Field hockey: Skills and conditioning campers feel 'refreshed' in the pool

A group of girls participating in Gayle Taylor’s field hockey skills and conditioning camp lined up against the edge of the pool to start a series of conditioning drills at the Four Seasons Sports Complex on Wednesday.

The campers started with a series of “in-outs” where they had to pull themselves completely out of the pool and dip back in. This was completed in three repetitive motions for 30 seconds each, and the campers had to try and improve their previous number of in-outs each time.


Rosalia Cappadora, the 2015 Times Field Hockey Player of the Year, led these pool drills with a workout she got from Bertie Landes, a former Shippensburg University field hockey coach. Cappadora played for Landes as a freshman before Landes announced her retirement in December 2016.

Cappadora, an incoming junior at Shippensburg, said the workouts help the girls learn to work their legs hard rather than use their arms for support.

“I think it’s a little bit more enjoyment,” Cappadora said. “When we say ‘Get on the end line,’ it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, running again?’ Running is something we love to do when we’re on the field because we have a goal so that’s definitely something in the pool they like to see, achieve a goal. … I definitely think they feel refreshed coming out to the pool in the heat to cool down and swim around a little bit.

“It’s a little more relaxing and a good camaraderie group environment rather than just everyone running on their own.”

Cambria Leidy chats with us about the camp’s events.

There are about 65 girls participating in Taylor’s camp, which celebrates its 15th year this week.

“When I started this camp at Century, we had between 30-40 girls, and from there it just grew,” Taylor said. “Century was great, but if it rains, it messed everything up. I couldn’t go inside and I would miss nights. I felt bad because parents are paying for five nights, but I can’t control the weather. This is the best of both worlds. I can be out front on a beautiful day like this and on Monday when it was storming and raining, we were inside on the turf.

“It gives the girls a balance of the faster turf skills and then outside for the grass, and then you have the pool.”

Campers are divided into two groups — one group works out in the pool for 35 minutes while the second group does agility and conditioning on the grass field toward the front of the complex.

Cambria Leidy, an incoming senior at Manchester Valley, said the camp is tough but she’s always learning something new. The pool adds an interesting touch to the camp’s rigorous workouts in the early-August humidity.

“It’s nice to have something different, and that’s also why I really like this camp because I feel like we’re not always doing the same thing,” Leidy said. “When you come here, there’s different workouts, so I think the pool gives us fun in a different variety.”

Taylor said there are girls who join the camp every year who have never played field hockey. This camp provides its participants with a positive exposure to the sport, especially with the start of fall sports tryouts and practices the next week.

It’s the way she’s always formatted the camp’s dates.

“We’re essentially taking them through a tryout from the beginning to the end,” Taylor said. “We’re throwing words out, throwing tackles and flat passes so they know when their coach says that they know what it means so they’re not looking around like they’re lost. Once they step on the tryout field, they’re ready to go, where others that didn’t take advantage of the camp are going to be sore later in the week.”