Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Summer training sets foundation for field hockey team’s 2017 season

Field hockey athletes say their workouts are more rigorous than previous summers

Summer training sets foundation for field hockey team’s 2017 season

With field hockey season rapidly approaching, the Eagles are sticking to their time-tested summer workouts with the goal of improved performance come fall.

For the past two summers, head coach Steve Jennings and his staff have given each athlete two individual training packets, one for running and one for lifting. However, players say this year’s workouts are increased in intensity and length.

“Summer is all about getting stronger and faster,” junior defender Rachel Stefano said.

The lifting packet is arranged differently for each individual athlete based on the weights she was recorded lifting in the spring. The 2017 packets require five workouts per week, a more demanding workload than previous offseasons, senior midfielder Samantha McCormick said.

“The running packet is almost the same for all of us, the difference being the rest time between runs,” Stefano said. “Incoming freshmen have a slightly tweaked packet to help them acclimate to the runs we do instead of throwing them right into it.”

In total, the athletes should be lifting, playing a pickup game twice a week, and participating in a team practice once a week.

They’re strongly encouraged to play in summer leagues during the warm weather months to prepare their bodies for the season. Many team members go home for the summer and participate in summer leagues that practice near their homes. High Performance, a field hockey summer program geared toward college athletes, has locations all around the U.S. Eagles who utilize High Performance camps pick the site closest to their homes to train. International students join summer club teams in their home countries.

“The rigorous training schedule [both in-season and pre-season] that we have been using the past few years has worked well,” Jennings said. When they stick to the packets given to them for the summer, they are sure to see success when they come back for the season in the fall.”

The packets given to the team by Jennings, though, are written to be used outside of set practice times with summer league teams. Stefano chooses to come to her summer league’s practices early to complete her runs, while her training days are utilized for lifting.

“The first two weeks of the summer were the most intense for me because I haven’t been training every single day [since the regular season],” Stefano said. “I’m sure the rest of the girls could say the same.”

Jennings’s training template has been in place for the past two seasons. The hope is for each athlete to follow her packet exactly over the summer to get in the best pre-season shape possible.

“The coaches put as much as possible in the players’ hands to lead them where they want to go,” Jennings said.

The offseason training has paid dividends for the Eagles. AU has reached the Patriot League Tournament final each of the past two seasons. In 2016, the Eagles claimed their tenth conference title under Jennings. AU finished the year ranked 19th with high expectations for 2017.

The Eagles open their 2017 season on the road against the University of Richmond on August 25.

kcataudella@theeagleonline.com


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