in terms making your first step with the ball meaningful- whether that implies eliminating a defender, immediately passing or defining a new space for your teammates in transition down the field. The space around you after a reception will close down very quickly if you’re spending time tying to locate teammates after the fact.

Check out the video clips below of information collection in action. Again, pay special attention to  hard work being done off the ball. The players are highly aware of where their teammates are positioned, they’re comfortable in open space and the result is a succession of possession passes and eventual scoring opportunities.

January 18, 2012

CE Director Kristen Winn Heads USA U19 Training

Kristen.1.18.12Champion’s Edge Camp Director and Princeton University Head Coach, Kristen Winn will be at the US Olympic Field Hockey Training Center in Chula Vista, California for a U19 training camp this week. Coach Winn is the current USA U19 Head Coach and is assisted by current CE coach, Ryan Langford (U. Michigan) and former CE coach, Carla Tagliente (U. Massachusetts).

The U19 squad is training in preparation for an upcoming test series versus Canada in Vancouver, April 1-8.

December 2, 2011

2012 Summer Camps: Registration is Open!

The following lists our current 2012 schedule. All camps listed are open for registration. Click on a specific location for more details.

Resident/Day (accommodates residents and commuters)

July 28-July 1: The University of Scranton; Scranton, PA – ELITE

July 5-8: Monmouth University; West Long Branch, NJ – TEAM

July 12-15: The University of Scranton; Scranton, PA – TEAM

July 19-22: Monmouth University; West Long Branch, NJ – ELITE

July 25-28: Mercersburg Academy; Mercersburg, PA

August 4-7: Babson College, Wellesley, MA

Day Camps (Commuters only)

August 2-4: Charlotte Country Day School; Charlotte, NC

August 9-11: Princeton Day School; Princeton, NJ

August 21-23: Riverdale Country School; Riverdale (New York), NY

April 6, 2011

CHAMPION’S EDGE CAMPS ENTERS AGREEMENT WITH E1FIT

E1FIT_4_180x150CHAMPION’S EDGE CAMPS ENTERS AGREEMENT WITH E1FIT

TO OFFER THE FIELDHOCKEY1FITSMâ„  PROGRAM TO PLAYERS

Online Fitness, Nutrition and Mental Planning System Prepares Players for Camps/Clinics;

Company Founders Are US National Women’s Field Hockey Team and University of Iowa Teammates

DENVER CO and PRINCETON NJ, – April 6.  Every1Fit (hereafter E1Fit) and Champion’s Edge Field Hockey Camps and Clinics (hereafter Champion’s Edge) signed a distributor agreement on March 31, 2011, offering Champion’s Edge players registering for camps, clinics and mini-camps, access to FieldHockey1Fitâ„ , the premier  online fitness, nutrition, and mental planning system.

E1Fit developed FieldHockey1Fit℠, one of its field sport specific programs, for youth as well as adult players and for the sport’s referees. FieldHockey1Fit℠ is being offered by Champion’s Edge as a pre-camp or pre-clinic training program with the goal of having players arrive at the camp better prepared to enjoy a better overall camp experience.

The distributor agreement represents a commitment by both companies to the field hockey player’s growth and development. Uniquely, the respective company founders, Dr. Andrea Wieland (E1Fit) and Kristen Holmes-Winn (Champion’s Edge) were teammates on the US Women’s National Field Hockey Team and at The University of Iowa.

Both companies expect players using the FieldHockey1Fit℠ program of online fitness, nutritional and mental training plans to be more focused, more fit, and more confident. “By being better prepared and focused for their camp/clinic experience,” states Champion’s Edge Business Director Matt Winn, “we expect our players will have an enhanced camp experience. It’s not enough to be choosing a camp, enrolling and showing up. There’s a preparation factor that is easily overlooked. We feel this may be one of the more critical factors in creating an optimum camper’s experience. E1Fit fills the need for preparation. Through the online program, the players will come to us better prepared and will get more out of their camp experience.”

