By: Cass Jordan

OPINION-- High school and college field hockey season is a completely different environment. While the rules remain the same from club season, the atmosphere can grow increasingly dense.  Heavy weight is often put on outside factors like the local media, awards and recognition, the fans in attendance and more. This year’s RUSH Preseason Prep is geared to hyper-focus on what matters and filter out what does not.

Bonus: We have advice from RUSH Field Hockey Director Brian Scheldorn and our newest RUSH alums.

1. Routine. Routine. Routine.

Regardless of sport, every team has their own pre-game warm-up routine. It could be a morning jog around the hotel and a list of drills to run through moments before the game. However, a routine like that is for the entire team. What works for some, may not be everything you need to be game ready.

“I always have to change how I wear my hair and match my scrunchies to my uniform,” said RUSH alum Audrey Matthew. “I also must listen to my own pregame playlist on the way to the field.”

It can be as simple as a pre-game dance party in the locker room or that you always take an ice bath after home games.

The Point: Whether it’s physically or mentally, routine behaviors cultivate comfort to our body and our mind. It can be done before, during or after practices and games to grow confidence in our preparation, remind us to stay present while playing, and allow us to take care of our bodies and minds after we leave the field.

        2. Learn, Don’t Only Lead by Example

Captains struggle. Veteran goalkeepers struggle. The struggle isn't just "real" for freshmen. So how do we conquer the moment? Just because we are struggling does not mean we approach any of our coaches and teammates willing to listen. Depending on the subject, running to a coach time and time again can create a look of dependency and inability to work through problems. However, other people in your network could be the answer.

"Marissa Medici is my role model," said fellow RUSH alum Sawyer Post. "As a freshmen she took me under her wing and encouraged me to play RUSH. She helped me throughout the recruiting process and helped me get to play at the collegiate level."

The Point: When faced with a struggle or maybe you just need an opinion, take it one step further. Find that confidant whether it's a role model, team sports psychologist, a parent, or former coach or teammate. You may be someone's role model and not even know it. Learn from them so one day you can lead by an even better example.

        3. Keep Advice on Speed-Dial

Maybe a Michael Jordan quote is taped up in your locker. You may have a jar of accomplishments you add to after each practice. Whatever and or wherever the advice is, it is important to keep it handy. Advice needs to be ready at a moment's notice to remind you what is important. It can be simple or motivating, but most importantly you need to remind yourself of it.

RUSH Alum Meghan Schneider said Coach Brian's advice-- thinking of the center midfield position like the hub of a wheel-- has really stuck with her.

"If you get the ball from one side at a certain angle, you should be looking to give it in the opposite direction to open up the game," said Schneider. " I try to carry the idea of 'being the hub' wherever I am playing because I like to think of myself as a distributor on the field."

The Point: Advice is crucial in acting like bullet points to remember before going into a test. Recalling your advice could be all you need to pull yourself out of a funk. Not enough? Try talking your advice to yourself. Say it out loud--hear what you have to say-- and notice the difference.

          4. Remember What You're Chasing 

The Point: This is the point. Know what you're chasing. Set process goals as a player, offensive line, and as a team that align with what you are chasing. It is a given you probably love the game and that should be rooted in why you play, but keep growing and you will find new reasons to love it

"I love field hockey because it allows me to make unforgettable memories and friendships while getting better at playing the game and working with a team," said RUSH Alum Jenna Tampon.

Bonus Point: Remember these points and good luck in your season.