Bquipped Equipment Education

Getting Ready for a Field Hockey Tour

U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team

As many of you may know, I'm Caitlin Van Sickle, a current member of the U.S. Women's National Field Hockey Team. Over the past few months we have been preparing for a New Zealand field hockey tour, our first since the World Cup in June. We leave the U.S. on October 11 and will return on October 28. Three whole weeks of field hockey and kangaroos!

The term tour, if you didn’t guess already, is short for tournament, and we say “tour” when we are going overseas to play matches against another country. In this case, the tour will span over a three week period and take the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team to three different locations throughout New Zealand.

In essence, we are testing ourselves versus the other teams by playing against them. This helps us prepare for the upcoming field hockey season and allows us to know our competition before playing again in big, challenging games.

Pysched Up for an Aggressive Schedule

The field hockey schedule will not be an easy one, but believe it or not, no one has even given me the details yet. I don’t know what cities I’m staying in or where I’ll be sleeping. Don’t worry - I’ll tell you as soon as I know and you can follow along on Instagram and Twitter. Totally stoked to announce the details - most likely on social media!

Here’s what I do know: When the team arrives in Aukland, New Zealand, after the crazy 17 hour flight, we will check-in to our hotel, and then go for a walk to get a better understanding of our surroundings.

On the New Zealand tour we’ll play six games over the course of three weeks. We will play between practices on several different fields.

Our day to day schedule will include breakfast, a team meeting, weight-lifting sessions, practice, lunch, free time, dinner, and then maybe another team meeting at night. On game days, the game takes precedent over our practice and free time. (Yup, more blogs coming with exclusive insider details - keep up!)

Oh, and since the team will be in New Zealand for about three weeks, we have to stay in shape by practicing on the field and also weight-lifting in the gym - so, no, I don’t get a break even though I’ll be giving it my all on the field.

My down-time will also be focused on working with Bquipped . If I’m lucky, we’ll get an occasional free evening to explore the cities. Yup, I’ll post lots of pics on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so stay tuned for cool pics.

Let us help you find a stick that fits. Check out the Bquipped app to meet your field hockey stick match.  

Practicing for a Field Hockey Tour

Normal practices as part of the U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team consist of individual skills, small games between players, and full-field game play.  To warm up, after some laps and stretching, we start with some basic skills, like hitting to a partner or working on our back-hand hits.

Then we move to small games -- we do a lot of 3v2 and 2v1 situations in our practices. One of our coach’s philosophies is that these small games carry directly into what we do on the field in a game. They keep an eye out for how we play the small games to help us improve our play.

Leading up to the New Zealand field hockey tour, practices tend to be more focused on full-field game play situations. Mostly, the coaches want to put us in as many "game-like" situations as possible, so we play more 11v11 or 11v10 over a full field.

Playing on a full-field during practice lets me build up my conditioning, too, so I don’t get as tired during a real game. How much running do you think I do during a game?

I’ll be featuring a few more blogs about my training for the Women’s U.S. National Field Hockey team, too – so don’t worry, lots more details to come.

For now, there's your sneak peak into the preparation before the tour. Stay tuned for lots of updates from New Zealand including photos and more information on what being on tour is like. Follow us on Twitter if you want to keep up!

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