Is this your first time to the NFHCA Annual Convention?
Here’s what you need to know.
First things first, what is the Annual Convention?
The Annual Convention is where members of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) gather yearly to discuss, connect, and learn. The event is, by and large, a professional development event where coaches discuss business as it relates to the NFHCA and by extension the sport of field hockey in the United States.
A typical Annual Convention will have several educational sessions — topics can range from field hockey skills and tactics, to subjects like leadership, student-athlete mental health, or career development. Primarily, though, the event is organized around the NFHCA — it is at the Annual Convention where members are asked to review and vote on operational items, review committee reports and NFHCA initiatives, and discuss pressing topics impacting our sport. Check out this year’s schedule. Join other newcomers for breakfast on Wednesday — veteran coaches will take you through the agenda, show you the ropes, and help you get the most from your first NFHCA Convention.
Every year, a comprehensive packet of documents and agendas is sent to all registered convention attendees. It includes reports from the NFHCA staff and committee chairs — the committee and program reports typically recap the past year and may include recommendations or suggestions for the future.
The packet is a wealth of information and includes details about every topic covered during the Annual Convention. It’s a lengthy document (and a great read!), so in order to prepare for the event, attendees are encouraged to review the portion of the packet that relates to their position. For example, if you’re a high school varsity head coach, you should review the documents for the general membership meetings and the high school and club breakout meetings. Or if you’re a Division II assistant coach, you should review the general membership meeting documents, the collegiate meeting documents, and the Division II breakout meeting documents. All of these documents will help prepare you for the agenda in each meeting you attend — outlining what will be discussed and providing you with materials that will help inform you on the topic.
Voting and Discussion
There are many items that members and institutions discuss and vote on during the Annual Convention — topics can include NCAA rules modifications, NFHCA initiatives, and committee work.
Meetings are led by a member of the NFHCA Board of Directors and follow an agenda. Members will present on the topics that they submitted and attendees will have the opportunity to discuss. Several topics may require a vote, which will follow the process established by Robert’s Rules of Order. Discussion notes and votes that result in action will be forwarded to the corresponding committee or the Board of Directors for further analysis and recommendations. The NFHCA business-process flow chart outlines how topics discussed at the convention cycle through the association and may be implemented in the future.
We will be using our event app again this year to facilitate the event and to vote — here’s a cheat sheet for the event app voting process.
Network, Network, Network
The NFHCA Annual Convention is one of the few events each year where member coaches from all levels are together in a room and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about your colleagues and get to know people who coach at different levels. This is your chance to talk to your coaching hero (!) or connect with coaches you only ever see on the opposite sideline.
While there is business to be done, there are also many opportunities to socialize (AstroTurf Pregame Cocktail Reception) or informally discuss important topics (like at the Gender Equity Fireside Chat).
The Annual Convention is also a great place to meet field hockey-related vendors whose products and services are tailored to meet your needs as a coach. There are over 20 vendors this year — you can find more details about all of them in the “vendor” section of the event app.
What’s special this year?
Several new events have been added to the Annual Convention line up, like the Newcomer’s Breakfast — where new coaches and new attendees will be introduced to the most important elements of the event and will have all of their Annual Convention questions answered.
Also newly added is the the Divot Golf Classic, the NFHCA’s first-ever golf tournament. The Divot Classic will take place on Tuesday morning before the Annual Convention officially kicks off — foursomes will play in a scramble format at the Timacuan Golf and Country Club, just an eight-minute drive from the Orlando Marriott Lake Mary.
The Breakfast of Champions sponsored by Spiideo has also been added to the schedule — attendees will be able to enjoy breakfast while asking questions of our six-coach panel…with more than 31 National Championships between them!
The Awards Dinner sponsored by AstroTurf is the culminating event of the Annual Convention and of the 2021 season. It is where the NFHCA recognizes coaches with a variety of awards.
The NFHCA Regional Coaching Staffs of the Year are honored and the National Coaching Staffs of the Year are named. The evening is also set aside for the NFHCA’s most-prestigious awards of the year: the Junior Hockey Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NFHCA Hall of Fame — and since we get to hear from the winners, the dinner is also a great source of inspiration.
Want more advice about how to navigate your first NFHCA Annual Convention? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you find your way. We can’t wait to see you in Florida!