A couple of weekends ago I competed with my University team in the Vancouver Field Hockey Premier League Championships. Wow that was a mouthful. These two championship games were played just a short week after returning from the US tour with the National Team, this allowed me to bring into perspective the differences between international and domestic competition. Obviously there are some big basic changes; international hockey is much more fast paced, causing your decision making to be quicker and your skills to be sharper, buying you crucial seconds of extra time. What was even more helpful is that I now play center mid for both the national team and my club team, so I can also compare my roles and positional play in each team. However, I’ll admit I try to sneak into the forward line as much as possible with my club team, I can’t resist the lure of glory goal hunting!
After playing center mid with my club team shortly after adjusting to playing with the National team, I noticed that not only does the game change, but my game changes a little too. I play much more freely With my club team, I search for open space and I’m better able to get a real feel for the game. However with the National team I am much more conscious of my positioning, and am less likely to go searching for space and flee from the positioning plan. Obviously in international competition tactics become a more crucial part of the game and the team has to adhere to a structure and game plan, but to what extent? Being a center mid on the national team there are a lot of spacing and other players I have to be aware of, well I’m in the middle of the pitch so I’m literally surrounded. But upon review I still think I can be more adventurous and start to manipulate my spacing more.
I suppose it’s the fear of making mistakes that holds you back. But in life I have never been someone afraid to make mistakes, and trust me I have made a lot; I’ve been stranded in the Frankfurt airport, I’ve crashed a car in Thailand, and I’ve shaved the side of my head. At the time some of these mistakes feel horrific, but the reality is you always get through them. And here I am, made it through and took some lessons with me like listen to your mum’s (and pretty much everyone else’s) haircut advice…..and crashing a car in Thailand didn’t make me afraid to drive in foreign countries, but maybe a little more careful….and I also learned a lot about the Thai insurance system…..like bargaining with the rental car manager’s friend for a repair price. My point being, in life and on the field the fear of making the mistake is often a lot worse than the repercussions of the mistake. Mistakes are inevitable, the difference is the source. I would much rather make a mistake because I’m pushing myself to be better, or trying something new. I’m heading into 2014 taking more of this fearless attitude to the field with me, and very conscious of continuously pushing myself out of my comfort zone not just physically but also mentally.
The famous shaved head haircut…(sorry mum)