Local coaches offer ‘Hot Styx’ clinic
Shrewsbury – For the last seven years, Shrewsbury girls have been invited to join the sisterhood of field hockey through the Hot Styx Field Hockey Clinic. For four days over summer vacation, girls in grades three through nine can partner with their elders on the Shrewsbury High School (SHS) field hockey team and learn about the sport.
Paula Toti and Lauren Chenevert team up to direct the clinic. Toti has been a physical education teacher and field hockey coach in Shrewsbury for nine years and Chenevert has been the head field hockey coach at SHS for 10 years.
According to Toti, the goal of the clinic is to expose the younger girls to the skills and knowledge needed for field hockey. She and Chenevert also see the clinic as an opportunity for the older girls on their team to give back to the sport by helping the younger girls learn.
"The girls really become like a big sister to the younger player," Toti said. "We have seen many girls start at this clinic and eventually try out for the High School team when they become freshmen. We are truly a family with our girls and we try to teach both the junior varsity and varsity teams that there is more to life than field hockey. Lauren and I try to be positive role models for them and they in return show that same role to the younger girls with this clinic."
Toti said there are generally approximately 40 girls who play on the JV and varsity field hockey teams and at their "breakaway party" each fall, information is given to the parents and the players and the girls are invited to help out at the Hot Styx clinic.
"They always show up ready to help. They truly understand the word 'team,'" Toti said.
The Hot Styx clinic is the first opportunity for many girls to get exposure to field hockey. Many of the girls watch their older sisters play but have no programs available to begin to experience the game for themselves. Toti and Chenevert have been working to create a feeder program at the middle school level to get younger girls involved sooner.
"Since we have not had a feeder program for this sport, the more exposure the player can get, the better," Toti said. "They will not feel like they are behind the eight ball once they get to High School and they will have more time to develop as a player."
According to Chenevert, this fall Shrewsbury middle schools will have a field hockey team that will be off ered to girls in grades five through eight. The team will practice and play competitive games under the direction of coach Erika Pratt. Chenevert and Toti are delighted that the younger girls will have an opportunity to play in middle school.
"I believe we are the only sport in town without a feeder program, so many girls don't even get to pick up a
field hockey] stick until ninth grade," Chenevert said. "This will be a great opportunity for them to play earlier."
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