This summer saw another first for women’s field hockey as a world class coach & former 8 year US National Team (indoor & outdoor) player Jill Dedman came to town offering a specialized clinic for goalkeepers right here in Dexter.
A dozen up-and-coming Michigan goalkeepers from around the state came to Dexter for four days of intense training at this Michigan version of Blockstar Field Hockey. Blockstar, and Jill, hail from southern California and came to town to hold this unique training for goalkeepers. This caliber of training is very specialized and reflects the growth and interest in the sport of Field Hockey within the State.
“It was an absolute pleasure to come to Dexter and work with so many talented athletes,” Dedman said. “The enthusiasm the players brought to each training session was awesome. It was great to see the keepers really embody what it means to be a Blockstar.
“Goalkeeping is such an important position and the up-and-coming keepers of Michigan are hard working, fierce, athletic players with a desire to improve. Laura Jones (parent of Dexter keeper Maggie Jones) and Coach Tamer were instrumental in getting me out here and that is a testament to the dedication and growth of the sport in the area.
“Everyone I met in Michigan from the parents, coaches, athletes, and even people at the grocery store were so welcoming. The sense of community here is similar to what Blockstar aims to build among the athletes. I will certainly be back again.”
Keeley Tamer, Director of Community Ed Field Hockey and Associate Head Coach of the Varsity Dreadnaught team attended a specialized coaches training night as well as spending time observing several training sessions.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the goalkeepers in Michigan to work with someone of Jill’s caliber,” Tamer said. “She is talented in her own right but an equally gifted teacher. I know all of the girls improved this week from their time with Jill.”
Clinics were offered for young keepers just starting out and a separate series of sessions for advanced skill development.
Tracie Faupel of Chelsea whose 11 year old daughter Nina participated in the Beginner’s Clinic, remarked that the Blockstar training “was the first goalie specific camp Nina’s experienced. She not only learned a ton from Jill, but more importantly, she had the time of her life. Jill helped teach her what I try to tell her almost everyday, that it’s ok for a girl to be strong and athletic. It’s actually more than ok, it’s awesome.”
This sentiment is right in line with Blockstar’s mission.
“My aim with Blockstar is to empower goalkeepers to recognize that they are game changers,” Dedman explained. “It is a unique position, where athleticism, hard work, determination, and a strong mind all come into play. It was great to see the limitless attitudes that these keepers came to the training with. They ran fast and hard and embraced every learning opportunity. I am excited to see how they continue to develop in the upcoming years.”
The athletes all remarked how much they enjoyed working with someone of Jill’s caliber and how little it seemed like work at all.
Rising Dexter seventh grader Maya Calloway had a Blockstar training session with Jill just prior to Dexter summer field hockey camp the next week. Maya is a new Dexter Keeper and part of the future of Dexter Field Hockey.
Maya remarked, “It was really fun because Jill taught me everything I wanted to learn. She’s awesome.”
The advanced sessions taught the players skills they had never seen before, and ways to deal with the unique situations only a keeper will face. One particularly interesting skill involved kicking in a whole new way. Players learned they could kick the ball in the air down the entire field?
No players were aware of the move or the rule before, so look for some booted sky-high balls from these Michigan Blockstar Keepers this coming season.
Training sessions focused on a variety of skill development, including hand eye coordination on the ball while the keeper is moving. Dexter’s own Maggie Jones demonstrated this skill very well.
Keepers were also taught how to launch their body to save balls that are high and in the corners of the goal. This is a high level skill, mostly seen on the collegiate and international level.
Training wrapped up with success for all Keepers improving their game and skills. Each one remarked how much they got out of the training. Keepers are often the ‘side’ player, since they play such a different position and skill set than field players. Unfortunately, sometimes without proper training, their development can be affected by this.
Parent Rob R. of Farmington Hills recognizes this obstacle.
“It’s a bit of a challenge as parents of field hockey goal keepers to find top notch training,” he said. “Sure, field hockey players can practice shooting on the goalies but there is a lot more to a goalie than that. Thankfully, Jill at Blockstar is the perfect training solution. Our daughter loved all her training sessions, loved the atmosphere and fun, and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in tips and techniques. There is no better teacher for a goalie than one who has played at a National level all over the world. Our daughter can’t wait for additional training sessions. Thank you Jill.”
Nationally, there is no overabundance of specialized goalkeeper coaches, and having the opportunity for this kind of high level keeper training in Dexter is a reflection of the commitment in Dexter to raise the game for everyone in Michigan.
The advanced skills clinic saw multiple keepers from around the State of Michigan. From Chelsea, Payton Doan and Meagan O’Hara, from Saline Keerthana Akella, from Grosse Pointe South Madison Thomas, from Pinnacle Chiane Reusser, from Pioneer Jessie Gott, and from the home team here in Dexter at Mill Creek, Maggie Jones.
Each player had something to say about the high caliber of training.
“I look forward to Blockstar developing a Michigan program and reaching more goalkeepers in this area. This is the training goalkeepers here need to take their game to the next level.” Said Keely Tamer.
Dexter field hockey will be entering Division 1 play this season.
Thank you to Laura Jones for submitting this article and accompanying photos for publish on our site.
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