Red Rover, Red Rover…
Well, not quite. More like BullRush, remember that game? Giant herds of children, the narrow piece of ground between classrooms, and vicious tagging as we tried by sheer weight of numbers to overcome whoever was “it”.
Coach Intenso thinks this is a good game, morphing into Coach AllSmiles as five coaches take on a class of newbies. I suspect he has a competitive streak. Needless to say, I didn’t make it through the first round. In all honestly, I believe I shrieked as I twisted to try to avoid the tag.
I tried to impress upon those standing next to me the importance of teamwork. Do they have screens in hockey? It’s a thing from basketball: take a hit to give your player the open lane and a clear path to the net. I could see that testosterone wouldn’t allow the boys to take one for the team. They were in the headspace of proving themselves, all bravado and, well, bullrush.
I felt more confident as I hit the ice this week. My feet felt more stable underneath me. I wasn’t as “in my head” as I was last week. Once the games were over, we settled into more of the dreaded “C”cuts. Now this is where I expected to find myself muttering some choice ancient Greek curses in the general direction of the coaches and generally failing to make my way up the ice as per week one.
But then a marvellous thing happened.
Coach Intenso said, “Lean your knees forward two inches past your toes.”
I waited for my facemask to make intimate contact with the ice.
It didn’t happen.
I glided forward like a swan. Ok, no, more like an elephant; ponderously, steadily, determinedly.
I made it through. I took a win from the fact that I don’t “kangaroo” when I do it.
Coach T. pointed out that I’m struggling with some parts of this due to thigh strength, so I’m going to make sure I put a little extra effort into the squats this week.
We broke into groups and started working on edge turns and stopping. I started on turns with Coach Funky Stache leading the group. I really could have pushed myself more here. I did OK, but I still lack a practical understanding of edges. Coach Funky Stache is not the best explainer in the coaching group. Coaches Canada and Intenso are much better at explaining the little mechanical adjustments needed to get technique. While of the three stations this was the one I did best at, I still feel like it was the one I understood the least.
This was followed up with more turning and stopping with C.I. and then hockey stopping with Coach Canada. C.C. explains things so well. I feel like I absolutely get the technique when he explains it. I was disappointed that by the time I got to Coach Intenso I was cramping up so much I felt like I couldn’t go as hard as I wanted to without my back deciding that the ice was the place for me to spend some quality time reflecting on my life choices. I felt like I looked like I was phoning it in, just coasting through the drill.
Throughout my life nothing has ever given me the same gut churning guilt as the fear that someone might think I’m not giving 100%. I know it’s week two, I know that for the last year and a half I have done exactly zero physical activity while I recovered from surgery on both hands. I know all these things, but it’s still not enough.
I’ve put in the call (ok the tweet – I’m a modern woman), I’m going to grab a few one-on-one sessions. I need that bit of extra time on the ice with someone who won’t let me phone it in, who knows that ”good enough” is never good enough. Who can spot the adjustments, small and large, I need to make the technique stick.
Just before I sign off, I want to talk about encouragement. Last week I spoke about the encouragement in the ladies locker room, this week I’m going to talk about it on the ice.
“Mum” is one of the true joys of our group. She and her two daughters Zee and Jay are always there with a word of encouragement and quick with a joke. I value the stick taps and encouragement of the coaches but the check-ins and the words of those fellow learners means so much.
I should also tell you about how the Next Level guys take it to the “Next Level”. Our Pet Goalie had a rough session and C.I. took the time to come check on her and make sure she was ok, then give her advice on how to avoid the situation next week. It wasn’t lip service either. It was solid advice, and it showed an understanding of physical training beyond just skills coaching that perhaps I wasn’t expecting.
Speaking of goalies, I need to share this video with you. If happy goalies don’t make you smile then we can’t be friends. (Skip to 0.32 to skip the fighting prelude.)
See you on the ice!