Written by Amanda Magadan
With the Fall 2020 season quickly approaching, it feels as if we’ve flown through a time machine. A new normal where public gatherings are limited, face masks are the norm, and personal space standing in line is a common courtesy. Although seven months have passed since the start of the global pandemic, it’s as if we’ve come so far, yet gone nowhere at all. Probably because that’s been the case. Restaurants were closed, sports were cancelled, travel was restricted, mandatory quarantine was implemented, and more. Time, for various reasons, became common for most. It did for me, and this time I used to think, reflect, process, and challenge myself. Time to write a new story.
Prior to the global pandemic, a lot had unfolded. We didn’t qualify for the 2020 Olympics back in November 2019, had a huge team and staff transition, were in the process of relocating facilities, and faced the tragedy of our beloved assistant coach turned team manager passing away. With so many emotions to unpack and the 2020 Pro League season underway, naturally you did your best to shove your emotions to the side and move on. That is until COVID-19 shut down the world. With lots of time to think, quarantine became a time period of self-reflection. A time to rehash the past, anticipate the future, and heal in the present. I was fortunate to be quarantined at the beach and spent most of my time on the first floor porch looking over the bay thinking about the past and practicing my mindfulness most mornings. The extra time I finally had become an opportunity for me to make my individual growth and healing a priority.
Quarantine wasn’t all “soul searching” so to speak. It was also valuable time spent with family— morning runs, night time bike rides, game nights, and Netflix shows. It was a time I launched a business with my teammates turned best friends Ashley Hoffman and Lauren Moyer called Become Uncommon Co. It was a time I was able to give back to the Lafayette College Field Hockey Team by joining them as a guest speaker. It was a time I sold my house in Lancaster, Pa. It was a time I learned how to cut hair, make new recipes, and enjoy new things. But most of all, it was a time when I closed a chapter and started a new one.
New beginnings don’t always mean we know what’s to come. In fact, we’re all venturing into a new beginning together. A re-entry into everyday life. As the Fall approaches, we’re still burdened by the uncertain of tomorrow. The unknown might bring individually angry, frustration, sadness, and/or anxiety. But as we approach the Fall and head into a hopeful Fall season, we can practice these 5 tips to help us no matter what gets thrown our way.
1. Give Yourself Grace: Practice kindness with yourself. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to get upset, angry, anxious, and/or frustrated. Give yourself kindness and empathy in those moments.
2. Be Smart & Safe: Be smart. Wear your mask and follow protocols the best you can.
3. Be Flexible: As athletes, this one isn’t new to you. You’re always adapting on the field to different circumstances and this is no different. Things will be different than previous seasons— we know that and that’s okay. You’ve been flexible in the past and you’ll do it again. Not only will your flexible attitude be greatly appreciated by those around you, but it will set you up to have a more pleasant experience and tackle any obstacles you may face. It will help you be resilient.
4. Be Present: Take everything day-by-day. I’m a huge proponent of mindfulness and if there is one thing almost everyone can learn from the global pandemic, its take it day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Reliving the past or anticipating the future is wasting away the present. Be in the here and now. You’re at practice with your teammates, enjoy it.
5. Practice Gratitude: In the beginning of the year, at some point, you probably felt like you were too tired to go to practice or you didn’t want to do that one drill or play in that position on the field. Practice gratitude for what you are allowed to do. You’re allowed to practice in small groups? Great, be thankful and enjoy the moment. Don’t be wishing you were playing full field games. Don’t wish you were anywhere else. Remain in the moment and be thankful for it. Practice thankfulness and you’ll be happy and more present.
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Field hockey, no matter the level, is such a skilled game that is always changing and evolving. I think that is what initially attracted me to the sport. I see it as a cross between Ice Hockey and Soccer, two sports that I had grown up watching and playing almost all my life. When I started playing in 7th grade for my mom’s club team “Chix With Stix Field Hockey” I focused less on trying to push myself to be better and more on just being in the moment and having fun with my friends. I didn’t really understand that there was a possibility I could play in college or beyond, I always strictly thought about playing Ice Hockey.
