To bring a higher level of field hockey to all age groups in Northern VA

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Thank you for visiting our Frequently Asked Questions page!  We hope this provides some valuable information about the season ahead .  FAQs are organized by subject.  If you have a question that is not found in this list, please email us at .

 

EQUIPMENT
STICKS
GOALIES
UNIFORMS
PRACTICE WEAR
FOOTWEAR
EYEWEAR
PFH STORE
PRACTICES
GAMES

LEVELS OF PLAY
SKILLS
SPECIAL EVENTS
RULES
VOLUNTEERING
TEAMS
LEAGUE FEES
COMMUNICATION

 

 

EQUIPMENT

Q.   I'm new to hockey.  What kind of equipment do I need?
A.   All players need their own field hockey stick, field hockey shin guards, and mouth guard.

Q.   What kind of shin guards does each girl need?
A.   Field Hockey shin guards are made differently than soccer shin guards as they are taller and cover the entire shin area.  As players are more likely to get hit by a ball or stick on the entire shin, field hockey shin guards are made to cover and protect the entire shin.  If you can see space between the top of the shin guard and the knee cap, taller shin guards are needed.

Q.  Is there a kit I can purchase for my child so that they have everything they need?  
A.  The best place to purchase youth player kits is Longstreth.com, located in Pennsylvania.  The carry several different stick youth stick packages that typically include sticks in smaller sizes, shin guard, mouth guards, and balls.  Click here to visit their stick package page.
 
Q.   What should my daughter bring to the first practice?
A.   All players should bring their equipment (stick, shin guards, mouth guard), and water bottle as well as wear proper footwear to all practices and games.  Coaches do not carry additional player personal equipment.  Players will receive a PFH reversible pinnie on the first day of practice which should be worn to all subsequent practices as well as games.
 
 
 
 
Q.  As a brand new field hockey player, what is the appropriate kind of stick to buy for the season?
A.  The best kind of stick for a new player is a basic wood stick that is coated in composite material.  The wood allows the player to develop their touch on and feel for the ball without relying on the power of the composite materials to move the ball.  However, there are no set rules for what kind of stick you buy.  Youth sticks are simply designated as such because they are available in shorter lengths such as 28", 30", 32", and 34".  Most adult sizes sticks are 35", 36", and 37".
 

Q.  How long are the girls in beginner sticks before moving up to intermediate sticks?
A.  This is entirely up to the player and parent.  Sticks touted as "beginner" sticks are usually labelled as such due to the shorter lengths available as well as the primarily material being wood.  Sticks labelled as "intermediate,"  "competitive," "advanced," "elite," etc are usually based on the materials that the stick are made out of (carbon, graphite, fiberglass, kevlar, etc);  the better/higher grade materials, the higher the price of stick.  If a player decides that hockey is their primary sport and plays more often, the more they will get out of and appreciate a stick made fo composite materials

Q.  How long should it be for a girl who is 4' 11" tall?  
A.  There are several different methods for selecting a stick length.  Sticks can generically be sized based on height, although some players have longer legs than others.  A good rule of thumb is to purchase a stick that is as high as the highest point in your hip bone.  The Dutch method includes measuring a stick to fit between your arm pit and your knee.  Click here for more information and a size chart.

Q.  Where are the best places to order sticks?
A.  We love Longstreth.com as not only are they deemed experts in womens sports including field hockey, but they carry a wide variety of brands, styles, materials, sizes, and colors for sticks.  They have a great customer service department and orders usually ship within 2 days.  However, now that field hockey is becoming more popular, you will find them in local sports stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods, however most sales associates are not familiar with field hockey.
 

Q.  Where can I get a cheap stick?
A.   Some folks use the PFH FH Exchange page where individuals sell used sticks and other equipment.  Play It Again Sports is also another store location that has some field hockey equipment.  Other online stores include CraigsList and EBay.

