It’s finally starting to feel like hockey season. Out here in the Adirondacks, we have seen snowfall and frigid weather. International teams are coming to town for tournaments left and right and best of all, we have been traveling every weekend together. There’s no better time to be out on the ice. We have all evolved our game since our arrival here in late August, and there’s no stopping us now. I’m always looking forward to that upcoming weekend, working on preparing myself and my team in any and every way possible. Of course, we have to make some time in our busy schedule for a team bonding event, whether it involves going to the Olympic Training Center to watch the Four Nations Cup or playing some intense team dodge ball at the hotel down the street. Lets just say, this year has been interesting.
We just finished a home weekend that consisted of two games against the NJ Rockets. Looking ahead, we will have a free weekend before heading up to Syracuse for a JWHL weekend. Then, we will have our first break of the year for Thanksgiving. As I previously mentioned, I have noticed countless improvements from both myself and the team as a whole. Well, what can you expect when you have an amazing group of coaches working with you? We have recognized and recorded personal and team goals and have been keeping them in the back of our heads all the time. Every time I step out onto that ice, there is something to be accomplished. We will spend as much time as we need to make corrections in our game, but what it comes down to is that player taking the initiative to improve themselves. Here at NSA, we have the tools to help players grow, but it strictly comes down to attitude. Being surrounding by the people who do have the positive attitude of a true hockey player is priceless.
Another huge improvement I have noticed lies in the off ice training. After morning practice (occasionally before), we have team workouts. What we do varies from day to day. Sometimes it’s a lift workout, and other days it may be circuit, core and cardio, sprints or every ones favorite, laps around the track. I remember when we did our initial testing at the beginning of the year to see ourselves improve as we move forward. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were doing hard sprints around half the track, with a bodyweight exercise in between, and then continue forward. By lap three, your legs wobbled under you and your pushups and squats became horrendous. And let me tell you, you would have sworn that the final lap, six I believe, would have been the death of you. I look back on that day with pride. When we returned to the track later in the month to improve our scores, it was astounding. It felt like a whole new exercise, and easier one that is. My legs let me run and run, which I am very thankful for, and I improved by at least a minute or so. I know for sure that I was in better shape that time. But I was the least bit surprised. I mean, we are on the ice every weekday for practice and almost every weekend for games. So without even realizing it, I was improving significantly, all the while have a good time.
So, I have no regrets from this year whatsoever. At times, I feel limitless. A lot of girls say they wish they were a freshman again, because college is slowly but surely creeping up on them. To me, that is motivation. These girls aren’t kidding when they say looking for colleges is hard work. So why not get a head start now? Train like you want it and it will come in time. I know it’s not easy, but I never expected it to be. All I need to do is open my eyes to the coaches and players around me, and I’ll be sure to learn a thing or two.