Joining the Duxbury High School varsity field hockey team as a freshman, I remember being completely shocked by the speed and the skill that some of my upperclassmen possessed. We had a couple girls committed to top tier Division I and Division III programs. A couple of the girls also played for my club team, HTC Field Hockey, so as a group, we would do private lessons together with my club coach. I was in awe of these players, watching them use 3D skills to beat a defender and then line up for a reverse chip with such ease. My edgy, but at the time of my freshman season, one dimensional game had been completely shaken up. For me, seeing what it took to play in college was slightly daunting, but a challenge I was more than willing to accept.
Throughout my four years in high school, I absorbed all the skills I could possibly take in, watching hours and hours of international game footage. I spent long days with my club coaches, trying to turn my one dimensional game into a three dimensional, dynamic, tactical and aggressive game that would allow me to succeed in college. I began my journey, committing to Boston University and then joining the squad one year later. Despite my hard work and thorough preparation, I quickly realized that no matter what, you will never truly understand the game and be able to adapt to it until you’re stuck in the middle of it.
The pace is faster. The players are bigger and stronger. Everyone possesses the same skills and game sense that you do, but now they can execute these skills perfectly all while running at their top speed. I remember sitting at the field asking myself “how do you set yourself apart?” For me this was a huge lesson that I would have to learn, not only for college but for playing at the next level on the US Women's National Team. Tactically, I had to understand every press that we would use, how to set up in different situations based on what I saw in front of me and so much more. I learned that fitness, strength, nutrition and sleep were just as important as understanding a skill or what was happening on the field. I quickly began to understand that flexibility with what my coaches needed from me was key. My freshman season I was forward, but after that year we needed a center back, so my role changed. I had to learn a whole new skills set to be ready for the following season, and that's what I did. Throughout my college career, I learned that the tangibles were important, but the intangibles, like being coachable and open to new opportunities in front of you, was equally if not more important.
My U.S. and college careers have largely been intertwined, as I joined the U.S. Development Squad during the summer going into my junior season at Boston University. Joining the Development squad and eventually, the Women's National Team showed me just how competitive field hockey can be. Each player is different and brings their own spin and style to the game, but despite this we are essentially the same. We have been the best players on every team we have ever played on, dominating in college and beyond. Nevertheless, the game continues to become faster. Every country we play against on the international stage has a different style of play, which can include a different pressing style, a structure that allows them to play through the midfield or down the sideline. Maybe they constantly use aerials to get the ball down the field, or maybe not. Each country brings something different and new to the table, and we always need to be ready for it. The U.S. plays a fast, forward game that is very aggressive with major emphasis on having a front foot mentality. We will fight tooth and nail to win the ball and get it in the cage. It’s a style that is unique to the U.S. and truly gives us an edge.
It is amazing to see the evolution of the game over time. In the beginning, you see it as very one dimensional. I focused on having fun with my friends and learning something new. As I understood more about the game and my love grew, my game also grew becoming more three dimensional with added variables that pushed me to become the player I am today. I am still growing and changing with the times because even today the game has not stopped growing. To continue to compete at such a high level, you must change and evolve with it, being open to new tactical or technical skills that might come along. As I said before, the task might be daunting but believe me, looking back it will be one of the greatest journeys of your life. For me, I will always be proud of the moment I picked up a stick and said “bring it on”.
Selecting a new field hockey stick is a decision driven by personal preferences. It’s much more than graphics and position, it really comes down to your personal playing style. Think about what skills you perform on a regular basis- do you need more power? High carbon content contributes to high power in hits, but can also make receiving more challenging. If control is more your focus, you will want something with a little less carbon. Players need to find the right balance of power and feel to best suit their game. If you are typically a fall-season field hockey player, we usually suggest an advanced stick which range from about 30-60% carbon. If you also play club field hockey year round, you may want to consider an elite stick which are usually around 70-100% carbon.