 
 
 
Q.  Why does PFH require goalies for 5/6 and 7/8 grade teams?
A.  As players get older and more experienced, it becomes easier for them to move the ball and score goals.  Goalies not only provide an additional challenge to game play but it is an integral part of the high school game as goalkeepers are required.  Why not find out how much fun it is to play the goalkeeper position now?  : )
 
Q.  Do we play with goalies in 3/4th grade?
A.  Goalies at the 3/4 age group are encouraged but not required.  3/4 Grade teams are still considered developmental as they play on an officially sized 7v7 field (60 x 100 yds) as well as officially sized goal cages (12'W x 7'H) which takes some time getting used to.
 
 
 

Q.  What uniforms are required for PFH Youth Rec League?
A.  The only required uniform piece is the navy and white reversible pinnie that each player receives at the beginning of the season.  This pinnie should be worn to practices and games.

Q.  I see some folks wearing PFH shorts and kilt - are those required?
A.  At one time they were required but they became an added expense to someone first joining the league.  PFH shorts and kilts are no longer available.  Players should wear any dark colored shorts or kilts that they are comfortable wearing.

Q.  Are socks required?
A.  Most shin guards need socks to cover them to keep shin guards in place. There are no specific types or colors required.  We do encourage that when your team is wearing the navy side of the pinnie, players wear darker socks (black or navy) and when wearing the white side of the pinnie, players wear white socks.  Players at this age still tend to be looking down and will pass to girls in socks the same color as the pinnie they are wearing.

Q.  When it gets cold, are there any clothing restrictions?
A.  To ensure that all players are fully-equipped and wearing shin guards, shin guards and socks should be worn on the outside of pants.  To ensure that all of the players on a team match, garments with sleeves should be worn under the PFH pinnie.  Soft hats and gloves may be worn;  baseball caps must not be worn because of the protruding bill.

 
 
 

Q.  What are good practice clothes? 
A.  Anything that your child is most comfortable in is just fine for practices as long as they wear their PFH pinnie to practice!

Q.  When it gets cold, can my child wear his/her sweatshirt?
A.  Of course but make sure the PFH pinnie is on top of the sweatshirt.

 

FOOTWEAR

Q.  What type of shoes should our daughter wear?
A.  Most players wear soccer cleats for practices and games.  Any well- and grippy-soled shoe is fine.  Please note that most seasons we play on both grass and turf so choose the right footwear that your child is most comfortable in.  We do not recommend court or basketball shoes nor cleats with any metal on the bottom of the shoe.
 
Q.  Are regular tennis shoes ok?
A.  Regular tennis shoes or running shoes are fine as long as they have enough tread on the bottom to properly grip the ground.
 
 
 

EYEWEAR

Q.  Can my child wear glasses during practices and games?
A.  Yes!  Glasses are permitted during practices and games.  It is recommended that they have a strap on the back to make sure they stay on.
 
Q.  Do the girls use the eye protection masks if they don't wear glasses?
A.  No.  PFH is a USAFH member club and we therefore follow FIH (international governing body) rules which do not require eyewear.  Eyewear is only a requirement for Varsity and JV high school teams as per the Virginia High School League (VHSL) rules.
 
Q.  May my daughter wear eyewear even though it is not required?
A.  Yes, however wire-cage style that most lacrosse players wear as NOT allowed.  As a USAFH member club, we follow their rules which state that eyewear must have smooth edges.  Click here for an article on eyewear/goggles.

 

PFH STORE

Q.  Can I purchase equipment and uniforms via the PFH Store?  
A.  PFH no longer has an online store.  We will set up equipment purchasing via Longstreth.com before the start of each season so that players can purchase sticks, shin guards, and other equipment.

 

 

PRACTICES

Q.  Where are practices held?
A.  All practices for 3-8 Grade teams are held at Bolen Park in Leesburg.  All practices for PreK/K and 1/2 Grade teams are held at the Dulles Sportsplex in Sterling.
 
Q.  Are practices held on turf or grass?
A.  Practices for 3-8 Grade teams are held on Bermuda grass fields.  Practices for PreK/K and 1/2 Grade teams are held on indoor turf fields.
 
