Youtube is a great source for instructional videos.

Here are the basics that we teach all players.

The Yardstick Drill – practice this at home on a rug.

Take a look at this Facebook page for some great field hockey skills:

This is an interesting article from the Journal News 9/2021

ACL tears, which often lead to early-adult arthritis, called high school sports ‘epidemic’

Nancy Haggerty 

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Alex Doukas was moving behind the net. A Bronxville girls lacrosse teammate threw her a pass. It was high. Doukas jumped for the ball. So did the John Jay-Cross River defensive player. In the air, they collided, the girl smashing into the outside of Doukas’ right knee.

Doukas landed with that knee still positioned inward, then caught her cleat in a mended piece of turf. She went down, her face writhing more with anguish than pain.

“I knew right away. I heard it and felt it. I was heartbroken,” said Doukas, whose high school lacrosse career ended in that May 6, 2020 game with her third ACL tear.

ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament and tears are common among high school athletes.

It’s a devastating injury that, short-term, can keep an athlete sidelined for a year. Long-term, it often leads to arthritis at an early age.

Some sports, including football, soccer, volleyball and lacrosse, pose a higher risk for the injury. And girls are more prone to the tears.

Anatomy and perhaps hormones are thought to be contributing factors in that.

“It’s very rare to have a group of girls here and not have one who has had an ACL (tear),” noted Cassie Reilly-Boccia, co-founder of Athletes Warehouse, a physical conditioning and baseball/softball practice and instruction gym in Pleasantville. 

Reilly-Boccia, whose clients include those working out in part to prevent tears and those trying to return to play after ACL injuries, noted the rate of ACL tears among female athletes exceeds that of their male counterparts. Besides wider hips contributing to riskier landings after jumps, some recent studies suggest female hormones increase joint elasticity, possibly increasing the likelihood of ACL tears.

“Everyone wants one answer, but we really might never get it,” she added of the cause.

“The medical community knows more but the rate is still going up. People are still getting hurt,” Reilly-Boccia said. “I really do think it’s not necessarily one thing but a combination.”

The building in which her facility is located also houses SPEAR Physical Therapy.

“We get at least two or three a season, if not more,” physical therapist Sarah Lloyd said of patients recovering from ACL tears. “It’s just a huge issue.”

To put in perspective how widespread the problem is, Lloyd, a former Princeton lacrosse star who has been a physical therapist for three years, said, “One of the reasons I ended up a physical therapist is I had a lot of friends and fellow teammates who tore their ACL.”

This isn’t a simple injury. Surgery is the prescribed course of treatment, followed by many months of rehab.

It’s an epidemic

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association, which oversees high school athletics in the state, doesn’t keep data on ACL injuries.

Various studies place the number of ACL tears yearly in the U.S. at anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000. That’s a huge range, but both numbers signify a major problem.

Dr. Andrew Pearle, a Rye resident and orthopedic surgeon at Manhattan’s Hospital for Special Surgeries, goes a step further than “major.”

He says ACL tears amount to a “kind of epidemic.”

“It’s absolutely a worsening problem,” he said. “It’s like the concussion story. It’s an incredible story.”

Pearle cited a study showing a 300% increase in ACL tears over a 10-year period, 2000-2010, and said the problem has risen significantly since then.

“In New York state, there’s been an explosion the last 10 years with the highest rate in 15- to 18-year-olds … and it’s continuing to go up,” said Pearle.

“It’s an incredibly horrible thing that’s going on. If an adolescent tears an ACL, they’re pretty much destined to have a disability in early adulthood,” Pearle said, referring to the “downstream affect” of arthritis in the damaged knee.

In fact, there’s a better than 50% chance those who’ve had an ACL tear will get arthritis within 10 to 20 years, he said.

Some are so severe that if patients were older, they’d be candidates for partial or full knee replacement. But physicians prefer to wait on that kind of surgery until people are at least in their 40s.

Pearle noted he has replaced the knees of those in their early 40s with the vast majority having previously suffered an ACL tear.

Pearle performs about 150 actual ACL surgical repairs a year. On a Wednesday earlier this summer, he did four. Three were on teenagers.

He knows he may see some of those kids again.

For boys and girls, the chances of tearing a repaired ACL are 8%, Pearle said, and those who tear one ACL are 12% more likely to tear the same ligament on the other knee, due in part to an athlete compensating with that leg.

And if an ACL is repaired twice, the odds of it tearing again zoom to 25%, he said.

About 70% of ACL tears are non-contact injuries, Pearle added. Of those, he said probably half are preventable.

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Athletes’ stories

Since several older high school and club teammates had suffered ACL tears, Doukas knew about them before tearing her left ACL for the first time in eighth grade while playing in a lacrosse game.

Her first and second tears occurred while she was running and planting her foot.

The second tear of left ACL was different from her other tears. She could run and didn’t initially realize she’d re-torn it. In fact, with her ACL torn, the then-freshman scored Bronxville’s winning overtime goal against Putnam Valley to capture the 2018 Section 1 Class D championship.

She calls her latest ACL tear a “freak accident.”

How much the field’s surface played a role in Doukas’ and other athletes’ injuries will never be known.

But while area high schools are rushing to install more turf, multiple medical studies conclude natural grass is safer, since it provides more give when planting, landing and turning.

Doukas can’t guess the number of people she has known through club and Section 1 play with an ACL injury, saying, “Unfortunately, many athletes.”

ACL tears, which often lead to early-adult arthritis, called high school sports ‘epidemic’

Nancy Haggerty

Rockland/Westchester Journal News

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For parents, coaches, and officials:

Field Hockey: Understanding the Game 2017-18
Field Hockey: Understanding the Game 2017-18
by Mr. Cristopher MaloneyAvailable at Amazon