Similarly, you will also need to find the best shape that suits your playing style. All sticks have a bow to them, and the location of the highest point of that bow along the stick can have different advantages and disadvantages in the game. When first learning the game, most players will start with a regular bow, which has the highest point placed in the midsection or center of the shaft equally assisting every skill in the game. The most common shape in the modern game of field hockey is the late bow, which has the highest point closer to the toe of the stick. This shape offers extra assistance with lifting the ball, aerials, and dynamic ball movement, without sacrificing your hitting technique. An extreme late bow has the highest point as close to the toe as possible, maximizing 3D skills and dynamic ball control. This extreme shape may take some time getting used to when driving.
Ready to pick out your next stick? Look at your current stick first. We usually suggest going up in carbon content about 30-50%. This will give you a nice increase in power without losing too much control all at once. So for example, if you are looking for a step up from your middle school stick and it was 10% carbon, you’d want to look for a stick that was around 40-60% carbon. If you are ready to move up from your first high school stick and it was 30% carbon, you will want to look at something that is 60-80% carbon. Once you decide what carbon range you are looking for, you can start looking at shape. If you are an all-around player who likes to do a lot of hits/slaps, you will probably want a late bow shape. If you are the type of player that likes to do a lot of aerials, 3D skills, and dynamic ball movement, you may want to get an extreme late bow shape.
Still have some questions? We know all of the details can be pretty confusing. You can always reach out to one of our Longstreth Experts for help with selecting the perfect stick for you! We’re always here and happy to help- this is what we do!
Jana Withrow’s years of dedication, passion and proven commitment to the game of field hockey will strengthen Longstreth’s team.
Longstreth Sporting Goods is extremely pleased to announce Jana Withrow will be returning as Director of Field Hockey. She will lead the field hockey team with a focus on Longstreth’s sales efforts, and will coordinate equipment and uniform/apparel product offerings to build a cohesive experience for our college, team, and club customers. Longstreth co-owner John Schaefer says, “We are very happy that Jana is returning to Longstreth to lead our Hockey team, and believe that she and Alli Lokey together will offer the best customer service available by combining true hockey expertise with our great selection of hockey products, including from our core brands TK, Gryphon and Ritual.”
Jana has an extensive hockey background as a top-level goalie and coach. She was an All-American and National Champion at the University of North Carolina. After college, Jana earned a goalkeeper position on the USA Women’s National Team – where she was a member of the team during the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Olympic Qualifier games. Keeping her hand in the game, she spent a few years coaching at the University of North Carolina and became head coach of Columbia University in 2009. She joined Longstreth Sporting Goods in 2010 as Field Hockey Manager where she managed our hockey business to develop the best equipment and bring it to the U.S. market. Jana has spent the last six years managing hockey sales for Harrow Sports.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Longstreth team,” states Withrow. “I share their values, their focus on innovative products and passion for the game. With my knowledge of the marketplace, and Longstreth's history in women's sports, I know we can offer customers a great experience.”
Longstreth Sporting Goods proudly announces a special event to kick off the Lacrosse Season. Professional women’s lacrosse athlete, Marie McCool will run a demonstration and meet and greet at Longstreth’s Spring City, PA campus.
Register for the Marie McCool meet and greet before the event.
Marie McCool was the second overall pick of the 2018 Women’s Professional Lacrosse League College Draft. McCool who was the two-way midfielder from the University of North Carolina, became part of the WPLL’s Baltimore Brave. Marie was named the MVP of the WPLL last summer, in its inaugural year.
Marie is perhaps the most decorated player in UNC women’s lacrosse history. She is the only two-time Tewaaraton Award finalist in Carolina history (2017, 2018). One of eight UNC players to be named first-team All-ACC three times and one of three to be a three-time first-team All-America. McCool was named 2018 National Midfielder of the Year and is the first player in ACC history to win the ACC Mid-fielder of the Year award twice. She was and still is a member of the US Lacrosse World Cup team. She played in England in July 2017, one of two college players on the squad.
“It’s our mission to support and grow women’s lacrosse. Bringing professional female athletes to our site is a great way for young girls to meet players who are role models in the game – on and off the field,” stated Nikki Stevenson, Longstreth’s Lacrosse Manager. “We’ve hosted many of these events. It’s always inspiring to see young athletes meeting some of the greatest women in their sport.”
