MAXFieldHockey.com is the most comprehensive and fastest growing website focused on the sport of field hockey!  Launched in mid-2014 with the mission of "Bringing the Field Hockey Community Together to Grow the Sport," the site was created to fill the need for a central source of reliable and updated field hockey information at all levels of the game- youth, club, high school, college, USA Field Hockey, and beyond.  In year 1 there were approximately 350,000 site visits and 10 million page visits and those numbers continue to grow each month!

While High School Field Hockey began as just a piece of the puzzle, it has quickly grown to become one of the major focuses of the site and the High School Regional and National Rankings are a big part of that.  2015 will be the second season the rankings have been completed and we wanted to share with you their history and how they are done.

Year 1 rankings were incredibly difficult to do.  There was no existing database or source of central information for High School field hockey for us to use.  We began by creating one.  Every state is setup differently and we went through state by state and learned the organization of the sport there, the schools that participate in field hockey, and who the past champions and historically strong programs are.  We reached out to many of the state and conference organizations for assistance and heard back from very few, so almost all of this we had to sort through ourselves.  The NFHS, the national governing body for high school sports, reports the statistic of around 1,750 high school field hockey programs.  Through the last two years, the number of programs in our system has grown to be over 2,000 due to the number of private schools that do not fall under their state organization or the NFHS.  

As we continued learning and buiding this central source of High School information, Year 1 rankings were done monthly since they were so time consuming to do with the information we had to go off of.  We did Preseason, September, October and Final Rankings and a National Top 20 and Regional Top 10 rankings.  We started the Preseason rankings with the historically dominant programs making up the rankings and heavily weighted recent success at the state and conference level.  In comparing conferences and teams across states, we relied heavily on a combination of things like reputation of field hockey in the state (such as Pennsylvania being known as the hub of field hockey), the number of high school programs (with a general assumption that in a state with more programs, the sport is likely to be more developed and stronger), the number and success of the club programs from the areas (how they match up at the major tournaments against club programs from other states), things like college commitments and NFHCA All-Americans (where are the top players coming out of), and even by asking college coaches across the country for their evaluation and comparisons since they are scouting at games and recruiting those players.  We also used any local rankings that exist as much as possible since those individuals should know their local teams best (like the bostonglobe.com rankings for the Boston-area teams and the highschoolsports.nj.com rankings for the state of New Jersey).

From that intitial method of ranking teams and what we still use today for the most part, our ranking philosophy revolves around the idea that you have to have a quality win or performance (beat a ranked team and/or quality opponents) to move into and up the rankings.  Strength of schedule is looked at with a lot of importance as well.   One of the most difficult things to do is compare one 10-0 team with another 10-0 team, and throughout the season their can be a hundred or more teams that are undefeated.  We focus on historical strength, recent strength, strength of schedule and quality wins, and local rankings to sort through these situations.

With a year of rankings under our belt and a solid understanding of High School field hockey across the country, we decided to move to weekly rankings this Fall and expand the National Rankings from 20 to 25 teams.  USA Today High School Sports also approached us and we moved forward with a partnership with them for their Super 25 High School Field Hockey Rankings.  MAX Field Hockey provides USA Today High School Sports with the same rankings used on our site and this was done to help grow the sport and help the sport gain valuable exposure across the country.  Field Hockey is now the 5th girl's sport USA Today High School Sports covers and we are proud to be a part of that (basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and softball are the others).

Another important step to improving MAX Field Hockey's High School Rankings and content was the development of the all-new High School Schedule, Score & Power Rating Center.  The system was launched midway through this Fall season and is a work in progress for 2015.  Our goal is to have every single team in the country's schedule, scores and power ratings done by major conference, state, region and nationally.  In the off-season, we will be filling in missing schedules and results and completing a full data analysis to come up with a power rating formula that produces as accurate rankings as possible.  MAX Field Hockey will continue to do "Expert Rankings" next Fall and moving forward.  The Power Rating Center will be used to make those even better.

MAX Field Hockey strives to improve in everything we do and we are excited to make the High School Rankings even better for next year!  Let us know what you'd like to see done differently:


What would you most like to see in the 2016 High School Rankings?

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