Week 3 – Getting Game Ready

The festive period is over and it’s time to get down to work. Both Varx and Falcons are pre season so we are preparing hard to form the teams and plays for the matches.

Since New Year the Varx training has been working on setting up plays, breakouts and positions within the offensive zone. The drills have required a bit more thought and timing to them. There is a definite improvement in a lot of the players, the drills are giving us a better sense of positioning and passing in scrimmage.
It was a real fast pace on the Falcons tonight. The drills are always game sensitive, as in you can apply them directly to the games, but the pace was cranked up a notch. There is a real sense of moving towards the matches and a strong desire to win from the players. We have started to play in lines and work on plays that we will use in matches. I was happy that I kept pace and I even had my first check that came out 50/50. As I hit the ice I looked across and the other guy slid along the ice too I thought, that will do. I have noticed apprehension in myself rejoining the Falcons with regards to hitting. I have survived a few hits now and I am pleased to say it’s given me confidence to take and give them. It is so important when going into the boards or any challenges that that you don’t fear the check. Such an improvement I’m very proud of. 
There has been talks of who is an isn’t signing for the new season. I will have to discuss this with them in the week to come, it could be my chance to join the team officially or if not get a real sense of where I am.
This week sees the return of Sawyers skating lessons. He wants to play Ice Hockey like his Dad. Unlike his Dad he has started early enough to get on some youth teams and play under the age of 16. This could be an excellent opportunity for him but it does require him to pass gradings and obtain a certain level before he’s allowed to play with a puck. Early days but he is progressing well through the basics and he has a friend there so he is having fun and socialising as well which is important at his age.


Finally I have had the Go Pro on my helmet during training. I was able to get on ice footage that I then use to produce photos and short videos. I can get some nice clips which I publish on the channel go watch them at 

https://youtu.be/pqQVtgjfRR0

Gallery

Our Month – January 

This month we have caught the third evolution of all the starter Pokemon, we went to the beach. We had a brilliant New Years days and started very festive. Fun walks and beach walks. Family have came round, from cousins to grandparents. I launched the Hockey Journal and Sawyer began his hockey Journey. Despite a lot of fun we are glad to see the back of January because we have been ill throughout it especially Sawyer who has been in hospital because of high Blood Sugars. Looking forward for the month of Love though, see what trouble we can get into.

Berg

Week 2 – Back on the Ice 

Finally I get to get back on the ice. As I get changed someone enlightens me that it has been 4 weeks since our last training session.


For Christmas I got a new stick. A Nexus 9000. There are two differences between this stick and the last. The first is the length, my previous stick I cut down really short. The basis for this was to emphasise puck handling over shooting. I have never had a shot, certainly not a slapshot, and because I keep low for checking the length suited me.

Because it was short the second difference was that it had no flex. Like none at all. Once cut it must have been over 150 flex. 

During the break I was worrying about playing with a longer, whippier stick.

How would it effect my puck control? Would it really give me a better shot? Or would it just get in the way?

My other concern was how much damage my Christmas belly had done to my fitness.

4 weeks of questions followed me as I stepped onto the the ice for the Altrincham Aardvarx Saturday session. As I skated up and down in the opening few minutes I realised my skates were sharp enough, I hadn’t left any of my agility behind.

There were no net minders on the Varx. All had prior commitments it being the first Saturday past the Holidays. That didn’t stop me from firing out a load of shots off. Wow. It was worth the initial clumsiness when the power in my shot had grown so much. At one point I thought someone behind me had taken the shot… and they kept hitting the top left bag… from the blue line.

Due to the lack of net minders the drills consisted mainly of skating and puck handling drills. Perfect. Just what I needed to feel out the stick and my stride.

One thing I noticed was I had more of a reach I could dodge one way and have my stick out the other side, cutting them off completely. I got the puck 90% of the time.

I didn’t feel any awkwardness with the stick until I returned to the Blackburn Falcons 2 nights later. With the higher intensity I really got a feel for how differently I could pull moves on it. They were different moves which gave me more space. It was easier to guide them to the boards because of my reach. This time there was a net minder to practice my shot on.

The Falcons drills were as always more situational and during a cycling drill I found the true power of the shot, scoring several top shelf bags past the net minder from a one timer, on the move. I had never done that before. 

In my last Falcons training before Christmas I had a higher intensity and even started to match the others players pace. I could never have matched them before. Thankfully this session was no different, carrying my confidence through into this new year.

A surprise was that in the scrimmage the two players known for the harder most liberal checks were against me. I’m pleased to say I held my own and took and gave a few checks back. Checking is something I need to build back into my game so this was a nice first step.

The first training sessions of the new year had gone well and wiped any doubts that come from absence out of my mind, now I can move forward with pride and self confidence.

Plan B

With 5 children, 2 adults and 7 pets there is always a lot going on in our house. One of my goals this year is to really harness the activity, what I need is a plan.

I like to plan things. I love spreadsheets and bullet journals and to do lists and checklists and you get the idea. However, I am the only one. Mrs Berg for example prefers a spontaneous approach, never getting tied down to one thing. She would rather do everything, all at once. This is whether it’s all the house work at once or visiting all our friends and family on the same day, like a grand tour. 