Dedicated to female athletes for 40 years, Longstreth has a mission to support and grow the sports of field hockey, women’s lacrosse, and fastpitch softball by providing the best gear available for athletes at all levels. Longstreth has consistently been a source for female players – both beginners and elite – for equipment, uniforms, and expert advice. While specializing in field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball, Longstreth can also outfit almost any team or athlete. Located outside of Philadelphia, PA, Longstreth supplies uniforms, equipment, footwear, and training gear for female athletes across the United States. Visit www.longstreth.com to see the full selection of products.
Longstreth’s retail store is second to none. As a forerunner in the female athlete industry, our company and the retail store are “the go-to shop” for many field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball players. Being part of the local community for almost 40 years, Longstreth’s retail store has been a place where generations of women shop for their gear.
This year, we believe we’ve met one of our ultimate super fans. Kayla Miller became a Longstreth shopper when she started playing lacrosse in middle school and continues to be a patron and brand ambassador today as a high school coach. Kayla is lucky enough to live close to our retail store and has visited many times per year to purchase the latest women’s lacrosse gear. Along the way, she began to collect our yearly lacrosse catalog and keeping them in a special binder. This summer, she brought them all along with her to the WPLL games to get them signed by the featured athletes. That’s where we met Kayla and learned just how dedicated she is to Longstreth.
It’s always a pleasure for us to meet teams of athletes, families, and players - young and old. Many families make Longstreth a destination stop to visit during summer vacations. Teams bring busloads of their players for special shopping days. Mothers who were once shoppers and athletes themselves, bring their daughters to carry on the Longstreth tradition. And fans like Kayla continue to share our mission in being dedicated to the female athlete and growing the girls’ game.
Are you a Longstreth Super Fan? Share your story with us on our facebook page (@longstreth.sporting.goods) or email us at Longstreth.Sports@longstreth.com using the subject line #LongstrethSuperFan .
Visit Longstreth.com to check out the latest field hockey, lacrosse, and fastpitch softball equipment. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in bringing the best of the best equipment to the female athlete. To plan a visit to our retail store in Spring City, Pennsylvania or take a virtual tour on our website.
As female athletes, we all have a passion for our sport. Unfortunately, injuries are often part of the game. Longstreth Field Hockey recently sat down with USA National Team Defender, Julia Young to discuss her recent injury and recovery. Her positive attitude and mental strength are inspiring.
Julia tore her ACL, medial meniscus, and sprained her MCL during the Pan American Cup last summer. She had ACL reconstruction surgery using a patellar tendon graft and a meniscus repair. Luckily, her MCL was able to heal on her own. Doctors think she’ll be able to be back on the field sometime in May.
“The hardest part of recovery so far was the first week,” Julia told us, “The pain was the worst I had ever felt and I honestly had no idea how I was going to get through it mentally.” The following month was frustrating, learning to navigate around on crutches and depending on others for help. “My recovery schedule is crazy – going to physical therapy 3 times a week and have at-home exercises. I also do upper body lifts 3 times a week and watch all the team practices.”
Team USA field hockey players and coaches have supported Julia throughout her challenging journey. They’ve continued to keep her involved. “The supportive team culture has helped me a lot getting through the mental challenges of this injury,” said Julia, “and makes me feel like I’m still out on the field with them every day.”
When faced with an injury that keeps you on the sideline for a while, it’s important to stay mentally tough. Julia suggests to give yourself time and don’t get discouraged if you are not healing as quickly as you’d hope. “Your body can do amazing things, but you have to give it time to heal,” advises Julia.
We asked Julia what she is most excited about once she is fully recovered. Julia says she can’t wait to get out on the field and be competitive again, and practice every day with her team mates. “You don’t realize how much you love to compete and play, until you can’t.” We wish Julia a quick, healthy recovery and can’t wait to see her playing field hockey again.
Longstreth Sporting Goods is proud to sponsor many of the U.S. Women’s National Team players. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.
Ali Froede, a Longstreth Sporting Goods sponsored player, recently did a Q&A session with us on her experience at FIH Hockey World League Semi-Finals. Froede has been a member of the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team since 2015, where she plays defense. She attended Miami University of Ohio, and while there, was awarded First-Team All MAC twice, as well as NFHCA All-West Region Second Team in 2014.
