Though the Lady Flames field hockey team had their spring season cut short, the team is taking lessons learned from the spring to come back firing this fall
Though the Lady Flames field hockey team had their spring season cut short, the team is taking lessons learned from the spring to come back firing this fall.
Despite being a relatively young program, starting in 2011, Liberty’s field hockey team continues to post impressive seasons, moving closer to their goal of conference and national championship contention.
A lofty goal such as a national championship might seem distant to many, but Coach Parsley-Blocker and her staff are forging a path toward the top. Parsley-Blocker spoke about the progress the Lady Flames made this spring.
“What we really spent a ton of time developing this spring is grit, and the way that we define it is just having sustained passion and perseverance to a long-term goal,” Parsley-Blocker said.
Parsley-Blocker stressed the mental component of grit. Sessions were not designed to run the team into the ground and drain them physically. Rather, they used an approach that placed the players into scenarios they had to maneuver.
The problem-solving drills in practice do not just rely on the stick and the ball. Parsley-Blocker mentioned one drill in which teammates would have to guide a blindfolded player in an attempt to foster communication on the field.
While it does remain to be seen if results will follow, the program has plenty of optimism with the new additions to their training regimen. Parsley-Blocker mentioned the importance the program places on producing superior field hockey players.
“We want to run the best player development program in college field hockey,” Parsley-Blocker said. “That’s not something we take lightly.”
The development of players continues over the summer even when athletes cannot be on-campus. The players receive packets containing fitness and physical expectations they are to meet.
The first official organized team meeting is still up in the air.
This fall, the Lady Flames feature a number of seniors on their team, including All-Americans Ashley Dykema and Jill Bolton. While Parsley-Blocker noted that little weight is put on class divides, she mentioned the strong leadership characteristics of the senior class.
The preseason currently does not have plans set in stone, but there is a goal to scrimmage against top-tier teams. Scheduling preseason games against powerhouses in field hockey is something that the Flames continue to do, having scrimmaged the University of North Carolina last season. Parsley-Blocker attested to the necessity of preseason scrimmages, as they prepare the Flames for the challenge of top-ranked competition.
The Lady Flames will release their schedule soon and fans can expect to see more from the team’s social media as the season draws nearer.
Luke Randle is a Sports reporter