Campers have a field day

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JULY 13, 2009 7:15 AM

Girls from across the Midwest showcased their skill for four days last week at the annual Iowa field-hockey camp.

High-schoolers from Wisconsin to Missouri competed and practiced with current Hawkeye players, learning new techniques and improving upon old ones.

Iowa head coach Tracey Griesbaum was excited with the players’ performance on the field. With aspirations to learn new skills and increase their field-hockey knowledge, the campers showed great enthusiasm, she said.

“The effort and the energy from the campers is really awesome,” Griesbaum said. “They seem really excited to play hockey, and a lot of them play hockey all summer long, so their still being energetic is still really good.”

Battling rain the first two days, the campers were forced to practice on the indoor turf at the Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex. Although they weren’t on the practice fields, they still didn’t miss a beat.

One prominent drill the campers performed worked on long-field passing. Everyone moved into five different stations in which players would receive and execute passes in a diagonal fashion. The whistle blew, and it looked like a factory assembly line. The campers smashed screaming passes to their peers with needlepoint precision.

Griesbaum was happy with the quick learning speed the campers possessed. Coaches only had to show the proper execution of the specific drills one time before they were ready to go.

“Well, the coaches/current team demonstrated some of the drills today … then the campers would just hop in and do the drill,” Griesbaum said.

After drill competition, the coach asked the girls what skills were needed in order for the exercise to run effectively. Players raised their hand and shout out such phrases as stick angle, ball placement, footwork, and passing angles. It was a very hands-on, feedback-driven coaching method.

One coach demonstrating the drills was a Hawkeye player just a little over five months ago. Recently named assistant coach Caroline Blaum is happy to begin her coaching career where her college playing career took place.

“It’s been a bit of a transition as far as the professional aspect goes, but I mean the team has been wonderful,” she said. “They were my teammates about five months ago, so it’s pretty cool. It’s weird especially to be back in the same facilities … and it’s quite a difference having to watch from the sideline.”

Iowa’s other assistant coach, Lisa Cellucci, is happy with Blaum’s progress despite only being an assistant for a week.

“She’s only three days on the job, but so far, so good,” Cellucci said on July 10. “I think she’ll be a great asset once we get moving along here, but so far, so good.”

The field-hockey camp was open to the public, and all high-school field-hockey players could attend. The campers were notified through brochures, website advertisements, and word of mouth.

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