So did a week of interval training make any discernable difference in my performance? Maybe.
I talked to the coach before practice about changes I’d made in my workout routine this week and he thought they were okay. He also seems to think that I’d be fine playing in the rookie game, but I’m still hesitant – I don’t care so much about the skills, but although I can stop and turn, it does tend to require some advance planning on my part.
Drills are one thing, but with an opposing team out there I’m concerned that I’ll run into someone (or the goalie) and hurt them. I’d also like to be able to make it through the entire practice without feeling like I’ll blow chunks first.
It struck me this week, after last Monday’s revelation, as I looked into the difference between aerobic and anaerobic, that everything I’ve ever done as far as exercise has been aerobic – hiking, kayaking, golf … all aerobic. So starting something anaerobic for the first time at forty-something and having to build an entirely new type of muscle may be pretty stupid. Oh, well.
First skating drill tonight was much like last week, trying to get us into that hop-turn from a standing start.
Starting on the blue-line (top arrows) and facing the side boards, he first had us just step sideways to the other blue-line. The “hop” off the leading foot started to feel more natural during this drill, but after a few reps of this we were back to adding the turn. It might be that I’m not making enough of a hop to get fully turned at the start.
Next (bottom arrows) we’re back on the blue-line, but this time facing down-ice. Forward to the other blue-line, with the first three to five strides being quick steps. Then stop and the return is backwards.
The coach is stressing to everyone that he doesn’t want to see anyone doing crossovers backwards in this drill – strictly power-skating. This is easy for me to comply with, because I have no f-ing clue how to do a backward crossover. I’ve watched it and watched it, but it still seems like magic to me – the way the feet move just shouldn’t wind up in the body going the way it does.
Puck drill is much the same as last week, but there are enough people to have three skaters. It simulates recovering the puck in your own zone after it’s been dumped in by the opposing team.
Skater 1 dumps the puck in behind the net. Whoever’s fastest of the other two (not me) heads for it. The other one makes for the boards at the blue-line – bail-out man. Skater 1, meantime, skates into the zone, playing defense until we have the puck, then doubles back to head up-ice. Whoever stopped the puck passes to the bail-out, and we head up-ice, passing, for a shot on goal.
Lots of yelling by coach on everyone’s reps about the bail-out not being in position and the pass not going to him first. Also more stressing, like last week, about not stopping in the neutral zone to wait for the puck – keep moving, zig-zag, even come back down-ice, but don’t stop and don’t turn around to skate backwards.
Good point that skating backwards to take a pass on offense is going to let the defender set himself in your path. Even in a no-check league, when you run into him backwards there’ll be no penalty and you’ll be face down on the ice.
I made four reps of this (it was two last week) and had to sit on the bench for a bit to catch my breath, but I made it back onto the ice for two more reps before the end of practice. That’s better than last week, but too soon to tell if the improvement will be consistent.
I was happy with my passing during this drill. I flubbed a couple, but so did everyone and my flubs weren’t the worst. On one I got the puck near the goal line and made a nice backhand pass across the slot that was right on target. I also took a pass on one drive and got the shot on goal – that’s an accomplishment in two ways: 1) my shot was on goal instead of six feet to the right; and, B) I was at the goal to take the pass instead of out in the neutral zone struggling to catch up.
Accomplishments are all about perspective.