Club field hockey strengthens team friendships and skills

February 10, 2017 — by Lina Kim

Without a single word or gesture to one another, senior midfielder Hannah Leonard skillfully passed the ball to fellow senior forward Tina Miller, who sent the ball into the back of the net. The crowd went wild and the coaches beamed with pride: the girls had once again won the game.

Even off season, the Falcon field hockey girls are working hard, playing in tournaments with Impact, a field hockey club organized by Saratoga parents and former players in 2008. In an effort to hone their skills for the school season, many members from the school team participate in Impact during their off-season.

Currently, 13 Falcons are playing for Impact, including six former varsity players. Star players Miller and Leonard are among the six who have been playing on the team since eighth grade. For them, field hockey has been a passion since a young age, and participating during the school season and off-season has become an annual routine.

Along with tightening friendships, training together for all these years has made the two familiar with each other’s way of playing. They feel comfortable predicting each other’s next moves, which has shown to be a huge advantage in games.

Not only are the girls able to practice with their Impact teammates, but they are also coached by their school season coaches Leaf Huynh, Nanu Sidhu, Kam Sidhu and Sarah Price.

“It’s not just really reassuring that we have this support and opportunity to work on our skills for the season ahead, but it's also humbling because our own coaches take time out of their lives to make a Saratoga club for us,” junior defensive fullback Tiffany Vu said.

With Impact, the girls get the chance to condition through sprints and cardio workouts, as well as work on their techniques. They can also explore different positions they normally would not play during the school season.

“Whenever you play on Impact, you improve,” Leonard said. “It’s also easy to see the development in the younger players who choose to play in the off-season because they are the ones who develop the most.”

For Leonard and Miller, who are both graduating seniors, this off-season may be the last chance they can play competitively together as teammates and best friends before heading off to separate colleges.

“Impact is always really fun so we look forward to all of the tournaments and events,” Leonard said. “We're really going to miss playing next year. The fact that this is our last season is really sad because [Miller] and I have been doing it for so long.”

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