Most people despair of me preparing a spreadsheet instead of just getting on with it. My mother constantly used to roll her eyes as I spend a day planning half a days work. 

Whereas they have a point I feel it’s not the plans fault and more mine. The action should definitely be larger than the time it took to plan it. This is something I hadn’t yet mastered.

Still what we need more than ever is a plan. 2 jobs, a degree, placements, school runs, nursery runs, cubs, dance, ice hockey, dog walks, exercise, runs, yoga, blog posts, free time, meal time, study time, sleep time, no time. At this point in our lives it needs to be managed, because after all time is the most precious of commodities.

The best guide for planning that has worked for me over the past year and one technique I will carry forward into the new year comes from The Art of Manliness 

https://youtu.be/KNxLNY6yxRI

A complete plan that encourages you to set goals, so you work to progress yourself as a person. The idea is that it is necessary to plan your day to day tasks but you need overall personal goals in order to feel fulfilled.

Recently I have gotten into Journaling. I find it helps me focus my writing and enables me to reflect on the things that are important to me. It is also a good way to plan your time. The first guy I watched who talked about journaling was Clark Danger.

https://youtu.be/Obni_PPkdiI

This is a good video to start with. He has a whole channel full of good videos and ideas on how to journal and how journaling can lead to good planning, both week to week and life. 

Finally, I have a soft spot for this bullet journalist. Her name is Boho Berry.  Just her design skills and layout appealed to me. Start with this video but again if you like it she has many good videos.

https://youtu.be/QD08sNRQkpkh

Combining several concepts from these plans I will make my own. Your own plan has to reflect your own style because your the only one doing what you are doing. 

It is about balance.

I will keep you posted on how successful I am and in a couple of months I will show you how I do it. 

Do you have a plan? What’s your technique? Let me know in the comments.

Berg

Week 1 – Ice withdrawal

“Coach Bombay: Haven’t you guys been training in the off-season? 

Lester Averman: You know, I knew we forgot something.” – Mighty Ducks 2
So this is week one and I’m already a little nervous because I havent been on the Ice for 2 weeks.

I feel like I have gotten very fat and slow and until I get back on the ice I don’t know just how fat and slow I have got.


To counteract this since the 27th I have started my off ice training, this consists of 3 key areas. Firstly I run. At least 15k a week, usually 5k 3 times. I run to increase my stamina, but there is a difference to long distance training and hockey specific running. There is always a 10k that I am training for and I run these through the summer for charity. But once a week I will run a 5k specific for hockey. This is usually to sprint the lampposts providing a chance to build up short bursts of speed, representative of chasing down a player on a break away, or even having a break away myself. Or I could run at high speed for 2 minutes, the jogging pace for 3 minutes, to represent shifts on the ice. 

I might also try some thing different I might have seen in research.

Next type is HIIT training in the form of a beach body workout. I have completed a few of them to date and this year I wanted to try a new one. Insanity Max 30. Currently I’m in my second week and hope that this will burn off the fat I have built up over the holidays. Once this is complete I plan to move back to my Insanity/P90x hybrid for the rest of the year.

Finally I have found a few stickhandling drills online that I plan on practising regularly. This one is from current NHL all star McDavid.

https://youtu.be/GQK1RBm8Vx4
The link runs from one of my favourite YouTube channels The Hockey Movement, if you look through his back episodes there is a wealth of hockey tips and tricks for all skill levels. 
There has also been a lot of Hockey to watch over the holidays. The centinial Classic between Toronto and Detroit and the Winter Classic between Chicago and St Louis. I havent seen the Ceninial yet but I can say I enjoyed the Winter Classic enormously, I will avoid spoilers but will say this is an entertaining game if you haven’t seen it.

Also I really like the Road to… series that NHL have been making of recent years, a behind the scenes look at the teams in the games before the Winter Classic and Stanley Cup. It makes for a fascinating insight into the professional game we aspire to. 

That’s how I have been keeping busy waiting, but while I am pacing up and down waiting for ice time, you can see me having fun on the ice by checking out my YouTube Channel Bergs Place on YouTube at
https://youtu.be/pqQVtgjfRR0

Remember your Curve

Feeling a little sluggish after the holidays? Too much to eat over Christmas? Feeling overwhelmed or that you have gone off course after the break? Me too. 

This December I have felt the burn. No hockey for 2 weeks, no running, no writing, kids have run riot, too much food and too much booze. Come January I feel exhausted and under prepared for 2017. 
It was enough to get me doubting myself.
But then I remembered my first lesson of the new year. Think of how far you have come. 
Where am I on my curve, from where I was, to where I want to be. 
Looking back to who I was when I first started to decisively change my life for the better I’m a lot further towards my goal than away from it. 

I don’t smoke now (that was a big one). I can run 5k at leisure, I have a blog that I write for, I look after my 5 children as a part time stay at home Dad, commanding control over the housework. And my hockey game is improving all the time on a team I love. 
Stresses, blips in diet and exercise, backwards steps that occur, whilst not commended should certainly not be punished and must be addressed with a certain perspective.
In a time of fresh starts and new goals, it is important to recognise how far our journey has brought us. 
Now give yourself a break, remember your curve and take your steps forward positively and proudly.
Happy New Year. Let’s make this a good one.
Berg