“Traditionally campers do not prepare themselves in two vital areas: nutrition and mental readiness. We don’t view fitness as a stand-alone factor in the success of a player. By incorporating nutritional planning and mental preparation with fitness training, the Champion’s Edge players will gain an even greater edge to their performance, “ states Dr. Andrea Wieland, Chief Enthusiasm Officer of E1Fit, Olympian (1996 US Olympian, Field Hockey) and psychological performance coach.

“The goal of enabling all Champion’s Edge players to experience the benefits of the FieldHockey1Fit℠ Plan is a key to player development. We are focused on assisting developing field hockey players in achieving a higher level of success both during camp and in season,” notes Wieland. “We are excited to be a part of Champion’s Edge vision for the emerging player and look forward to a long and successful working relationship with their outstanding coaching staff.”  The E1Fit tagline sums up the cohesive efforts of both companies in signing the distributor agreement; to “Prepare for Amazing.”

About Every1Fit

Every1Fit (E1Fit for short) is a leader in providing online fitness, nutrition and mental plans to athletes, teams, referees, organizations, corporations, first responders, and individuals. Formed in 2009, it is the premier provider of sport specific programs (Field Hockey, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis) for youth, adults and referees for use in pre-season, off-season or pre-tournament preparation. E1Fit’s corporate-based programs, Corporate1Fit for Busy Travelers Plans and for Employees, and its General Health & Wellness Programs are recognized for complimenting a company’s existing fitness/wellness employee programs and serving as a key employee health and wellness benefit.

For more information, visit http://www.E1Fit.com or contact Dr. Andrea Wieland at andrea@e1fit.com

Phone: 1-877-E1FIT-ON or 904.460.9577

Electronic logo and banner and all other media requests: margy@e1fit.com

March 14, 2011

CE Director Holmes-Winn Assisting in U19 US-Canada Series

Kristen Holmes-Winn

Kristen Holmes-Winn

CE Director and Princeton University Head Coach Kristen Holmes-Winn is spending the week in Chula Vista coaching the U.S. U19 National Team. Get the scoop at usfieldhockey.com.

January 29, 2011

Financial Incentive: The Real Reason FIH Says No to WSH League

screen-capture-11This past Thursday (Jan. 27), The Federation of International Hockey (FIH) refused sanction of a new multi-million-dollar World Series Hockey (WSH) League in India. Field hockey’s international governing body stated that “Any player and any association that participates in the World Series may render both ineligible to participate in any FIH tournament, including Olympic qualifying tournaments and the Olympic Games” (see article). This marks the latest turn of high drama that has been the state of field hockey in India the last several years. However, to perceive the FIH’s current position with regards to the WHS as a matter of field hockey in India alone is to miss the larger issue at stake.

Professional field hockey leagues have existed around the world since the evolution of the club hockey system. The most popular and well recognized of those today is the European Hockey League (EHL). Member club rosters boast the best players from countries around the world. Like other professional, international sports (e.g. soccer, cricket), the EHL has found a way to coexist with its sport’s international governing body, the FIH.

Generally speaking, the athlete, their National Governing Body (NGB) and professional club function together like this: An athlete’s first priority is to play and train for their respective country’s national team or NGB. In any given year, the athlete is committed to a number of ‘amateur’, international events such as the Olympics, World Cup, Regional Championships (e.g. Pan Am’s) and so on… When not engaged with their national teams, many athletes play professionally in leagues like the EHL, which give them the opportunity to remain competitive throughout the year and to financially support a lifestyle in a sport for which their country’s NGB alone cannot do.

This turns out to be a pretty sweet deal for the FIH and any given country’s NGB. Why? Since the market wage for a professional field hockey player isn’t exorbitant, the lure of winning medals in international amateur competition commands an adequate enough incentive to retain player loyalty to their NGB, and by extension, FIH events. Subsequently, the FIH and NGB’s can invest less in players while at the same time reap the benefits of player development that is acquired through professional play. Scheduling aspects of the FIH’s governing strategy have evolved as a result this equilibrium.