Q.  Are there practices in South Riding? 
A.  Practices are only held in Leesburg or Sterling at this time.
 
Q.  What can I expect to happen at a practice?
A.  Team practices are run by head and assistant coaches which follow typicaly pattern of runs/warm ups, stretches, stick skill drills, team skill drills, and set pieces (ie, Penalty Corners).  PFH does not assign curriculums to coaches so that the coaches can tailor their practices based on the needs of the team and so that each season is not a repeat of the season before.  PFH does provide several curriculums/programs to coaches to use from the US and Canada to base their practices on.
 
Q.  What happens if a practice is cancelled?
A.  Unfortunately with the number of teams we have each season, we do not have field space for make ups.  Cancelled practices will not be made up.  Cancellation notices will be sent via Rained Out.  Please make sure to sign up so you can receive notifications via email, text, or both!
 
 
 
Q.  When will I find out my child's game schedule?
A.  Once the number of PFH and outside league teams are set, we begin working on the game schedule.  The game schedule is typically posted no later than a week before the first game although we strive to release it as soon as possible.  Once games are loaded into the system, teams will receive automatic notification that they have been posted.
 
Q.  Where can I find my team schedule?
A.  Each team has a Team Page which can be found using the PFH web site.  Click on Team Pages on the horizontal menu bar, then   Team Pages:  Choose a Team:  Select Season:  Select Age Group:  Select Team.  Each Team Page includes a "Next 10 Events" calendar on the main page but you can also click on the "Schedule" link on the left menu of the Team Page to see a complete list of all events for your team for the season.
 
Q. How do I find out where the "away" games are?
A.  Game locations are included on the game schedule.  Most PFH Youth Rec League games are played at Bolen Park, however some teams will have games at Nike Field in Great Falls in the spring or at Herndon High School in Herndon in the fall.  You can either click on the location for an active link to the address and directions or you can also visit our Fields and Facilities page for a complete list of locations.
 
Q.  What happens if a game is cancelled?
A.  Unfortunately with the number of teams we have each season, we do not have field space for make ups.  Cancelled games will not be made up.  Cancellation notices will be sent via Rained Out.  Please make sure to sign up so you can receive notifications via email, text, or both!
 
 
 
 
Q. Are there different levels of play?
A. There is only one level of play for Youth Rec League.  However, in the fall, we do run an All Star tournament in cooperation with the other area rec leagues that we participate with.  Your child may be selected by his or her coach/team to represent in the All Star tournament. 
 
Q. Where would we find different levels of play?
A. Our Potomac Rapids club travel program has different levels of play for players and families who are ready to make the commitment to more time consuming training and costs.  Training at this level is led by certified USA Field Hockey (USAFH, the national governing body in the USA) coaches.  Girls do not necessarily play a game every weekend and instead travel to tournaments locally, regionally, and sometimes nationally to compete.  Tournaments normally consist of either four 25 minute games or two 50 minute games depending on age group and type of tournament.  Many (but not all) tournaments have different pools for stronger teams. 
 
Q.  Can boys play travel hockey?
A.  As a USAFH member club, the Rapids follow the USAFH guidelines.  Per USAFH, boys may participate on teams up to the U12 age group.  Past U12, however, boys are not permitted to participate in USAFH sanctioned events.  For non-USAFH events, special permission would be needed from the Tournament Organizer/Director in order for a boy to participate.
 
Q. How do you know if your player is ready for travel and/or where do we try out?
A. The Rapids is a year-round program but does not require year-round participation as we support multi-sport athletes.  Open tryouts are held each season and at times when we attend a special event such as Summer Bash or National Festival.  The PFH newsletter will include information on tryouts.  You can also find more information by clicking on About The Rapids.
 
Q. Is it necessary to play rec before trying out for travel?
A. No!  Many parents and players like to test out their interest for a sport by starting first on a recreational level.  The Rapids program does not require this because our Rapids program, per our Standards & Values, we build, not break and always strive to improve.  Our coaching philosophy is a belief in equal opportunity for each athlete to develop and play to the goals they set for themselves.
 
