The return of Hockey Players to hockey activity is being carefully tested and monitored worldwide as the tight grip of Covid-19 gradually relaxes during sporting activities.
Hockey Players Come Back To Training
In this interview, we speak to the Polish captain of the women’s national team, Marlena Rybacha, and Mateusz Grochal, former coach of the U16 boys’ national team and now head of development for the Polish hockey association.
Marlena Rybacha said when she was waiting to come to a training session with her club team, the Dutch team HC Oranje Rood: “It is really nice to be back in training. I enjoy every second we’re back on the field, especially to be back with the girls and hit a few balls.
“There are a lot of restrictions during training, for example that we cannot get closer than one and a half meters. That’s why we have a lot of technical skills and a lot of passes and goals. It’s amazing, ”she adds with a smile,“ because I usually have to defend a lot. I really enjoy being back in the field. “
Marlena became known during the lockdown for her inspiring home training videos. Looking back, she says: “I have learned that 50 days of training in a row without a break are not the smartest move in the world. It’s really important to rest, and recovery is a big part of the process. This means that we can then perform 100 percent, so that “more is better” is not necessarily the case. I’ll think about that in the coming months. I won’t train too much without a break. “
The training itself is carefully monitored. As head of development, Mateusz is heavily involved in the processes of safely returning to the field. He says: “We resumed training three weeks ago in accordance with our ministry regulations. First, in reduced groups of six players plus a coach on an entire field.
“Now we are allowed to have 22 players plus four coaches in one place. The next steps will be announced shortly. We expect a decision on competitions around June 9th. “
Marlena’s experience with HC Oranje-Rood follows similar principles: “There are many limitations. We are not allowed to play games, we are not allowed to touch the equipment, so cones or balls have to be moved by the coaching staff. Each training session ends at least 15 minutes before another group enters the field so we don’t meet.
“The fans are now in the club, so there is another entrance to leave the field. There are many rules, but it is really important that we are safe and stay healthy. “
Just as Marlena has interacted with its large social media fan community, the Polish hockey association has maintained contact with the hockey players. “From March to May we had an online challenge with videos in which different national players nominated others,” said Mateusz. “It was like a chain reaction in which a lot of people got involved.
One of our national team players had another challenge, which was essentially about making five burpees and then nominating five more people who each donated five zlotys to fight COVID19.
“We also did a survey to find our best internationals over the past 20 years. An expert group voted on their decisions and this gave us the last eleven. “(Marlena Rybacha was 11 among the selected stars).
Some clubs in Poland have made face masks and buffs with their club logo that players can wear. And at Mateusz’s own club, he says, every junior player receives a personalized water bottle to highlight the message of safety.
Like the entire hockey community, Mateusz is pleased that things are slowly returning to normal. He says that social integration is a key value among club players in Poland and that everyone from coaches to players to parents missed the interaction. And while he says that after such a long break, the technical skills are a bit “out”, he adds: “The excitement and energy that we noticed during the first training sessions made these sessions very special.”