Since Thanksgiving tournaments (USFHA Festival and Shooting Stars Showcase) is around the corner, I thought this is a good subject to address.
For those who may not know… the USA Field Hockey Association’s “National Field Hockey Festival” is their marquis event, open to over 3000 teenagers and adults playing hockey for three days over Thanksgiving weekend in Florida on polo grounds. Three years ago it was met with competition by a recruiting company called 3STEP Sports which runs a 2-day tournament on turf in Richmond Virginia over the same weekend.
While competition is typically considered good, in this case, not so much. Why? Because it makes college coaches have to decide where they want to be to watch high school hockey talent (watch you play).
For younger players, this is less of a concern, but for older players (high school juniors and seniors) this is a big concern. Players have less choice as they now have to go where their club goes, not necessarily where their school-of-interest will be. This is a big change for the prospect. In my view, it becomes an issue in trying to be seen.
That makes it even more important you create an outreach and communication strategy that starts early in your career. I addressed ways of doing that in an earlier email and blog.
Another piece to this puzzle that has changed the last few years, is the proliferation of showcase. Call it a showcase, and they will come. But if your game is not where it should be, or you are not prepared to show-off you talents (or lack thereof).
I separate high school hockey development into three elemnts:
PRACTICE & GAME PLAY
then SHOWCASE your talent
You need all three in order to be good and get recruited.