7 Signs That It’s The Field Hockey Pre-Season!

“Nothing will work unless you do” – John Wooden

No matter how much fitness training you have done in the off-season, there’s not a lot that can truly prepare your body for a field hockey pre-season! 

Hockey demands more of your muscles than almost any non-specific fitness. Therefore, in order to make pre-season as painless as possible, you need to prepare with hockey-specific training and learn the skills to be mentally tough

A good field hockey preseason will never be easy – but with the right techniques and knowledge, you can stay a step ahead.    

Screenshot 2015-07-21 12.19.40Almost every hockey player knows, all too well, the signs that it’s preseason – and it’s those preseasons where you’ve just not quite done enough of the right training, that really stick in the memory. The most intensive preseason programmes can require twice or even three-times-daily sessions, always accompanied with chatter and fun, but a lot of pain.

Based on personal experience and various testimonies from within the hockey community, here are the…

7 Signs That It’s Field Hockey Pre-season:

1. The fear!

This fear usually strikes about two weeks before that dreaded first day of preseason! The inevitable questions which run through everyone’s head…Have I done enough training? Will everyone be fitter than me? What are we going to be made to do? Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.29.12Teammates start interrogating each other about their preparation – frantically trying to seek out that one individual who has always done significantly more than they said they had. There are also always those who are particularly confident in their fitness, and that little bit too proud of the preparation they have done. Although annoying, we all know that these such individuals are the ones we wish we were.

You can be this person with the right mindset!

2. The ‘ooh’-‘ahh’ choir! 

Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.29.34An intensive preseason, without thorough preparation, will introduce you to a level of muscle soreness never experienced before! D.O.M.S (delayed onset muscle soreness) will quickly become your new best friend, reminding you with every movement of that one long, lazy week away that you had a month before. Whilst simultaneously developing as hockey players, your team will magically transform into a musical choir, emitting little squeals of discomfort with every move. Each time the team gets up from the bench after a water break, or stretches a little too far for one more long pass, the choir of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ will ring out in a chorus that rivals even the best of boybands.

3. The “hockey headache”

Many hockey players are familiar with the “hockey headache” which can strike during the post-match period. This headache is a combination of tiredness, mild pain and a strong desire to nap – which is sure to strike many people down during an intense preseason. As the hockey preseason regime gets into full swing, the number of teammates falling victim to this headache will increase, and people will start to escape to their rooms at any opportunity to sneak in a cheeky nap. As a combination of dehydration, tiredness and sun exposure, knowing how to prepare your body to combat these issues and respond to the demands of preseason can ensure that you do not fall victim to this.Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.29.38

4. The niggles

Preseason is the optimum time for picking-up an injury, and many players find themselves spending far more time on the physio bed than the AstroTurf; this is time away from the field that can be critical – resulting in being left behind, or even out for the season. Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.29.45Teams are often all too familiar with those first few weeks back at hockey in which a quarter of the team are transformed into frustrated waterboys that are forced to spend most of their time in the long queue to see the physiotherapist. Many players have even missed out on selection because they have failed to give their bodies the preparation they need. With proper preparation and knowledge of how to recognise your body’s limits, you can ensure that you are always giving yourself the best chance to fulfil you potential.

5. That tingling feeling

SScreenshot 2015-07-21 11.29.51itting down will never be quite as fantastic as it is during preseason. Any treasured opportunity to rest your legs will bring with it that wonderful tingling sensation that you only get from a hard day’s work! At some point during preseason, you might also discover muscles that you didn’t even know you had. Reaching new heights of soreness can make you more aware of your body than ever before.

6. The hunger

Preseason seems to bring about a feeding frenzy like no other. Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.30.01As your team is let loose for that highly treasured lunch break, players begin to descend on the buffet like a venue of ravenous vultures, with little regard for what they are putting into their bodies. Whilst you will be burning a huge number of calories, each of which needs to be re-fuelled, knowing what to put in to your body will make sure that you recover at optimal speed – ready for your next hard session.    

7. The hockey hunch

Screenshot 2015-07-21 11.30.05As the hockey preseason gets underway, your team will quickly transform from a group of fresh-faced young athletes into a frightening assembly of 100-year-olds; with their favourite Gryphon taking on the role of a walking stick. One of the most problematic body parts is the back, because assuming a hockey playing position is extremely demanding on muscles that are seldom used. Knowing how to perfect your position on the ball, and how to correctly train your body for preseason, can significantly help in overcoming these troubles.

Great players are made before the season starts…

How many times have you said “I am going to get really fit this season” and then you don’t stick to it?

The reason this happens is because you don’t have the mental focus required (which you can learn more about here) or you’re probably not following a structured hockey specific program which delivers results.

If you would like to develop your pre-season or in-season fitness, check out our Fit For Hockey Program designed to make you a fitter, faster and stronger hockey player while also reducing your risk of injury.

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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.