Of all the people in all the blogosphere Kutz is the only person I have lived with in Brisbane. Tim also blogs, and Mattias used to. I also work with Kutz. And go to the same college. And we play futsal together, and very soon we’ll play football together.
For a guy who almost staged a coup on my only claim to presidential authority (QUT Christians in 2005) we get on surprisingly well and spend a lot of time together. Kutz is a deep thinker, who I think sometimes thinks so deeply he gets lost in his own thoughts while trying to articulate them. Lots of people know Kutz – both online and in the real world. His two greatest personal achievements are convincing his wife to marry him and playing international roller hockey – that’s my assessment not his. How many sporting internationals do you know? I can count them on two fingers. While the cynics out there might think that picking an obscure sport to play is kind of cheating – Roller Hockey is hard core (I watched a tournament once) and Kutz was a standout.
Anyway, here are his tips on how to be awesome at Roller Hockey. He gets extra points for diagrams – though I suspect he was making them when he should have been writing a sermon.
I’m Kutz and I’m an ex roller hockey player. Hoquei em patines, for those Spaniards among you.
Roller hockey is awesome. You take 5 steps, and then all of a sudden you’re already going fast. Seriously. You don’t need to keep running. You just roll. Your legs are still. And yet you’re still going fast. A beautiful concept. Add to this the feeling of smashing someone into the wall, flicking a ball into the top corner (probably on the keeper’s stick-side) and getting to hit a ball (and, on occassion, other people) with a stick and how can you go wrong?
Now, I used to play with a team of guys: Michael, Les, Dion, Matty, Serge (my bro), Chris, Peter and some others.
Michael’s top 5 rules were:
Rule #1 – Hit Dion
Rule #2 – Hit Dion
Rule #3 – Hit Les
Rule #4 – Hit Dion
Rule #5 – Hit Les
Fun rules they were too. They aren’t, however, mine.
My Five best* tips for playing roller hockey. (And these are genuine, and hence will interest only a very few of you.) (They will also mostly be team, not individual, principles. That’s because that’s all my dad taught me.)
- In negative sports**, a strong defence that puts some pressure on the opposition is the key to winning. So defend tightly, and communicate well.
- Don’t give away the ball close to the halfway line. Breakaways goals are imperative to avoid.
- If you’re trying to score, the hot-spots to skate to are here. (see diagram)
- When defending man-on-man (ie, you’re marking a specific player, not defending in a zone) skate in straight lines, roughly parallel to your penalty box lines. Skating in straight lines gets you there faster than skating in curves.
- Try to make your team-mate look good. If everyone on the team has this mentality, hockey is a beautiful thing.
- 6. (Unofficial, but vital) Don’t drop the soap in the showers.
Nathan’s asked me to tell you now how applying these 5 tips will change your life. I would suggest that after intense thought and application these principles will simply confuse you if you try to use them while learning to play hockey. Our coach Eduard Karayan (ex-pro in Italian league) just let us go and have fun. So we did. :)
* May change after more than 10 minutes of contemplation.
** A ‘negative sport’ is my short-hand for a sport where in any given attacking phase it is more likely that the attacking team will not score than that they will score. Ie, football(soccer). A ‘positive’ sport would be something like basketball where the expectation is that more likely than not the attacking team will score from their attack.