By Ginger DeShaney
Armed with sticks, boundless energy, and positive attitudes, the girls at Alpha Atleta’s South Boston field hockey clinic are eager to learn.
“There’s zero field hockey in South Boston,” said Megan Shea. “Let’s bring it to Southie.”
Megan and her wife, Nicole Poli, started Alpha Atleta “for camps, clinics, and to grow the game,” said Megan.
“We just wanted to bring field hockey to South Boston and get the girls going,” added Megan, the head field hockey coach for Division 1 Merrimack College. “And honestly, they’ve gotten so much better.”
According to the duo, “We are committed to delivering an outstanding player experience for athletes and families who are looking to start field hockey for the first time or to continue their development as field hockey players … We want to develop individuals to be the best players they can be and have fun along the way!”
Alpha Atleta will offer its South Boston youth field hockey program and run camps and clinics for youth through high school students throughout the summer, said Nicole, a former professional women’s lacrosse player for the Boston Storm and former head women’s lacrosse and field hockey coach at Division 3 Mount Ida College.
Alpha Atleta’s first clinic is in its fourth week. Nicole and Megan got a bigger turnout than they expected. They thought they’d maybe get 6-12 kids to sign up, but 21 girls registered. Now, they get 25 kids a week “and each week we get someone new,” said Megan, who was a D1 All-American field hockey player for the University of New Hampshire.
“They’re a good group of kids,” Nicole said. “The kids are getting better. None of them had touched a stick before.”
Helping teach at the clinic are former Columbia and Bentley field hockey players, a current UConn player, and a high school player.
Alpha Atleta’s mission is to motivate and empower athletes of all levels to be the best they can be. Through fitness, mindfulness, skill development and nutrition, Alpha Atleta offers a 360-degree approach to wellness.
“We’re going to be more about how do we give everyone a place to be successful,” said Megan, whether that’s to play high school, club, Division 1 college, or anywhere in between. “We want kids who are going to flourish and be really good and guide them, but we really want this to be 360 degrees.”
Added Nicole, “It’s love of the game … building a complete player through nutrition, fitness, skills, the game … and just trying to help get them to understand beyond skill. There’s a lot more that goes into it.”
The Alpha Atleta Academy offers a one-stop shop to give athletes the edge they need to get to the next level, the website says. The Academy provides access to camps and clinics, workout programs, nutrition programs, and college recruiting assistance.
Alpha Atleta also offers bootcamp workouts and personal training for adults. But camps and clinics will drive the organization.
This first clinic, which originally started at Moakley Park, then was moved to M Street Park, has found its home behind South Boston Catholic Academy, which provides a great field hockey surface and some privacy. Megan and Nicole are grateful for the school’s generosity.
The parents love the program, said Nicole, who was a standout soccer and lacrosse player at
Western New England University and was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame. “The parents are really awesome. They’re super supportive. They are loving it and they are encouraging us to keep going.”
For more information and to sign up for camps and clinics, visit https://www.alphaatleta.com/