Enter the Black Swan that is the present state field hockey in India. If you’re not up to speed on field hockey affairs in India, here’s the scoop: India’s NGB used to be the India Hockey Federation (IHF). They didn’t properly follow FIH statutes a couple of years ago and were de-recognized. The FIH currently recognizes Hockey India (HI) as the NGB of India. If you’re still following along, last August, India’s Sport Ministry (an extension of their federal government) granted recognition to the former NGB, India Hockey Federation, as the sole hockey federation in India (article). Naturally, the FIH remains on the opposite end of the spectrum:

The IHF was a member of the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC). The IHC’s membership of the FIH was withdrawn some 2 years ago for failure to comply with the FIH Statutes. Subsequently, Hockey India (HI) was formed and was formally admitted as a member of the FIH at the 2008 Congress. HI is now the only body governing hockey in India recognised by the FIH and the Indian Olympic Association.

So, we’ve got dueling NGB’s in India. One is recognized by the Indian Sport Ministry; the other by the FIH. While this is going on in the background, the IHF and Nimbus Sports, one of India’s leading sports production companies, have gone ahead and launched the previously mentioned World Series Hockey League with initial prize money in excess $1 million. The result? Nearly the entire Indian hockey team that recently took part in the Commonwealth Games has signed up to participate in the league against the advice of FIH recognized HI.

So what’s the real crux of the matter?  Financial incentive. The IHF and Nimbus are offering the potential to play field hockey professionally in a context that could disrupt the current equilibrium between athletes, clubs & NGB’s. That’s not to imply this could happen overnight. But what if the league is ultimately successful? A lucrative financial incentive made available to professional field hockey athletes has the ability to create a shift in loyalty. Suddenly an employment contract takes precedence over the Asian Games, for example. This would ultimately result in a decline in the relevance of the FIH. Think FIFA, the International Baseball Federation, or the International Ice Hockey Federation to name a few.

In it’s rejection of the WSH, it appears on the surface that the FIH is merely maintaining its allegiance with HI. While perhaps that makes political sense, by citing the potential of scheduling conflicts with FIH events as the basis for its non-sanction of the WSH, the FIH has constructed a loosely assembled straw-man that provides little cover for its true intentions- self preservation. If the WSH achieves measurable financial success, the effect is sure to impact international field hockey on some structural level. As evidenced by the state of international governing bodies in sports that have traveled this path before, the end result doesn’t point to a favorable outcome for the FIH.

Matt Winn

CE Business Director

[Matt Winn, CE Business Director, is solely responsible for any intended or perceived editorial content in this post. Questions or concerns? Email Matt directly at mwinn@ce-fieldhockey.com.]

January 21, 2011

US Field Hockey’s Locke: “Time for Fed. Funding?”

In his Weekly Report for January 17, 2011, USA Field Hockey Executive Director Steve Locke addresses concerns relating to the ‘global’ landscape of funding for Olympic/Pan Am sports in the United States.  Put into context, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has cut funding to a number of National Governing Bodies (NGB’s) due in part to underperformance in business aspects and principally, a lack  of ‘podium’ appearances in international competition.  Locke does not indicate that USA Field Hockey falls into this category.

USOCIn essence, the USOC functions as any other type of business. Success/survival is determined by the ability to maximize return on investment, whether it’s technology, infrastructure, human capital- or in the case of the USOC, Olympic/Pan Am Sports. The USOC’s revenue is acquired solely through private sponsorship, which implies that it is charged with allocating those funds to NGB’s whose sports have the greatest chance at earning medals in international competition. Positive marketing associated with successful Olympic/Pan Am teams provides exposure and terms necessary to sustain long term sponsor relationships.

Locke generally seems satisfied with the USOC’s approach to funding NGB’s, and he even goes as far as to say that “The USOC’s CEO and CMO are both top shelf and are operating in a highly professional manner in a very challenging financial environment in the face of ever growing competition for sport marketing dollars.” Yet, in order to take the financial pressure off the USOC and Olympic/Pan Am sports alike, Locke goes on to suggest Federal funding as a serious remedy.