First things first, we had to know what her top three favorite moments on the trip were in regards to hockey, and playing in the tournament. She replied that her favorite memory was, of course, winning! She elaborated and said, “This was the first time we have ever won a quarterfinal game – let alone make it to the finals and win.” Her second favorite moment was the thrill of her first major tournament. She said that South Africa was a lot of fun to play in, and that the environment itself was great. Lastly, she recalled that one day at practice two boys were standing at the fence watching them. She said that the team then invited them to play around, and also gave them USA pinnies and sticks, which the boys were super excited about.
We were also curious as to how the team moved past the losses to Argentina and South Africa. We wanted to know if it made things more difficult, or if it made them work even harder. Froede explained that losing to Argentina was not as bad as losing to South Africa. She gave her reasoning when she said, “One, they were the host nation so with that brought a huge supportive crowd that made themselves heard. Two, we felt that we could have definitely won that game, but let exterior factors inhibit us from playing our game – like the refs and the crowd.” In order for the team to get back on track, Froede said, “As a team, we came together and got back to our basics. We are constantly focused on ‘doing our jobs’ – a staple we often remind ourselves to do, and we started playing UN1TED, which ultimately started us in the direction of the finals.”
Many new players have been added to the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team, and we were curious how that affected their game. Froede said, “A focus of the tournament was learning how to play together with new faces. As one of the newer players, it was a great experience to play so many games and gain confidence in myself and my skills on the field.”
There are a bunch of neat things to see in South Africa, that you can’t typically see here, so we wanted to know what fun adventures the team went on while they were there. Froede said that on the last day they were in South Africa, they got to go to a lion park. “My favorite was playing [with] and petting the baby lions!” said Froede. “They were so cute and fluffy, and it was amazing getting to touch an animal you normally don’t get to see that close! We also got to feed giraffes, see zebras, wild dogs, and wildebeests. It was a great way to end the trip.”
As the Pan American Cup approaches, we wanted to know what the team has learned from this experience in order to have further success in Pan Ams. Froede graciously responded, “We learned that we perform our best when we focus on our individual jobs, and play together and UN1TED. Going into the PAC we are going to take one game at a time and focus on our jobs for the moment.” Although playing in South Africa was fun, Froede is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the Pan Ams.
Longstreth Sporting Goods would like to congratulate the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Team on their extraordinary win in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals, and wish them further success in the Pan American Cup. Visit the Longstreth Sporting Goods website to learn more about our sponsored Field Hockey players.
Rule changes regarding equipment are constantly fluctuating and the latest shift concerns goggles. As many of you know, goggles are a key piece of equipment that high school and middle school women’s field hockey and women’s lacrosse players are required to wear.
In order for wire goggles to be legal for women’s field hockey, they must have a wire bar that stretches vertically through the goggle. The comparison between women’s field hockey and women’s lacrosse goggles can be found below.
Notice that there is no veritcal bar running through the player’s vision in the lacrosse goggle. The reasoning behind the need for the vertical bar in field hockey is to prevent the toe of a stick from getting in the goggle. In lacrosse, this is not an issue, therefore they do not require the vertical wire piece.
Keep this rule of thumb in mind, you CAN wear your women’s field hockey goggles for lacrosse, but CANNOT wear your women’s lacrosse goggles for field hockey. So if you are a duel-sport athlete and want to invest in only one pair of goggles, your best bet would be to purchase women’s field hockey goggles.
Many players prefer Bangerz goggles. There are two styles of Bangerz goggles that can be used for both women’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey. These are the Bangerz Elite Goggle and the Bangerz Sleek Fitting Youth Eyeguard. Unfortunately, the Bangerz Sunglasses Eye Protection is no longer legal for women’s field hockey. However, they are legal for women’s lacrosse.
If you’re wondering about your current goggles, or you are just in search of a new pair, feel free to contact Longstreth Sporting Good’s Retail Store or Customer Service with any questions you may have. Visit our Ask the Experts page to forward us any of your sports related questions. We are here to help!