Hold a winter training program in July?
That’s just what the ADK Field Hockey Club intends to do now that summer camps have been cleared to open in New York.
“We’ve got four beautiful outdoor fields. We want to get something going,” ADK director Jen Sykes said. “We’re giving our people the heads up, and we’re waiting for the green light.”
The ADK winter program at Afrim’s Sports Park was nearing its end in March when the facility was closed down in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had a few sessions left for the winter kids,” Sykes said. “We decided to launch into it with them and see how it goes. As far as spring and summer [sessions], we’re working on dates.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that New York will allow summer camps to open starting June 29. Sykes said ADK hopes to begin its sessions sometime in the first week of July.
ADK works with players in grades 3-12 from the Capital Region and other parts of the state.
“A lot of skill-based drills right now,” said Sykes, who is the varsity field hockey coach at Guilderland. “We just want to get the kids out there while sticking to the guidelines. The No. 1 priority is keeping everyone safe.”
Sykes said ADK will be using some of the return to play recommendations recently provided by US Field Hockey. The state has yet to release its own safety guidelines for summer camps, but a series of steps to keep participants and staff members safe is in the works.
“State regulations will dictate what we can do, and we will follow those guidelines,” Sykes said.
The ADK staff has a good idea of what some of those guidelines will involve.
“All of our friends and contacts in Europe went through this,” Sykes said. “I talked to a lot of them and it was, ‘This is how we did it,’ and they’re back to full practice. To see them come out of it gives you a little hope.”
The ADK staff was proactive in its planning while waiting for the announcement that camps could open. The initial ADK training plan includes a 10-to-1 player-to-coach ratio, and those players will remain in a designated zone while the coaches rotate to give instruction. No spectators will be allowed near the turf fields.
“We’ve got the supplies and equipment we need,” Sykes said. “We’ve got the social distance measures in place. We’ll have health screening. Waivers are ready to go. Our practices are mapped out. We have a plan to control the flow of players on and off the field.”