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.