 
 

SKILLS

Q.  What basic drills/skills you teach the youngest players?
A.  Young players (PreK/K and 1/2 Grade) are taught unopposed ball carrying, static pushing, hitting, and receiving, as well as elimination skills (dodges and pulls).  Advanced players will be able to carry the ball on move, push and hit while on the move, and tackle.

Q.  Are the Skills Sessions mandatory?
A.  NO  - these sessions are optional but highly recommended and included in your League registration fees.

Q.  Can you tell me about the Skills Session held during the week?  Would they be helpful for a beginner?
A.  Our Skills Sessions are held once per week and are for grades 3-8.   Each age group will divide the players by skill level so that they are with liked-skilled players.  The skill sessions are very helpful for beginners as you improve the more time you spend with your stick and ball. 

Q.  Are the sessions an additional extra cost?
A.  NO - Skills Sessions are included in your seasonal league fee!  All players are encouraged to attend the weekly skills sessions.

Q.  Who coaches the Skills Sessions?
A.  PFH hires qualified and experienced coaches who develop and tailor the weekly session plans based on feedback from all coaches.  League Coaches are also on hand to work with players at the skills stations.

 

SPECIAL EVENTS

Q.  What special events do you have?
A.  Our special events coincide withe conclusion of the rec league seasons.  In the spring, we run our annual PFH Fun Fest where we end our season with a fun tournament-style event for all PFH teams.  In the fall, we - along with the Great-Falls and McLean youth leagues - participate in the NoVA All Star Tournament where each team nominates players to participate in the special tournament held the last Saturday of October.  All Star teams are composed of players from each youth league and sometimes have other outside teams play agains them as well

Q.  What happens at Fun Fest?  Do all PFH teams play?
A.  Yes - all PFH teams are scheduled to participate in Fun Fest.  It is a a fun, tournament-style end of season event to celebrate the season and the field hockey community.  Teams are encouraged to set up team tents and share food for an end of season party right at the field.  Fun skills contests are run for prizes in each age group.

Q.  What is Olympic Day?
A.  For Spring 2016, we included a special theme for Fun Fest as the Olympics are occuring this summer.  Teams were randomly assigned countries and encouraged to adorn their uniforms, banners, and tents with their assigned country's culture.  Still following the Fun Fest event, teams participate in games and fun skills contests as well as end of season parties right at the field.
 

 

RULES

Q.  Can you give me a brief overview of game rules for new families to hockey?
A.  Basic rules are that the ball may only hit the the flat side of the stick, balls should not hit your feet, sticks should not be hitting other sticks, and goals can only be scored by hitting the ball inside of the scoring circle.  For more detailed rules, please click here to visit our Game and Rules Page.

Q.  Will the younger girls be playing by all of the rules or a modified version of the game? 
A.  All players play by the same set of rules although there are some modifications based on age group for penalty corners and penalty strokes due to the lack of goalies at the 1/2 and 3/4 grade age groups.  Any issues regarding the rules or an umpire should be immediately directed to your team's coach.

 

VOLUNTEERING

Q.  Why should I volunteer?
A.  As a community-based, volunteer-led program, PFH needs parents and community members to volunteer their time to help with the league.  It is a great way to get to know people in the league and organization, a great way to give back to the kids and the community, and a wonderful way to keep our league functioning on a day to day basis.
 
Q.  What kind of needs does PFH have for volunteering?
There are many roles a volunteer can fill!  There are pre-season, during season, and post-season needs.  It is easy to sign up for volunteering as a sign up section is included within each season's registration.  Before the season begins, we take a look at those signed up for volunteering who are then contacted by one of our staff (Program Operations Manager, Registrar, Youth Rec League Commissioner, etc) regarding the needs we have.  Volunteering takes 1-5 hours per season.
 
Volunteers positions include:  head coaches, assistant coaches, social media marketing, team rostering, organizing or helping during end of season events, practice/game photographers, marketing flyer delivery, preparing and collecting coach equipment bags and/or goalie equipment, packaging and delivering PFH Online Store orders, team parents, and more!
 
Q.  I signed up to volunteer with the team roster- when/what do I need to do? 
A.  Our Youth Rec League Commissioner will contact you before the season starts with any needs she/he has in order to prepare rosters according to league guidelines.

