Where has the time gone? It feels like just a few weeks ago I packed my bag and emptied my stall at the rink, but it has already been so long since I last stepped on the ice or looked at my gear. Though I guess I really need to take it out and wash it.
After the season was done I had planned to take a few weeks off to rest, but as it happens with me, sitting still doesn’t really go down too well. So I lasted a week and then started training again. I went back to the gym a bit wiser from last year. Where last off season I was happy with the mass I built up, I realised (too late) that I had built too much mass and that my legs were not as agile as I wanted them to be. So this off season I have made my off season training more versatile.
I have been at it for a month now and I have been pleased with the way the training is going. I am not seeking to push the same amounts of weight as I did during the last off-season, but rather focussing on the effectiveness and the overall lift. I have been spending more time studying the programme and really getting to the heart of it to understand how I can develop more explosive power and how I can maximise the performance from my beat up body.
One of the great things that has helped me immensely over the last month has been the work that I did with Matt Radcliffe last year in physio. I am now paying increased amounts of attention to my posture and overall body position while doing exercise, which has actually resulted in better lifts and reps at the gym. However, it goes far beyond the gym as I’ve noticed the benefits of the work I carried out while running and doing plyometrics work as well.
Speaking of which, plyometrics work has been going really well. I had a bit of a slow start to it and had some frustration when I started doing the routine. I noticed that my foot quickness was not as good as I imagined it to be, which lead to some frustrated shouts and curses as I wasn’t able shuffle up and down the ladder in as speedy of a manner as I hoped.
Though overall, it has progressed and gotten better over the month and I actually feel positive about it. The one thing that raises eyebrows in our neighbourhood is me doing sprints with a resistance parachute. Yes I know it looks foolish, but the aim is to improve my first couple of strides to get most out of it and simultaneously improve explosiveness.
Its rather funny to think about it. When I was growing up when a player hit 30 years of age, it was considered that they were done and that their careers were over. I think it’s funny how at 30 I’m probably feeling the youngest I’ve done ever in my life. Whether it is because we now know how to condition the body better and how to maximise and prolong our careers as athletes, or that the game has changed so much over the years that it enables guys to play till they are older. I always thought when I was 15 that I would not be playing at the age of 30, but now that I am at that age, I feel better than I have done before.
Though consequently, I have to be smarter about the way I do off-ice training. I have noticed that I don’t recover as quickly as I used to. Gone are the days when I could play three roller hockey games and one ice hockey game in one day, or play in the National Championship tournament in a sports complex where indoor temperatures reach +40C and feel OK about it the next day.
Also, it’s funny how the saying “can’t teach old dog new tricks” has become somewhat irrelevant. I find that there is always something to improve upon and something else to learn within the game and I guess that is why I enjoy it so much. If I thought that as a player I had reached my limit, I’d probably be thinking about calling it a day, but I feel that I’ve still got a lot to give. Sure I’ve had quite a few injuries on the way, but I believe that with a strong work ethic and with determination I still have ways to go.
Here’s to hoping that the second month of my off-season and dryland will be successful as well.