If you think making it onto a collegiate field hockey team was where the hard work ended, sadly you are mistaken. You cannot expect to show up in the fall and be fit enough to play. Almost as soon as you commit to a school, you should be working out. It does not even really matter how young you are when you commit. In fact, you have more of an advantage if you commit early on because you have more time to get where you need to be fitness wise.
In general, college hockey is very different than high school hockey. Firstly, it is a much faster game because players are more experienced, and they make quicker decisions. Secondly, players are also more skilled which allows them to move the ball more intelligently. The aim usually is to tire your opponents out by making them run and chase the ball. The easiest way to accomplish this task is by passing the ball around the field. However, that also means players need to be moving so the team can get the ball down the field and into the net.
I won’t lie; I do not enjoy receiving that dreaded summer packet that dictates how I will be spending my summer. It means I have to make working out a priority in my plans for summer. I did not allow myself to come home from a long day of work and just relax. I would force myself to immediately change clothes and put on my running shoes. Or if it was a lifting day, I headed straight our makeshift gym in the basement of my house. However, I knew it was for my own good because come field hockey season I would not have to focus on fitness during preseason. If my teammates did their part by also working out, then it allows my team to focus on things like team shape and team chemistry on the field. We would also be able to skip out on more running activities which were much less fun compared to doing field hockey drills. If we are more in shape at the beginning of preseason, our coach incorporates more hidden conditioning drill rather than straight forward run tests to reward us for our hard work. Despite how difficult and mentally taxing running is in summer, in the end it is all worth it because it translates in game time.