That is probably the scariest word I’ve ever heard and I actually dread hearing it during practices. “If we have time, we’ll have a little scrimmage…” - I really hope we don’t have time. “We’re going to scrimmage tonight…”-what do you mean “we”? Of course as a team member I have to scrimmage, even though I feel like a chicken with it’s head cut off trying to keep up with everyone and everything. Believe it or not, I’ve only been in a handful of scrimmages, and one in particular didn’t go very well for me, but I’ve learned a few things from the scrimmages and now it’s time for me to share that with you.
Usually before the scrimmage starts there is a short period of time when your team will plan their strategy. Sometimes during practice you’ll be working on different offensive and defensive strategies which are incorporated into the plan that your team makes, this is the perfect time to ask questions. Ask what each strategy means and for a demonstration so you can learn what’s going on, how to execute the strategy, and any additional information you can pick up on during the explanation. Asking questions is great since it shows that you care and you really to want to do well for your team. Ask questions on the bench when someone gets called for a penalty, ask questions during a water break to see what you’re doing wrong and what you’re doing right, and ask questions after the scrimmage to see what you can improve on. I used to be so afraid to ask questions about techniques and strategies, but now that I have gotten over that fear, I’ve learned so much and realize that I still have more to learn.
Just do it
Okay, not to sound like familiar marketing campaign, but seriously, just do it. Just get out there and skate, you have to participate. As much as I’d love to keep the bench warm for my teammates, I can’t. I have to go out there and skate. This is where you implement what you’ve learned from the questions you’ve asked. You have get out there and show your teammates that you were paying attention when they explained a strategy. You just have to try, that’s it! You don’t have to get something right away, it takes a lot of time to really learn a new skill or execute a strategy correctly, and that’s okay. My problem is that when I ask a question about a new skill and someone shows it to me, if I don’t get it right away then I stop trying to learn it. I start to think that because I’m not immediately amazing at whatever I try, then there’s no way I could ever learn it. I know this is not true and I have to I have to tell myself that I will learn it, that it’s going to take some time, and that’s okay… which brings me to my next point.
You’re here to improve.
As I said, if I can’t pick up a skill and then in a second become amazing, I won’t try. I want to be the absolute best at whatever I do the second I try it. This is why when I scrimmage I get so discouraged whenever I get a penalty, or a fall, or miss a hit, or I-well you get the picture. I have to remind myself that scrimmage is basically the culmination of every practice that I’ve had. It’s where I put together skills, techniques, and strategies I have learned in previous practices and use those to improve my gameplay. I have a mantra that I say in my head on the way to practice, “You’re here to improve, you don’t have to be the best, but every night you become the best you, you can be. Improve your skills, grow in your confidence, and become the best you, you can be.” It sounds corny, but it helps. By Reminding myself that in scrimmages and practices I’m only there to get better and to improve, not to be the best, I am able to give my all for Hard Knox. I do my best to show my teammates that I’m improving, and I’m doing it for them, but also for myself.
This is the most important thing to remember (besides extra water). Have fun! Once you really get into skating and playing, it’s pretty fun! After all, this is why you joined! Plus, if you have fun with it, the scrimmage goes by faster-but you didn’t hear that from me. Smile because you’re playing an amazing sport with an incredible group of men and women who want you to ask questions, play, improve, and above all have fun! So get out there and get skating!
That’s all for now—we’ll meet again in the Grindhouse!