Wayne Blazejczyk Discusses How to Improve as a Field Hockey Player
Wayne Blazejczyk is well known as a business owner and major shareholder, however, during his free time Blazejczyk takes pride in coaching Letchworth Hockey Club 1st and 2nd Women’s teams in the UK. Over his years of participating, Wayne Blazejczyk has accumulated quite a bit of knowledge on developing as a player, and he has seen many players rise to the upper echelons of the sport. One facet of the game that players consistently touch upon is how to improve, as competition in the space is always evolving and learning new ways to take their game in to the next level. For the benefit of players just getting their bearings, Wayne Blazejczyk notes a few ways that novices can grow as players.
Any player worth their salt will tell you that there is no substitute for practicing if you really wish to see improvement. To become a well-rounded player, you will need to practice all the essential skills such as leading, trapping, ball control, passing, shooting, and defense. Players will also want to get crucial practice with movements and maneuvers such as their lateral movement, pullbacks, and receiving a pass while in motion. Wayne Blazejczyk notes that it is common that new players downplay the importance of physical exercises that do not involve handling a stick, but workouts are indispensable for conditioning a player and assisting with the range of motions the sport entails. Lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, and runs are a few popular exercises for field hockey players, however, there are a variety of different methods for maintaining peak performance. In Blazejczyk’s experience, it can be helpful for a new player to isolate exercises based on what they can do alone and what is better to practice with a group. That way, a player can optimize their time with their group and practice key areas of their game or regiment as they see fit.
One of the simplest ways to get better at the game, Wayne Blazejczyk notes, is by watching the professionals. Viewing games either in person or online is a great way to learn more about the sport and improve your game, as it allows you to see how professional players react to a variety of in-game situations. Even as a beginner, seeing how some of the best players the sport has to offer bring intensity to the field can be immensely beneficial for understanding how you want to develop your game. While watching pros play can help with seeing advanced techniques and high-level play in action, it also serves as a motivating factor. Wayne Blazejczyk recognizes that, when we view professional matches, we not only see what to emulate but what to strive to achieve.
As with any sport that requires teamwork, field hockey training can be easier with friends. If you have access to a hockey club or can find players of a similar experience level that are looking for a group to train within, Wayne Blazejczyk recommends teaming up. One of the inherent benefits to a dedicated hockey club or training group is that it can do wonders for fueling your passion for the game. Some groups shine because of the competitive edge that a friendly group can facilitate as each player tries to improve their game, whereas others tend to lean more towards focusing on positive reinforcement. In Wayne Blazejczyk’s experience, both approaches are worthwhile and some of the best hockey groups utilize a mix of comradery and friendly competition. There truly is no replacement for the mutually beneficial environment consisting of growing players that can help each other work on weak spots in their game.
Over the years, Wayne Blazejczyk has found that skill is only part of what separates some of the best players from the intermediate level players. It is not uncommon to hear some variation of “How much do you want it?” from coaches and mentors as you focus on your game and try your best to improve, and that is by design. Truly what makes some players shine is their dedication to the sport and a desire to understand the game and their role within it. If you stick with field hockey for years, you will likely discover players that are more talented or have a firm grasp on skills that you are you are still working on. As a player determined to grow, it is best to find motivation in your room for improvement. Wayne Blazejczyk acknowledges that players will always have skills that they excel in above others and it can be easy to neglect the portions of the game that we have trouble with. While our skills may lead us to different positions and specializations on the field, becoming a great and well-rounded player involves developing a wholistic understanding of the game. When we are honest with ourselves about our skills and weakness and use self-awareness of ourselves as players to consistently improve, we can always find more to learn about field hockey. That desire to learn and grow is where the line between good and great is drawn.