Good stick time on Wednesday, but I won’t bore you with the details when I can tell you about the excitement of Sunday’s class.
Started with some skating drills. We’re doing them end to end now instead of board to board. Our current favorite is one where the entire class makes a snake and chases each other around the circles at one end, the circle in the center and the circles at the other end, going as fast as you can.
Broke into three groups again. This time we worked on wrist shots with Brian first. Learning the wrist shot is going to be a long process… I think I have it, then they tell me what I’m doing wrong (everything). If it was easy, anybody could do it… I do like my new stick, though.
Next was skating with Spencer. Not sure what it’s called, but he taught us the basics of a cool move – how to go from skating forward in one direction to skating backwards in the opposite direction without losing momentum. It looks really cool when it’s done right (watch some NHL defensemen skating, you’ll see it). This is where practicing C cuts (swizzles) all those weeks ago is coming in handy, as it’s a wide C cut with the outside foot that is the key to the maneuver.
Last we did a “breakout” drill with Jeff. Dump the puck, pick it up and pass it, receive a pass then shoot the net. Wow do I suck at handling a puck.
And then what has become the best part of hockey class – scrimmage time. We got an extra 15 minutes of ice time too, so we ended up with about 25 minutes of play time.
I’m finding that I’m most comfortable playing defense, so that’s all I did this week. Our coaches were out there with us, helping us understand where to go/be and bashing the puck away from us just to make things more interesting. I tried to focus on positioning again, keeping myself between opposing players and our goal, not getting too far into the offensive zone yet still being close enough to knock the puck back into it.
Made one outstanding defensive play where I dove across the shooting lane and kept one of the better skaters/players in the class from scoring, blocked at least one shot with my stick and cleared the puck with a hand pass as I lay on the ice. Oh, and I got high sticked in the face too. I love my face cage! The rest of my shifts I pretty much flailed, but I’m grinning while I’m flailing and that’s what it’s all about.
Keith played forward on his shifts. And he shot. And he scored – on a live goalie no less! He claims he got lucky. I disagree. He honored the skydiving tradition that goes along with doing anything for the first time and bought a pitcher of beer to share after class.
Besides being a load of fun, scrimmaging is showing us how much we still have to learn and improve. And more importantly, increase our on-ice awareness. To reference the sport I know best, most novice skydivers are pretty unaware of what is going on around them; with more jumps, awareness increases. I hope the same applies to hockey. There’s so much to think about out there!
Our stick times will focus a lot more on skating for at least the next few weeks, as we try to solidify what we’ve learned so we don’t have to think about our skating so much. Today an order went in for two Green Biscuits , an off ice training puck recommended by Jeff that we can use to practice puck handling and passing out in the street.
Giving up watching at least the first period of Game 3 for stick time tomorrow. I’m sure the Sharks will do just fine without me watching. 😉