CHARDONEE WRIGHT — Staff Writer
Creating a bond with teammates on and off the field is what Paige Donlin, junior, elementary education major, said will help make the upcoming field hockey season a success.
“The most important aspect of playing well together as a team on the field is being able to relate to other teammates on and off the field,” said Donlin. “That energy can transfer over into the game.”
Hailing from Glastonbury, Donlin said her mother played field hockey when she was younger, and she encouraged Donlin to try out for Glastonbury’s high school field hockey team.
Although Donlin described herself as being a little intimidated by the high school coaches, she was able to overcome her nerves and eventually become a member of the field hockey team. She said she always kept one thing in mind.
“My parents,” said Donlin, “have always told me to always work hard because you never know who is watching you.”
Indeed someone was watching Donlin. In her freshman year of high school, she advanced to play in junior varsity. During her sophomore year, she advanced to the varsity team.
According to Southern’s website, she made All-State and All-Conference selection while playing at Glastonbury.
According to www.raven.dreamhost.com/fieldhockey/, a website which provides a brief history of field hockey; the sport is the oldest ball-and-stick game known. The game encompasses skill, stamina, speed, and power.
For Donlin, these key skills come from paying attention and practice.
“In the summer, I try to do as much playing as I can,” said Donlin.
Donlin was able to overcome all fears she had of playing field hockey and said she can relate to incoming freshmen. She finds it imperative for freshmen players to feel welcome before and during the season.
Campus athletes are amongst the first groups of students to move in on campus, and Donlin said quality time outside of field hockey can help break the ice between new and current players.
“We want to start this season off with having a good bond with each other,” said Donlin. “Knowing the freshmen is important.”
Personal quiet time is what Donlin said helps her prepare mentally before games.
“I get in the mindset that I have to do what I have to do,” said Donlin. “I like to keep to myself before games. I don’t completely shut down, but I usually listen to my music while walking to the field.”
Staying focused in practices also helps her prepare for the season. Donlin said that she does the best during games when she doesn’t set high expectations for herself. That way, she can stay focused.
Last season, Donlin’s position was halfback. According to hickosports.com, a website that provides field hockey glossary; a halfback is a player who plays both offense and defense while patrolling the middle area of the field.
Although Donlin said she isn’t sure which position she will play this season, she is ready to start.
According to Southern’s athletic website, the 2011 opening season game for the Owls will take place on Sept. 3, against Mansfield at Shippensburg, Pa.
Donlin had advice for her teammates to encourage them in making the upcoming season a successful one.
“My advice would be to stay focused and have fun with it, but keep in mind what we want to reach by the end of the season,” said Donlin.