Many countries throughout the world have sport ministries and/or Olympic Committees that conduit governmental funding to Olympic/Pan Am sport development and general support. Having governmental funds to support sport gives other countries a distinct advantage.

Locke doesn’t mention any specific examples of a ‘distinct advantage’ gained by other countries via government support.  At first glance, perhaps they’re too obvious to mention. Yet, I wonder if one were to speak with the heads of various foreign field hockey NGB’s, they would all agree?  Would they all feel that their sport is being adequately funded by their ‘Sport Ministry’? Or perhaps, would they feel the exact same type of pressure competing for ‘Sport Ministry’ funds as the US Olympic/Pan Am sports do with the USOC? Furthermore, to what extent do the executives of a given NGB enjoy being dictated the terms in which to operate their organization by a government official or committee that possesses no expertise relating that respective sport? Locke acknowledges the last point, but brushes past such a concern as mere ‘perception’ – as if easily overcome by evidence to the contrary.

While combining USOC funding with Federal funding is sure to satisfy any given NGB’s short term accounting fix, the long term effect is much harder to predict. It’s possible that Federal influence in the process could result in an actual decline of USOC sponsors. Gaining sponsors is largely achieved by selling a story about the sport, the athletes, the lifestyle, etc… The USOC will have a much tougher case to make to private donors when specifying it’s funding needs against the backdrop of a Federal cushion. Furthermore, it’s not a stretch to imagine the extent to which a given sponsor may be subject bureaucratic policy preferences. In the long run, it’s conceivable the net result could amount to the USOC having less to allocate than before.

Underlying the entire conversation about whether Federal funding would be a good idea, is the notion that Olympic/Pan Am sports simply cannot succeed without proportionally increased funding on an annual basis.

While the argument can be made that the USA has been generally successful in medal acquisition over many of the previous Olympic and Pan American Games, the competition for support dollars likely will cause Olympic/Pan Am sports’ portions to diminish, and along with a lack of investment there will be diminished performance on the field of play.

The premise that there exists a causal link between money and performance is taken simply as a matter of fact.  For example, the same premise underlies the logic that drives debate for education funding and ultimately, the allocation of billions of dollars worth of legislation.  Yet, a statistical snapshot of American public schools in the last 50 years depicts an inverse proportion of funding relative to performance.  That is, as education budgets continue to increase, performance has measurably declined. The relationship is obviously not perfectly interdependent, but the example effectively undermines the notion that money is a performance prerequisite.

I’m sympathetic to the financial realities faced by NGB’s, notably USA Field Hockey. However, in the face of economic pressure, it’s dissatisfying to witness an executive mindset that instinctively eyes Federal funding on behalf of a non-profit organization or otherwise. Not only has the concept become somewhat of a cliche, but the notion that sport has a place among any given taxpayer’s hierarchy of needs seems highly misplaced.

The field hockey landscape in the US is like no other country in the world. We boast high participation in real numbers compared to other countries; however, despite US Field Hockey’s genuinely strong effort, the sport remains relatively fractured among each region, state, country and township. Wherever the game is played, a unique set of idiosyncrasies dictate the experience. Some athletes don’t start playing until middle school; others start in first grade. Some kids play on turf, while others play on grass their entire careers. Field hockey clubs range in varying levels of sophistication; some operate year round (indoor & outdoor), while others train seasonally. The list goes on and overall paints a picture of chaos.

In an effort to reign in the apparent chaos, US Field Hockey spends a great deal of its resources (time, personnel & money) on sport development, i.e. more organization, more continuity, more uniformity. Taken at face value, this seems a perfectly reasonable strategy, congruent with international benchmarks set by other countries. The problem is that field hockey is not tightly institutionalized in our country like it may be in others. Therefore, the same business practices do not apply. As US Field Hockey seeks to expand its reach in spite of limited resources, it unwittingly positions itself as ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. Rather than seeking control of the chaos, the association would be better served by promoting it.

