USA Hockey Magazine

February 2015

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64 ILLUSTRATIONS BY Mike Curti FEBRUARY.2015 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM If You Have A Question For Stix Handle, Send It To: Ask Stix, USA Hockey Magazine, 1775 Bob Johnson Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80906 LIVING AN ACTIVE LIFE PERHAPS WHAT YOU DO AWAY FROM THE RINK BENEFITS HOW YOU FEEL PLAYING HOCKEY. DURING THE SEASON, INSTEAD OF SLOUCHING ON THE COUCH PLAYING VIDEO GAMES, YOU'RE INLINE SKATING OR PLAYING A PICK UP GAME OF BASKETBALL WITH YOUR FRIENDS. MAYBE IT'S WHAT YOU DO DURING THE OFF- SEASON THAT HELPS YOU IN SEASON. THERE ARE SO MANY BENEFITS TO PARTICIPATING IN OTHER SPORTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. MOST ANY SPORT YOU CAN THINK OF CAN ADD TO YOUR HOCKEY GAME. TWO THAT COME TO MIND IMMEDIATELY ARE TENNIS AND LACROSSE. BOTH CAN BE PLAYED ON TEAMS OR WITH FRIENDS. PICK UP HOCKEY MENTALITY THEN THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU PLAY HOCKEY LIKE YOUR DAD. WHERE BACKCHECKING IS THOUGHT OF AS A SWEAR WORD, DIGGING IN THE CORNERS IS SOMEONE ELSE'S JOB AND FLOATING AT THE RED LINE IS A SOUND HOCKEY STRATEGY. MY HOPE IS THAT THIS DOES NOT DESCRIBE YOUR GAME. PLAYING THE GAME SMART FINALLY, IT MIGHT BE THAT YOU ARE SO DARN SMART. A SMART PLAYER IS RARELY OUT OF POSITION, SO THEY DON'T HAVE TO CHASE ALL OVER THE RINK. PLUS, THEY KNOW WHEN TO PICK THEIR SPOTS TO GO FULL SPEED OR LAY BACK IN ANTICIPATION OF A DEVELOPING PLAY. HOW DO I KNOW IF I'M PLAYING HARD ENOUGH? I GET BACK TO THE BENCH ON SOME SHIFTS NOT EVEN BREATHING HARD. SHOULDN'T I BE COMPLETELY GASSED AFTER EVERY SHIFT? SHANE C., MADISON, WIS. BREATHING HARD IS NOT THE IDEAL INDICATOR THAT YOU ARE WORKING HARD ON THE ICE. TO GET A TRUE READING OF YOUR EFFORT, YOU SHOULD HAVE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL DO A FULL PHYSICAL CHECK UP. OR, REQUEST A BORG RATING OF PERCEIVED EXERTION (RPE) SCALE MEASUREMENT AFTER EACH OF YOUR SHIFTS. (YOU'LL HAVE TO LOOK UP THE BORG THINGY YOURSELF; I HAVE NO CLUE HOW IT WORKS.) SHANE, WITHOUT ACTUALLY WATCHING ONE OF YOUR GAMES, I CANNOT GIVE YOU AN ACCURATE EVALUA- TION OF YOUR PLAY. BUT I DO KNOW HOCKEY AND IT DOESN'T PLAY OUT LIKE A TRACK EVENT WHERE YOU GO FROM POINT A TO POINT B IN A SPRINT, OR A MEASURED PACED AND, AFTER EACH RACE, YOU ARE GASSED. HOCKEY IS STOPS, STARTS, TWISTS, TURNS, BATTLES FOR AND RACES TO THE PUCK. SOME SHIFTS YOU ARE IN THE THICK OF THE ACTION. OTHER SHIFTS THE PUCK MAY NEVER COME YOUR WAY. ASSUMING THAT YOUR GAMES PLAY OUT AS MOST ALL HOCKEY GAMES DO, WITH EBBS AND FLOWS OF ACTION, HERE ARE FOUR POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS FOR WHY YOU ARE NOT GASSED AFTER EVERY SHIFT. HOPEFULLY, ONE OF REASONS I GIVE IS NOT HOW YOU PLAY. GOOD PRACTICE HABITS IT COULD BE HOW YOU PRACTICE, AND THE WAY YOUR COACH STRUCTURES PRACTICES, THAT HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH WHY YOU DON'T GET GASSED EASILY. YOU DON'T PREPARE FOR A HOCKEY GAME LIKE YOU WOULD A MARATHON. HOCKEY IS EXPLOSIVE ACTIVITY FOLLOWED BY CRUCIAL REST ON THE BENCH OR IN LINE. SO, YOU RUN THROUGH ALL YOUR DRILLS AT GAME SPEED, KEEPING UP THAT ENERGY AND EFFORT THROUGHOUT THE PRACTICE. OR, YOU'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE A COACH THAT RUNS HIGH TEMPO PRACTICES THAT CHALLENGE YOU TO PLAY AT A HIGHER LEVEL EACH TIME YOU'RE ON THE ICE.

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