This preseason, Dana Hall field hockey players stepped into a new season and on to a brand new turf field thanks to the generosity and hard work of many members of the Dana community. This new facility signifies an investment in the School’s collective Dragon spirit and commitment to athletics, and it means the world to our field hockey program. I am entering my fourth year of coaching field hockey at Dana, and while I had hopes for a turf field in the future when arriving in 2016, I am so thankful and impressed with the efficiency of completing this project for our student-athletes.
Anyone who has watched a field hockey game on grass versus a game on a turf field will immediately notice a difference in the speed of the game. On a turf field the ball moves faster, the passing patterns of the game evolve, and players can access an array of stick skills that are simply unavailable when playing on a grass field. There are fewer pesky whistles that are confusing to new fans (I’d love to hear of another sport with a foul for “third party” interference), making for a much more player-friendly and spectator-friendly experience. The unpredictability of the ball hitting a divot or taking a challenging bounce is nearly eliminated, thus elevating the level of play and need for strategy to compete with your opponent.
As for the Dana team, the turf field has given my players the opportunity to reach new heights and be as competitive as possible within the EIL (Eastern Independent League) and outside of our conference. I’m thrilled to report that the Varsity team has already surpassed their total number of goals scored last year (23), with 26 goals scored to date with nine games remaining in the regular season. We can prepare for our rivals who have turf fields without relying on the hope of renting time from a neighboring space. We can practice at the pace at which the Varsity level is expected to play when traveling to away games. We can prepare our Middle School program and JV players for the Varsity level effectively. Further, we can prepare all of our student-athletes who have hopes of playing in college where nearly all games are played on field turf or, even faster, astro turf.
Above all else we know we have the support of the Dana Hall community behind us, which is instrumental in our success each and every season. I believe that success and confidence in athletics translates into other areas of my players’ lives, and providing this setting for them to learn and thrive will be incredibly valuable to them at Dana and beyond.