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07-11-2011, 06:48 PM
I only own my mind..
Mithrandir's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Texas
Country: United States
Posts: 11,812
vCash: 500
One thing that's become more and more evident to me over the years is that, if you're a serious hockey player who skates 3+ times a week and is looking to really, consistently get better... take a break.

Sounds odd? For most of my life, I played 3+ times a week, year round, each year. The odd moments where, for some reason I was off the ice for an extended period of time - and I mean 1-3 months, not a couple of weeks - I always saw a big improvement in my overall game and the maturity/thought level at which I was playing.

Sure, when you stay off the ice for a couple of months and come back, it takes a couple hours to get your hands up to par again or get your legs back (should be doing conditioning off ice anyways though) but I always find that an aspect of my game is greatly improved by taking some time off. During the time away from hockey, I usually find myself watching lots of games, playing a lot of NHL, watching highlight reels and youtube clips, reading about hockey, and basically thinking about hockey all the time. When I come back to the game, rather than sinking into any old habits I may be in when I'm playing every day, I'm a little more like a blank slate and I can incorporate a new aspect into my game - something that I've noticed from watching and thinking so much hockey but never had the consciousness to adapt when I was playing regularly because I was so intent on playing "my game". Each time I take a break from hockey and come back to it, the game seems a little slower, I seem to see the play better, my vision seems better, my poise seems better and I find that something like my playmaking, or my anticipation, or my positioning on the breakout, or my patience one on one has improved. I think it's all about having time away from the game to let your brain absorb new ideas without being on the ice staying stuck in old routines.

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