Preseason – the happiest event on any athlete’s calendar, especially after a summer of sipping piña coladas on the beach. It’s simply a friendly reminder of those pounds you need to shed, following your week long holiday sampling the local cuisine. It has always been a permanent feature on the St Andrews sporting calendar and this year was no exception. As the final weeks of summer faded away, throngs of student-athletes descended on St Andrews at the end of August, ready to go. Whether it’s to regain match fitness, to prevent injury or to initiate team-bonding- here’s hoping that Preseason 2015 is the dress-rehearsal for a spectacular sporting performance to follow.
For hockey players, everything was to play for. With seven teams competing in BUCS this year, preseason was a great way to break in those boots before the coming matches. The hockey club has continued to expand, bringing with it fresh faces who invigorate teams and elevate their performance to the next level. Of course, focusing on preparation for BUCS is important, but preseason is a period of re-acclimatisation, with hockey sessions geared towards rebuilding your match fitness and reigniting those silky skills. Going back to the basics is a key phrase, from passing, to shooting, dribbling and tackling- no stone was left unturned…preseason is the perfect opportunity to put your skills to the test before the serious work begins.
However, it takes a lot more than commitment to hockey to reach the heights that the club have experienced over the past years. For those competing at the 1st XI level, the demands of juggling training sessions and matches, with an academic life can be daunting. Preseason is an excellent opportunity to address these concerns by running workshops about time management and healthy eating, whose sole goal is to mentally prepare the athlete for the year ahead. As gold medal sprinter Michael Johnson once said: ‘The best motivation comes from within’- these classes are just one aspect of the support and instruction that exists, to help players to be the best that they can be, on and off the field.
As Head Coach Jamie Carnegie says, “the structure in place to attract better players, while developing better players as well, and by offering and outlet for people with varying time to commit, it’ll allow us to continue to punch above our weight for the size of the University that we are.”
Although, it’s not all about the hockey, it is university after all! No club would be complete without the attraction of an action-packed social life. The very fact that freshers attended preseason, is a testament to the friendships which can be forged at the club. Preseason is livened by the holidays gossip, as you catch up with teammates of old and new, and the players embraced any opportunity to let off some steam, with a Friday night sinners! Teamwork and camaraderie is the beating heart to any successful sports team- it is no wonder that the social scene is a positive attribute of this club.
After preseason, it’s full steam ahead for the hockey club. With an action-packed calendar filled with BUCS leagues and club matches- preseason may become a distant memory, but its impact will be lasting. We await in anticipation to see if the rigorousness of this preseason hockey programme can be translated into some important victories for the club this year.