TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 14, 2015 — The expansion of an idea

Three years ago, your Founder got some footage of a field hockey game between Lakeville Hotchkiss School (Conn.) and Greenwich (Conn.) Academy.

But the footage got lost when the version of iMovie I was using got upgraded, sending the clips to a digital graveyard.

The story was going to be about how Hotchkiss dominated the competition within the “A” Division of the New England Preparatory Schools Athletic Council (NEPSAC) because head coach Robin Chandler allows her left-handed ice hockey players to continue to play left-handed. This flummoxes the opposition — goalies, defenders, and even umpires.

Hotchkiss has, at times, attained a level of play which is higher than in any school in New England — public or private. A number of players have hit Division I colleges in ice hockey, but Carly Bennett is striking out on her own with her matriculation to Michigan for field hockey.

In the story we were going to do, we were going to show the reasons why playing left-handed isn’t supposed to work, and how Hotchkiss makes it happen and has done so for the better part of a decade.

Big Ten Network presenter Kara Lentz, a product of NEPSAC field hockey from her time at Concord St. Paul’s (N.H.), did this video story on Bennett, plus a primer on why a left-handed player can be effective in a game where right-handed sticks have been the norm since the rules were codified in the 1800s.

A couple of things to note in this story. One, Bennett uses a very long-toed stick, similar to what is often used by indoor goalies. Two, Bennett gets very low to the ground when she makes a forehand play on the ball on her left side. That increases accuracy and allows a player to disguise the height at which the ball will come off the stick. (Note: she never swings her stick as if to drive the ball).

I would also have liked to have seen how the strong-side/weak-side dichotomy led to the basic strategy of field hockey through the 20th Century: hit or carry the ball up the right side of the field away from your opponent’s strong-side tackle. Other than that, this is a very good feature. Have a look.

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