Parker.1Businesses spend millions a year annually on consultants in an effort to break the mold of institutionalized uniformity within their organizations. After all, if you’re chasing yesterday’s product or business model, so is everyone else. In the case of US Field Hockey, the association is uniquely positioned to preside at the helm of a business (field hockey) that possesses unlimited resources and creativity. These resources manifest themselves most effectively in the hands of the individuals on the ground in each state, county and township- those people with the expertise and relationships to handle the idiosyncrasies inherent in their respective locality. None of this is meant to imply that US Field Hockey isn’t capable of bringing people into the fold.  On the contrary; association membership is up, Futures enrollment is up, and attendance at the major events is up. But does the association exist for the sake of generating revenue, or rather winning medals? Might its own expertise be better allocated among it’s core competencies, allowing it to actually perform better with less? A stagnant world ranking begs the question.

So how does US Field Hockey solve it’s potential future funding dilemma while developing the sport and staying focused on its mission (productive national teams)?  One strategy is to get lean. Stop extending itself in any number of seemingly relevant directions and allow its vast network of resources to do the heavy lifting. Focus strictly on a back-end, business to business approach through private club development. Construct business plans for starting private field hockey clubs and assist individuals in the process of implementation, expansion and sustainability. Serve clubs on a consultancy basis (charge a fee!). Overall, allow the unlimited power of personal financial incentive and market competition among clubs dictate their inevitable long term success or failure. The ensuing product will consist of a steady expansion of realized, multi-dimensional talent and an organically evolving sport.

By allowing the engine of sport development to happen on a behind the scenes basis (think puppet master), US Field Hockey could extricate itself from a heavy administrative and financial burden, reallocate it’s resources and focus more centrally on its reason for existing: the development of Jr. and Sr. national teams for the purposes of winning medals. Locke’s recent Weekly Report concerning NGB’s, shrinking USOC allocations and the prospect of Federal funding lends itself to more than simply a few curious questions. The association’s long term sustainability is contingent on it’s financial well being, so it only seems wise to revisit aspects of its business strategy that may prevent that realization from happening.

Matt Winn

CE Business Director

Quick note… None of the commentary in this post is intended as criticism of effort put forth by US Field Hockey, Steve Locke or anyone else affiliated with the USFHA. Opinions expressed are done so with admittedly, limited information. I hope they are perceived in as constructive a manor as possible.

January 14, 2011

Harrington resigns as Brown Head Field Hockey Coach

Tara Harrington.  Courtesy of Brown U. Sports Information.

Tara Harrington. Courtesy of Brown U. Sports Information.

(Jan. 11).  Tara Harrington has resigned from her position as head field hockey coach at Brown University after going 17-51 in four seasons.  Having spent the past 12 seasons as a member of the Brown field hockey staff, Harrington is now shifting into a career in University Advancement at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI.  Her resignation comes a couple of months after first assistant Christy Utter’s departure following the 2010 fall season.

There is no evidence to indicate that Harrington’s resignation has anything to do with the fact that the Brown University field hockey team has to play their home games on Warner Roof.

[Matt Winn, CE Business Director, is solely responsible for any intended or perceived editorial content in this post. Questions or concerns? Email Matt directly at mwinn@ce-fieldhockey.com.]

January 12, 2011

CE Director Kristen Winn Featured as an Ultimate Performance Clinician

Kristen Winn, Head Field Hockey Coach at Princeton University and one of CE’s camp summer camp directors, will be speaking Jan. 13 & 14 at the Ultimate Performance Coaching Seminar in Atlantic City, NJ.  Her topics include “All About Midfield” and “Goal Scoring”.

We’ve dropped a short clip below offering a preview of Kristen’s topic on “Goal Scoring”.  All aspects of the video production are the work of Princeton based producer and director extraordinaire, Doug Myers.

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