The off season is a time of the year that I have always seen as very important. It is the one time during the year you can be a little selfish and focus more on yourself. While you do work on things like skills, skating, and shooting during the season, I have always personally made the most progress over the summer. It gives you a chance to work on technique, pinpoint your weaknesses, work to better them, and of course have a little time to relax.
Everyone uses their time when they are in the off season a little differently. With any sport, your body does need a period of rest because it has not had time to fully recuperate when you have games every weekend, team lifts, and practices nearly everyday. I know some people do not like to be on the ice at all, and others will be on the ice all the time. I am one of the people who will get on the ice just about whenever I can. When the season ended, we got a two week break, then we had s six week spring session with workouts every weekday. I barely skated during that time, but once it was over I got back on the ice more regularly.
Being home is so nice, especially, when I have not had much time to spend with my family during the year. Since the hockey season basically starts at the very beginning of the school year and runs all the way until March we are always busy. Being home when I have been so far away from it all year is really special, so I am trying to make the most with the time I have back here. I have had to find a way to balance being with my family and friends, being on the ice, working out, and a of course some relaxation, all into my summer. I am very motivated to be a better player than I was when I left campus in May, but also appreciate the time I get to spend at home.
After playing hockey for so long, you learn that there is a difference between being in “shape” and in “hockey shape”. If I am not on the ice for a bit, it takes me about two weeks until I feel like I am moving like I should be and my legs are feeling somewhat back to normal. With this being said, I make sure that I am staying on the ice because if I am not, I know how hard it will be for me to get back into the swing of things come the beginning of the season. I want to be able to start the season without feeling like I have any sort of setback, so staying on the ice is a big focus for me.
I have gotten to do a lot of fun things over the past two months. I had a fun weekend in Florida and helped at a camp with a few of my teammates. During the camp we did a Q&A with the girls, and one of the first questions a kid asked me was what made me want to start playing hockey. To be honest I stood there for a second because I really had to think back to the reason I started playing. It seemed like such a simple question, but that one little question put it all into perspective for me. I think that once we get to a certain age or level, we forget how it all started for us. Over the past couple months, I have found myself reflecting on all the years I have dedicated to hockey, but I think somewhere along the line we lose touch with where it all began. Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be great and we have to step back and see why we did it all in the first place.
I started playing on an all girls team when I was six and I just loved it right from the start. I loved being a part of a team, laughing with my friends, going on road trips, hanging out in hotels, playing shinny or mini sticks (that often turned into a wrestling match), going to practice, playing in big tournaments, scoring goals or assisting a teammate, and just being on the ice. Most of all I think I have just always had that pure love and passion to play the sport, and that is what has carried me through. I have had so much fun along the way and an endless amount of memories. I have always considered myself a hard worker, but I have never forgotten to stay loose and have fun. I think that is not only why I have been able to continue playing, but also how I have been able to enjoy myself while I do.
The offseason is hard sometimes because there aren’t any games, not any practices, you’re not with your teammates as much, its all you. It is really easy to tell yourself you’re just going to relax, and you will be fine once the season comes back around. However, that is not how I think. The way I am able to stay motivated is because I am constantly reminding myself to have fun. You can’t be uptight and expect yourself not to get burnt out. No matter what it is that you do, you have to love it. If you don’t love it, it makes it truly difficult to be good at it and impossible to be happy. For me, that one thing was hockey and has continued to be hockey. You can’t ever lose touch of the reason why you do what you do, because when you lose that you start to question why you are doing it. You have to always remind yourself to have fun and to always do what you love. Take a second and think back, through all those years, to the little girl who fell in love with the game.