SCARBOROUGH — Field hockey drills over, about two dozen players gathered at midfield to give their instructor, Katie Bam, some … dance lessons?

Sure enough, as music blared in the background, Biddeford High junior Paige Laverriere showed Bam a couple of moves. When Bam caught on and joined in, everyone applauded.

“See, she’s just a normal person,” said Kerry Mariello, the Scarborough High field hockey coach. “She’s got a great personality and the girls have been captivated by that.”

But to many of the players, the 28-year-old Bam is the face of U.S. field hockey.

“She’s just so incredible,” said Rachel Paradis, a Scarborough senior. “I was really nervous at first to come. I thought it was going to be really intense because she’s such a well-known player. I was afraid that it was going to be intimidating a little bit. But they’re so relaxed. They make it so much fun so you can really focus and get a lot of work done, and you learn so much more.”

A 12-year veteran of Team USA and two-time Olympian, Bam has been conducting a three-day clinic at Scarborough’s turf field that ends Thursday.

Bam and her crew – husband Marvin Bam (a former Olympic field hockey player from South Africa), University of Maryland senior Brooke Adler and goalie coach Samantha Rumler – are not only conducting drills but participating in them to give hands-on experience.

About 25 players paid the $300 fee to learn the tiniest skills – such as passing to the right foot of your teammate to put her in a better position to receive the ball – that could provide an edge.

“I play for a lot of clubs and I thought I knew everything about field hockey,” said Hailey Allen, a Biddeford High junior who plays year-round. “But I guess not.”

And it’s not just the players. After Bam explained one tip to the players, Biddeford Coach Caitlin Albert said, “Why haven’t I ever thought of that?”

Allen and Albert are responsible for bringing Bam to Maine. Last November, Bam posted a message on social media that she was looking for six sites to hold clinics. All you had to do was convince her why your town should be one. Allen saw it and contacted Albert, who emailed Bam.

“Caitlin sent me a very convincing email,” Bam said. “She stated that they’re trying to grow the sport here in Maine and that the kids are actually pretty good. And that they really wanted us here. Their eagerness just poured through the email and I honestly want to go where I’m wanted, where people are excited to have you and eager to learn. I knew this camp was going to be great.”

Maine field hockey has been steadily improving. Ten players from last fall will play the sport at NCAA Division I or II schools. In the last five years, 25 members of the Maine Majestix field hockey club have earned Division I scholarships.

This is the final camp of the summer for Bam, who in January accepted a position as an assistant coach at Maryland, where she was a four-time All-American. Bam grew up in Pennsylvania, long regarded as a hotbed of field hockey – eight members of the current 25-member U.S. national team are from Pennsylvania.

Bam has competed in 222 international contests for Team USA, including the 2012 London Olympics (where the U.S. finished 12th) and the 2016 Rio Olympics (fifth place). Those 2016 Olympic Games remain her most memorable.

“I just feel like our team clicked and personally I had a good performance,” she said. “Just to do so well after doing so poorly in the 2012 Olympics … It was amazing to see the growth.”

Now, she said, she’s contemplating retirement to go into coaching. “I absolutely love coaching,” said Bam, who was an assistant at Harvard in 2016. “I love that moment when the kids see the light bulb, that ‘ah-ha’ moment, and then watching them doing it on the field. And then they look at you and say, ‘Did you see what I just did?’ That’s the best feeling you can imagine.”

She coaches the way she plays and expects the players to understand. “What I’m teaching and thinking in my head is exactly what they should be thinking about doing at this level,” said Bam.

And Bam doesn’t just explain things to her players, she plays against them in drills. “It was an honor for sure,” said Scarborough’s Paradis, who tried to defend Bam. “Their skill level is mind-blowing. It’s crazy to play against her.”

Paradis and others have kept notebooks to retain some of the skills Bam is teaching them.

“It’s all been well worth it to me,” she said.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH