Bquipped Equipment Education

What’s It Like to Be on a Field Hockey Tour

Oct 14, 2014

Caitlin Van Sickle on Field Hockey Tour
Being on a field hockey tour is exciting … and tiring. Our day to day is fairly the same, but if we have a game against another team, we typically have a modified schedule.

Most days we wake up between 8-9a.m. and start our day by going to the bathroom and filling up a little cup with a sample of our urine…TMI?

We have to take the cup of urine to our athletic trainer so that she can test our hydration. While we are in her room we also weigh ourselves and report our weight to our strength and conditioning coach. 

If you just rolled your eyes at that last comment, the weigh-in isn’t actually about numbers. It’s really a way of testing our hydration; if you are losing too much water, your weight will reflect this is in the mornings.

Following “weigh-ins” the team eats breakfast, which is typically near the lobby of the hotel. Breakfast is always one of the first things we do in the day so we can fuel our bodies. Getting the right nutrition also lets us play (or train) our best.

Our typical breakfast consists of a mix of high protein foods and carbohydrates: eggs, yogurts, cereal, fruits, breads and coffee. The selection of breakfast foods can vary depending on what country you are in. For example, in most European countries they will serve lunchmeat and cheese – green eggs and ham anyone?

And now let’s break it down…

Non-Game Days

After breakfast, we head to the field for a morning practice. The practices tend to be lighter in intensity on a field hockey tour because we are preparing for games.

We will typically run through a couple of drills (like dribbling) and then work on offensive and defensive corners at the end of practice. Our practice lasts about two hours and sometimes will run over depending on how well the coach thinks we’re performing. If we need more work on a specific area, the coach adds extra drills.

Lunch is next in our daily schedule. It’s pretty basic with soup, sandwiches, salad and juice. After lunch we may have a team meeting or just free time to explore the city – wherever that may be.

Free time can last for a few hours so a lot of the girls like to get out and explore. Some places are small towns with cute cafes and restaurants, and others are bigger cities with large buildings. Believe it or not, on a field hockey tour, there is no limit to how big the town has to be that hosts us.

After free time, we have dinner…and then more free time. You’re probably wondering why I get to relax more while I’m on a field hockey tour. It’s because the coaches can’t push us on the field as much. They do not want to tire our bodies for the upcoming games, or risk an injury to anyone who trains too hard.

And honestly, all that down time, compared to my usual schedule, can get a little boring. But then there are game days.

Game Days

Game days are slightly different in the sense that we tend to get up a little earlier in the morning to eat breakfast, and then we also have two team meetings during the course of the day. (I still pee in the little cup, though.)

We have a meeting after breakfast, plus one after lunch to go over the game plan. The starters (the players who will take the field first) of the game are announced and we will discuss a few key players on the other team as well.

We leave for the game a few hours before it starts (on the New Zealand field hockey tour most are at 2p.m.). We give ourselves more time to get to the field if the hotel is further away. We typically only stay a few miles away from the field, but on some tours the hotel is further – up to a few hours! - from the field.

After the match is over, the team takes an ice bath – fun fun! - and then showers before heading back to the hotel. The ice bath lasts for seven minutes and is between 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s used to help our muscles recover before the next game; we only use these during tournaments because we need to speed up the recovery process. Following a match, we eat a meal, another essential part of helping our muscles recover. (Yeah, I’ll make sure I capture the New Zealand food scene for you in a few other blogs!)

The Fun Stuff

After the games are finished we’re allowed out in the town for the last night. We usually have a team meal in a local restaurant (instead of the hotel) on the final night, and are allowed to explore the town afterwards.

On our upcoming field hockey tour to New Zealand, we are going to stay in the country for two extra days to explore and take in some of the local culture. I can’t tell you just yet what that means, but I’ve got a feeling it will involve some once in a lifetime opportunities.

Stay tuned for more info about the upcoming New Zealand Tour and updates from when the team is in New Zealand. I’ll be sharing a series of blogs on Bquipped.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for an insider peak into my field hockey tour. 


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