The last two weekends I’ve played in hockey tournaments, one of which was the “old timers” tournament, (yes, apparently 36 years old, makes you an “old timer”), and in both tournaments my teams made it to the Sunday game, which means we played either 4 or 5 games over 3 days. In my mind, that’s not a lot of hockey, and not once over the two weekends did I feel tired or muscle-sore from playing. I even worked out on the Friday of both weekends, before my games, and had lots of energy. The common thing that was said in the dressing room by the guys I was playing with, or against, was how sore and tired they were on Sunday and Monday.
I played a lot of hockey this winter, for the first time in over 6 years, and what I’ve been trying to explain to the teams I’ve played with all year is that playing rec sports, after a certain age, means you need to be training for said sports, and as much as playing a sport like hockey is good exercise, it’s not the same as working out.
Take softball as another example; I see more hamstrings blown out in softball every summer because people don’t workout, train their bodies, or even warm-up, before a game. In a game like softball (or slo pitch), you’re going from not moving much at all, to swinging a bat as hard as you can, and if you make contact, now trying to sprint to first base as fast as you can. If you’re body isn’t trained to use the muscles you need to do these movements at full speed, and if those muscles aren’t warm, you’re going to get injured!
Hockey is the same way. You’re using muscles that you don’t use in your everyday life to skate, stop, start, crossover, ect… If you don’t train your body, you can really injure yourself. For example; I’m a goalie, and I haven’t had players gear on since I was 11 years old (you can do the math). Last night I went out and played in players gear, doing player things, sort of, and doing tones of movements on the ice that I have either never done before, or haven’t done in 25 years. My muscles were yelling at me a bit last night because they were tired and not use to what I was doing, but this morning, I wasn’t one bit tired or sore today, and I 100% give the credit to the fact that I do functional training. Did my training help me shoot, score or crossover like Sidney Crosby? Hell no. I have no idea what I’m doing out there. My brain is telling my body to do one thing, and my hands and feet were going in complete opposite directions, but my muscles are trained and strong, so today I wasn’t sore at all.
I could give 20 more examples of “weekend warriors” not training to play their rec sports; the girl playing flag football and straining her hip, joe schmoe running after a soccer ball and pulling a quad, and even the business person on the golf course, having a few drinks with a client and putting out their back, to name a few, but the main point I’m trying to get across is that just playing sports, isn’t going to keep you fit and strong. In all likelihood, playing sports, and not training in the gym, is going to get you injured. If you’re doing something active, make sure you’re in the gym, training, lifting weights, and working out, to prevent becoming another weekend warrior injury statistic.