A Q&A with Megan Keating, the founder of Pinecones Field Hockey Club, who encourages players of all levels to join & learn new skills.
What made you start this organization?
Field hockey has been a huge part of my life for many years. When we moved to the Sandhills it seemed silly and selfish to not share this sport! With the encouragement of my husband, and support from USA Field Hockey and Harrow Sports, Pinecones became a reality.
How did the sport affect your childhood?
I started playing competitively when I was in the 7th grade. My freshman year of high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a collegiate career and dedicated the next four years to becoming a college recruit. Field hockey has given me opportunities to travel nationally and abroad and played a major part in my acceptance to a top 20 liberal arts college — plus, it ultimately led me to my husband! This sport, my coaches, and teammates have completely shaped me into the person I am today.
What benefit does the program have for young girls?
Our participants are stepping way outside of their comfort zone to play a sport that neither they or their parents have heard of! We aim to empower girls through sport by fostering teamwork, building confidence, and shaping character.
What experience levels are needed?
Absolutely none! Whenever a new mom emails or calls me to register their daughter, the very first thing they say is, “she has no experience and has never played before!” Every single one of our athletes is in the same boat, and we pride ourselves on offering a program that welcomes beginners of all ages. Now that our program is a few years old, we have returning players sprinkled in among our newbies and it is so fun to watch them help their teammates. Their leadership shines through and they become an extension of our coaching staff.
What is a typical practice like?
During each practice, we focus on a new skill. We start by introducing this skill in a chalk talk and with coach demos, then put it to work in drills and small game play. Drills can quickly become repetitive and boring, so adding competitive games brings a whole new edge to our practices! We build our skills week to week, so our athletes are able to refine and master what they’ve learned over the course of the program. We end each night with a scrimmage.
What equipment do you need?
A molded mouth guard and a pair of shin guards is all that is required. We have tons of sticks to borrow, and even goalie equipment for those who want to jump in the cage!
Are there games/tournaments?
We try to attend as many tournaments as we can! Our middle school athletes usually have the opportunity to travel to Charlotte in the Spring to play other North Carolina and South Carolina clubs. Our fall season is typically done in a “league” style program, where we split the group up into smaller teams and have tournament days.
When do we register?
Right now! Registration is open for our Spring Academy, which begins in late March. You can do it here.
This post produced in partnership with Pinecones Field Hockey Club.