Clinic gives younger players chance to learn field hockey
NEW MILFORD — Nicole Madorran loves field hockey and coaching the sport and both of those things were evident for anyone who was around the fields of Schaghticoke Middle School and Northville School the last two months.
Madorran’s first field hockey clinic for children in kindergarten through fifth grade drew a high turnout and created a fun experience for the participants.
Madorran has been a familiar face on the sidelines at New Milford High where she is the freshman and assistant varsity field hockey coach. Madorran had run a clinic for middle school-aged children the past two years and decided to get younger players involved this year. The eight-week clinic drew more than 20 players.
“This was awesome because it was a brand new thing and there hasn’t been something for field hockey for this age group in town.” she said. “Schaghticoke Middle School has a team for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and I had started doing a winter clinic with them a couple years ago so we would see them and get to work with them a little bit before they came to the high school.
“That worked out really well and I thought, ‘Hey, let’s see how young we can corral them up.’ We announced in the Park and Rec flyer and they all came out.”
The players received an intro into the many different skills that make up the game of field hockey. Madorran taught them stick-handling, ball-handling, drives, lifts passing and shooting. One camper even threw on the goalie gear and got into the cage to see what that was like during one of the sessions.
“Nicole is a super coach and I was lucky enough to have her as a player in our program,” New Milford High field hockey coach Dawn Hough said. “She has a very strong foundation and understanding of the game of field hockey.”
The atmosphere was relaxed but the young players were obviously excited and eager to learn, making Madorran’s job a bit easier.
“They are so impressionable at this age, and as far as the skills, they will just do and try what you say,” Madorran said. “This gives them a chance to see what field hockey is, to learn to love it and to be able to see the basic skiils at this young age and they will be seeing and doing those same things their whole field hockey careers.”
The main goal of the clinic was to teach the players the basic skills they need to be ready to be on the field and to develop a love for the game, which Madorran developed despite coming to field hockey later in her athletic career.
“I played lacrosse in high school and had not even really heard of field hockey until I got to high school and took up the game as a sophomore,” Madorran said. “I wish they did have something like this for kids when I was growing up, I think I would have loved it.”
Madorran said she plans to have sessions for both the K-5 group and middle school group in the winter and is seeking an indoor facility to host the clinics.
“I'm very excited to get the little ones in our town excited about field hockey,” Madorran said. “I really enjoy the challenge of the sport. I always tell girls who start out playing freshman or sophomore year that it doesn't matter when you start playing, if you put in time and effort it goes a long way in this sport.”