USA Field Hockey recently announced it’s 2011-2020 Long Term Strategic Plan (LTSP- my abbreviation). Â The LTSP is the product of information gathered through membership surveys, Town Hall style meetings among parents and coaches and no doubt countless meetings among board members. Â The final product is nothing short of breathtaking in terms of its scope and ambition.
I’ve got to hand it to the USFHA. Â They’ve laid down the gauntlet as a matter of public record. Â The LTSP, as its published, provides a Cliffs Notes version for the future of sport development from A-Z over the next decade. Â Some general thoughts/impressions:
I love that High Performance is identified as the first strategic goal. Â After all, what is the purpose of the sport’s governing body if not to produce ‘competitive excellence’ among our national teams on an international scale? Â Aside from the obvious commitments to facilities and technical resources, the LTSP makes specific mention of the need ‘boost’ financial support for national team players. Â Achieving a respectable athlete stipend will go a long way towards not only retaining the top committed athletes, but will also lend some credibility to the high performance lifestyle among development players. Â The net effect should result in longer average playing careers, thus allowing a broader number of athletes to realize their full potential.
The LTSP also covers the vast and fertile ground of Sport Development. Â Goals specify increasing playing opportunities among all demographics accompanied by increased membership to the association. Â That makes good sense: More people playing the sport + more opportunities to play = a statistically greater chance to produce high performance athletes. Â The US has an abundance of the resources necessary to make this happen, such as access to information, population and motivation. Â What is lacking is physical infrastructure, i.e. turf hockey fields.
Granted, turf fields of varying types are more prevalent now than ever before. Â However, the vast majority of them are owned and operated by high schools and universities- each of which likely engaged in a lengthy battle of bureaucratic maneuveringÂ and fundraising in order to afford their fields in the first place. Â That environment, combined an institution’s own sports programs as an administrator’s primary focus, does little to pave the way for private access to facilities – as a non-profit organization or otherwise. Â As one who has built a business dependent on renting facility space, I see future growth of the sport largely as a function of the available time and expense of turf fields.
Considering the overall depth of the LTSP, I highly recommend you giving it a read for yourself. Â It does a nice job of articulating USFHA’s vision for the next decade and provides a solid backdrop for which to evaluate future objective results.
-Matt Winn, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.]