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Wayne Blazejczyk

Wayne Blazejczyk Discusses Nutrition and After Practice Tips for Australian Field Hockey

Wayne Blazejczyk

An avid fan and coach of the sport, Wayne Blazejczyk has spent many years within the world of field hockey. During his years working as a coach for Letchworth Women’s Hockey Club team, Mr. Blazejczyk has developed several guidelines for his players to keep them at peak performance during the field hockey season. While many games have been put on hold for the 2020 season due to COVID-19, players are still encouraged to stay ‘game ready’ by practicing drills and eating right at home.

Field hockey is a sport that requires not only incredible endurance but also bursts of speed from its players. This amount of cardio and stress on players’ muscles can be taxing. As a result, players must learn to take care of their bodies both on and off the field. One of the first lessons Wayne Blazejczyk gives to new players on his team is the importance of nutrition. Due to the physically demanding and rough nature of the sport, it is recommended that players eat a nutrient-rich diet to help with recovery between practices. This diet should consist primarily of lean proteins to help repair muscle and maintain weight, and carbohydrates to restore a player’s energy. Players are often encouraged after a game to drink milk, an incredible food for recovery due to its high amount of protein and carbohydrates. Another excellent recovery food for after a practice or a game is salmon, a lean protein packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation.

Whether or not your team is still practicing during COVID, it is much more difficult to get your body back in shape than to keep it ‘game ready’. When applicable, coach Wayne Blazejczyk encourages his players to incorporate a variety of practice workouts into their daily at-home routines. At-home workouts can consist of running 3-5 miles every other day, sprinting every 2 minutes during these runs for 15 seconds, and keeping up on their sets of lunges and squats. These exercises should keep up players’ endurance and grow leg muscle. It is vital for field hockey players to not only possess endurance, but to be quick on their feet; this requires excellent footwork, balance, and agility. Daily at-home practices of grapevine and ladder, using either cones or socks, will hone these skills and keep players at peak performance. Although there is no way of knowing when the pandemic will end or when sports activities can resume as normal, players should take this time to learn responsibility in their solo-practices and to push themselves as individuals.

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Wayne Blazejczyk

Wayne Blazejczyk Discusses How Players Can Become Better Teammates

Wayne Blazejczyk

As a hockey player and coach for several years, Wayne Blazejczyk is consistently asked about multiple facets of the game. For example, one frequent question he is asked by new and old players alike is how they can be a better teammate and lead their fellow players to success. After all, hockey is a team sport, and the winners are decided by who can work as fluidly as a team as often as it is decided by which team contains the most talented players. Wayne Blazejczyk acknowledges that several players have felt as though their teamwork skills have suffered in the time since COVID-19 came into play and wish to improve for the sake of competition and comradery. Here, he explains a few simple ways that both new and experienced player can be better teammates.

While fundamentals are often harped upon by coaches, Wayne Blazejczyk notes that they truly are a fast way to become a better teammate. They are not flashy, but they are extremely substantive. To this point, even the most experienced players out there can always find ways to improve their game by elevating their knowledge of fundamental skills. Ball control and accurate passing are a couple of the first skills new players learn, but these simple skills decide games even in the upper echelons of the sport. Players will certainly be better teammates if they can consistently make passes to their teammates accurately and can limit the amount of times opponents can strip the ball from their possession.

Communication is another commonly thrown around word in the realm of field hockey, according to Wayne Blazejczyk. Again, this is because communication skills are imperative for becoming a better teammate and can always be improved on no matter how long an individual has spent playing the sport. Coaches and teammates alike prefer working with players that can communicate well, as team-oriented games necessitate the ability to get information clearly and decisively to other players for best results. Good players can inspire cohesion through their actions on the pitch, great teammates and leaders can do so through both their actions and their words.

Wayne Blazejczyk also speaks to the ways that versatility as a player can make an individual a better teammate. At a high level, players that can play multiple positions well or are willing to adjust their game to suit the skills of their other teammates, fill in for injured players, and remain a student of the sport are crucial as leaders. Hockey is a simple game in concept but, in practice, it can be incredibly complex and require differing approaches depending on multiple factors. To this point, Wayne Blazejczyk recognizes the importance of acknowledging how every game is different, and one cannot simply apply the same approach against every team if they wish to win games consistently. Versatility in the sport is a virtue, and the ability to adapt will take some of the weight off your teammates’ and coaches’ shoulders. They will return the favor by providing to the relationship and working hard to support you in your goals to become a better player as well.

For a sport as team centric as hockey, there are always going to be things that can be done to improve as a player. The examples provided by Wayne Blazejczyk are just a few of the common examples of easy ways to dedicate oneself to becoming a better teammate. If an individual can remain focused on what they know, what they are good at, their limitations, and commit themselves to working well with their team, they will always be able to improve as a player and inspire teammates to reach new heights as well.

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Wayne Blazejczyk

Wayne Blazejczyk Discusses A Simple Hockey Drill for Home

Wayne Blazejczyk

As a player and coach of hockey throughout his life, Wayne Blazejczyk always looks for new ways to help players get the most out of the game. One of the biggest struggles for hockey players in the age of COVID-19 has been finding ways to hone their skills without access to public fields and other players. Fortunately, Wayne Blazejczyk knows of a great drill that players can take advantage of from the comfort of their own backyard.

A lot of players do not practice their skills due to lack of space. Wayne Blazejczyk believes that a confined space should not hinder a player’s ability to practice. Two of the most important skills a hockey player can have are agility and ball control. In a game situation, around the shooting circle and in the neutral zone, players will find themselves marked by a defender. When this happens, the player must have the ability to break free without losing possession for their team.

With just five cones, players can work on their agility and ball control, which will in turn help them in game situations. Cones number 1 and number 5 just need to be set thirty feet apart. Cones two and four should be placed thirty feet from cones 1 and 5 and then then cone 3 can be placed directly in the middle. The drill can then be practiced by sprinting from cone 1 to cone 2 while dribbling the ball. If this is something that is difficult for the player to do consistently without losing control, Wayne Blazejczyk recommends focusing on this part of the drill until it becomes easy enough to do without thinking.  Wayne Blazejczyk believes it’s all about maintaining speed. If a player cannot sprint, they aren’t going to be able to maintain possession in a game situation.

Once the first step of the drill is mastered, the player can look to the second part of the drill which asks the player to cut to cone 3 before slowing down and pulling the ball around cone 4. In this scenario, the player can visualize the fourth cone as a defender, or the goal, as this technique can help a player work on their wrap around technique. After this step, the ball should be dribbled over to cone 5, where another cut will take place around the cone and the ball can be dribbled back to cone 1. This drill can repeated over and over again. It will help build a player’s ball handling skills while also improving upon their lung capacity. The more a player sprints, the better off their conditioning will be in a game situation.