 

 

TEAMS

Q.  How does PFH create teams?
A.  As field hockey in now a varsity sport in our high schools (hooray!), we not only group by grade but we also team by school (ES or MS) and also by high school cluster.  In the event that we do not have a full team from one elementary or middle school, we will combine schools that are within a high school cluster.  This allows players to get to know and play with future high school teammates.  Registration is different each season.  One season we may need to combine two high school clusters with each other.  The following season one or both of those high schools may now have enough to be teamed alone or fewer creating a need to assign them to a different high school cluster.  The best way to keep clusters together is to have enough to make teams for each high school cluster and/or school.  Help spread the word in your elementary and middle school to make entire school based teams.
 
Q.  How are coaches chosen and assigned to teams?
A. Parents are the volunteer coaches.  Most parents are volunteering to coach his/her child's team and will be assigned to their daughter's team.
 
Q.  How many players are on a team?
A.  Most age groups play 7v7 each season;  only the 7/8 Grade teams play 11v11 in the fall as we hope to prepare them for the high school game.  7v7 teams can have 9-12 players on a team while 11v11 teams have 13-17 players on a team;  the numbers depend on registration numbers each season. 
 
Q.  Can my child change teams/coaches if I don't like the coach or feel s/he will benefit from a different coach?  Or My child's friend is on another team, can my child be on the same team?
A.  We feel that our method of creating teams works out each season.  If there is an issue with a coach, we will take that into consideration as a private matter.  Friend requests can be made but requests are not guarantees that children will be placed together.
 

 

LEAGUE FEES

Q.  Where's the money I spend going?  Or why does it cost so much for the season?
A.  The money spent on Youth Rec League pays for pinnies, field rental, Loudoun PRCS per-head fees, umpire fees, Skills Session coaches, Youth Rec League Commissioner, capital equipment, and general league overhead.
 

Q.  What is your refund policy?
A.  Potomac
Field Hockey recognizes that players may need to withdraw from a season or an event due to unforeseen circumstances. Refunds are given based on a schedule.  Please click here to read more details about our Refund Policy.

 
 
 

Q.  How do we receive information about our team before the season begins?
A.  All players and parents will receive an email including coach and team information via email before the start of the season. Likewise, some notifications are posted on each Team Page which can be broadcasted to all team members.  Be sure to check your account settings to make sure that you receive these emails (see next Q for more information).

Q.  How come I don't get the automatic email reminders about practices and games?
A.  This may be a setting on your account as members have the option of whether to receive emails regarding practices and games that are autogenerated by our web site or members can opt to not receive any emails even when a special email is sent.  To check your settings, click here to edit your account.  Once you sign in, click on the name of the person whose settings you would like to check.  If you would like to opt out of all emails, make sure the "Do Not Email" box is checked underneath the Email Address field.  If you would like to receive the auto-reminders for practices and/or games, make sure those boxes are checked just above the Submit button.  Then click Submit.  It is recommended that you check your setting for each family member within your account.  If you are having any other problems, please send an email to

Q.  Can I add another email to my account?
A.  Yes!  Click here to edit your account.  Once you sign in, click on the name of the person you would like to add the address to - you can add an email onto the main account holder and/or the child's account.  Within the Email Addresss box, simply add a comma and the additional email address in the field, then click submit.

Q.  How come I don't get the PFH Newsletter?
A.  All members who register for a season are entered into our bulk email system via Constant Contact.  If you are not receiving our weekly or seasonal emails, you may have accidentally opted out or your email address might not be listed correctly.  If you have accidentally opted out, you can always add yourself back in by re-joining our email list - click here!  If you are still having trouble, please contact our Program Operations Manager by .

Q.  How do we get information about cancellations?
A.  All parents and players should sign up for Rained Out, our cancellation notification system.  CLICK HERE!  You can opt to receive notifications via email, text message, or both.  Please note that any automated reminders coming directly from the PFH web site are trumped by Rain Out notifications!  When we can, we will cancel sessions within the PFH web site scheduling system.