The mission of the Lightning Youth Field Hockey is to build team-spirit and -responsibility, self-confidence, develop life-skills, and instill a love of field hockey in all our athletes.
The goal of our club is to provide age-appropriate training for players to improve their field hockey skills in a competitive, safe, fun environment. We welcome players of all abilities to develop the foundational skill set necessary to play field hockey. Our training sessions are 2 hours in duration. Each session combines individual skill work, small team/tactical play and scrimmage. Most importantly, we are having fun with the sport we all love!
Too often, excessive levels of pressure and competitive demands are placed on young athletes. This results in high levels of abandonment from sport. A balanced approach to competition can make a significant contribution to the development of young athletes while at the same time providing fun, enjoyment and satisfaction. Our club aims to put the welfare of the child first and in appropriate balance with a healthy competitive spirit. A child-centred approach will help to ensure that competition and specialization are kept in their appropriate place.
Guidelines and Policies:
Players must play within their age group, as defined by the USA Field Hockey Association. “Playing Up” is at the discretion of both the coach of the team the player is on and the coach of the team he/she wishes to move to. In order to create well rounded teams, it is often important that higher skilled players play in their age group in order to elevate the play of their teammates. Additionally, it affords the player an opportunity to take on a team leadership role.
At the U8 and U10 level, teams will be balanced so that players are able to build their skills, rotate through positions and retain more of a social feeling. This will promote rounded development of players, positive sports experiences and create a very strong foundation for more competitive play at the older levels.
At the U12 and U14+ levels, teams will be aligned more closely (but not exclusively) on player skill level. Individual skill, prior tournament experience, player positions, and confidence and leadership on the field are all aspects considered by the coaches when selecting team rosters. This will demand a stronger commitment from the players in their attendance to regular practice as well as extra practices and tournaments. This will promote more specialized skill development, development of unit / team play, and forming of teams that have experience playing together. Additionally, this will also help in player retention in the older age groups.
There is an expectation of player attendance to at least 80% of practices in order to be part of the club and be considered for tournaments. This is out of respect and fairness to teammates and coaching staff. In order for players to improve, develop friendships and trust with teammates and learn the strategy of the game, a minimum level of practice with the team is required.Players are expected to arrive to practice and tournaments at the designated start time, prepared and ready. At the start of practice, players need shin guards, mouth guards, water, proper shoes, stick and uniform. It is not the responsibility of the club and/or coaching staff to ensure that shin guards and mouthguards are being worn. Players might be sent off the field if they are missing any required equipment at practice or games. However, it is not the coaching staff’s responsibility to enforce wearing of safety equipment.
CalCup is the season highlight and our championship. It is a very large international tournament for all age groups and takes place on Memorial Day weekend in Moorpark, CA. CalCup is unlike other tournaments in that it is a more competitive environment, requires a time commitment from both the coaches and players and is costly. Participation on a CalCup team will be weighted on a number of items (in no particular order): The coaching staff’s discretion in creating the teamsPlayer’s individual skill levelAttendance at practices and tournaments throughout the seasonHaving enough players to field a reasonably competitive team to ensure a positive tournament experience. Availability of a coach to coach the team Guest Players: Lightning Youth Field Hockey reserves the right to bring on guest players to ensure enough players on a team but not at the expense of a club member's spot on the team. Additionally, in some circumstances where there are not enough club players to field a Lightning team, players may be asked to participate as a guest player on another team.
Weather: We will hold practice and/or attend tournaments rain or shine. Only if field conditions require cancellation or if there is lightning/thunder storms will practice or tournaments be cancelled. This will be communicated via Team Snap.
Parent Volunteer Coaching: Parent volunteers are welcome to help coaches when asked. In order to be a parent volunteer coach, you must read and sign the Sports Leader Code of Conduct, indicating your commitment and adherence to the guidelines. Any violation of the Sports Leader Code of Conduct can lead to further action up to and including dismissal from the club.
Ratio of boys and girls on the field during games: In the U8-U12 divisions, Boys and girls play together. At the U12 division, provided there are enough players, we may begin to separate them a little more during practice to address different physical development. As of U14 they are split for all tournaments and during practice as much as the numbers of players allows.
Rotation of players between rosters: In U8-U10 we mix teams (see above). As of U12 we begin to form more static team rosters based on multiple factors (see above). Those will generally play as teams at all tournaments. That said, given availability of players and also to keep things flexible enough, given players a more varied experience, we do move players around the teams a bit throughout the season. As we approach CalCup (fixed rosters), we limit changes to give teams as much team experience.
Rotation of players on a roster during tournament play: During games we aim to give every child as much play time as possible. In the U8-U10 division we aim at equal playing time for every child. At the U12-U14 divisions, as we become a bit more competitive, individual players’ play time will begin to vary a bit more. We substitute frequently during the games and players’ positions and skill level and experience will impact substitutions.
Rotation of players in field positions at the younger levels: In the U8-U10 divisions and in the first few years of new players, we give players the opportunity to experience various positions on the field between forward, mid, defense and goal. Most children have talents in multiple positions and it often takes some time to find ones sweetspot. Appreciating each position and having played each is part of learning the sport. As players mature and during the U12-U14 years it is typical for players to enjoy and provide the greatest team contribution in certain positions. We make every effort to cater to their preferences while assembling a team that performs well together. After all, field hockey is a team sport and a team of 11 forwards will lose every game.
Coaching Philosophy Field hockey recognises the key role leaders (coaches, youth administrators, captains, selectors and team managers, etc.) play in the lives of young people in sports. Leaders in hockey should strive to create a positive environment for the children in their care. This means that leaders should have a basic understanding of the emotional, physical and personal needs of young people. The stages of development and ability should guide the types of activity provided within field hockey. Leaders have an overall responsibility to take the necessary steps to ensure that positive and healthy experiences are provided. All leaders should have as their first priority the children’s safety and enjoyment of hockey.