Unveiling the Aspire Academy Framework: Advancing the Field Hockey Coaching Profession

Nov 3, 2023 | 2023-2024, Blog, News

Image Credit: Rowan University Athletic Communications

COLORADO SPRINGS, COThe National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is proud to announce the launch of the Aspire Academy, an initiative dedicated to elevating and strengthening the field hockey coaching profession at the collegiate level.  ZAG Sports Inc., a leading sports travel company, has joined forces with NFHCA as the Official Sponsor of the Aspire Academy, committing to a two-year partnership. 

Zag Tours is honored to be the Official Sponsor of the NFHCA Aspire Academy, an initiative that promises to elevate the field hockey coaching profession to new heights.  As a coach for 20+ years at the collegiate level at UVA, Iowa and Princeton, I appreciate and value the importance of developing coaches on and off the field. The Aspire Academy’s commitment to empowering collegiate assistant and associate head coaches, enhancing their leadership skills, and fostering a supportive community aligns perfectly with our vision at Zag.

“Our support will no doubt go toward impacting young coaches by providing them with tools and education to further their careers. We are grateful for the opportunity to support that mission of transformation through both coaching and travel. This partnership reflects our dedication to the field hockey community. Together with NFHCA, we look forward to a journey of inspiring excellence and building a stronger, more connected coaching network.” said Melisa Meccage, founder and chief performance officer at Zag Tours.

The Mission

The Aspire Academy’s mission is clear: to empower coaches to refine their leadership objectives, shape their coaching philosophies, and deepen their knowledge of the sport. The inaugural Academy, which launches in February 2024, will cater to collegiate assistant and associate coaches.

“I am thrilled to introduce to you the blueprint of the NFHCA Assistant Coach Aspire Academy,” said Tamara Durante, NFHCA Associate/Assistant representative on the Board of Directors. “The Aspire Academy is meticulously crafted to cater to assistant/associate head coaches and directors of operations currently serving at the collegiate level. Within this program, we aspire to achieve several paramount objectives: the elevation of leadership skills, the expansion of our hockey knowledge, and the cultivation of relationships that will foster a robust and supportive community. To realize these ambitions, we will curate a rich array of workshops and immersive labs, providing participants with hands-on experiences and transformative learning opportunities.”

This initiative, which is a vital part of the NFHCA strategic plan, supports ‘inspiring excellence’ and addresses the need to engage, retain, and develop our assistant and associate coaches within the field hockey community. The Aspire Academy will achieve this through a comprehensive program that spans from February to January annually.

The Aspire Academy has identified several goals and objectives, including enhancing career prospects and leadership skills, cultivating leadership abilities, fostering a mindset of continuous learning, and improving coaching skill sets. This holistic approach aims to elevate coach morale and promote thoughtful engagement with institutional colleagues, administrators, and the community of student-athletes. It aims to foster relationships and build a coaching support community through shared experiences, allowing participants to set coaching career goals and explore long-term aspirations.

More About the Aspire Academy

The program aligns with the NFHCA’s strategic plan and emphasizes the Association’s core values such as Leadership, Collaboration, Belonging, Celebration, Stewardship, and Networking. It seeks to foster leadership qualities, promote collaboration among stakeholders, create a sense of belonging for all, celebrate achievements, demonstrate stewardship of resources, and build a strong and interconnected network to advance a shared mission.

To learn more about the Aspire Academy and how you can get involved, please visit our webpage.

The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) is a nonprofit organization serving field hockey coaches and supporters of the game from across the United States. The mission of the organization is to stimulate the professional development of coaching leadership within the sport of field hockey. The NFHCA strives to cultivate and recognize the professional contributions of its membership and to foster and promote the growth of the sport. The NFHCA is responsible for providing a recognizable presence and voice in regard to legislation affecting the sport as well as interscholastic and intercollegiate programs.