Field Hockey Canada > Blog - Road To Rio - The year begins with fitness testing

Written by Adam Froese, Defender, Men’s National Team

The much-anticipated carding camp ended a month and a half of downtime for the Red Caribou boys. What better way to begin the now official Olympic preparation with fitness testing.

For some, it is one of the most nerve wracking days of the year. With Coach Farry’s high fitness standards, everyone wants to surpass the expectations he has set, while also competing against one another to gain any edge in the pursuit to compete at the pinnacle of our sport in the Rio summer Olympics.

The day was set to start out with the vertical jump. A stand-alone test requiring each individual to jump from a standstill, reaching as high as he can in order to record the distance from a standing reach, to a vertical, full extension jump. Controversy surrounded some of the very debatable standing reaches with a slight shoulder dip bearing the difference from acceptable, to out right cheating.

Some might have ridiculed me for what I felt was just a lack of shoulder mobility, but to others, the jealous ones, the difference from an NBA type performance was arguably brought to a questionable victory.

Special mention should go to Taylor Curran who managed to successfully jump without contacting the measuring instrument in what could only be described as a stereotype confirming performance to his unorthodox way of doing things.

Next on the testing schedule was the 5-0-5 agility test. The requirement for this test was to measure the speed of an individual’s change of direction from a full speed 5m run, to a stop, before accelerating over 5 meters.

On an unfamiliar surface, much was to be said about the legitimacy of this test. The majority of guys found themselves sliding at the stop point, limiting the ability to accelerate quickly to the 5-meter finish line.

Iain Symthe, as historically seen in previous 5-0-5 tests, opted to use the “slide 2 meters before the stop mark” technique in order to prevent the extra distance that would need to be covered from regular sliding. Little did he realize that 1) he looked like a fool, and 2) mathematically he was actually going slower due to his longer slide and reduced speed.

Needless to say, our speedy Portuguese-Canadian striker Matthew Sarmento proved to be the winner on the day!

The third test of the day was the forty-meter sprint. The right to be crowned the fastest member of the Caribou squad holds huge bragging rights. Special mention should be given to returning national team player Stephen Bissett who, with a year and a half absence from the National Team, recorded the second fastest time of the day.

Important to note with this test is that the first ten meters plays a crucial part, reflecting match like situations, while also showing who could be used as a number 1 runner in short corner defense situations.

While managing to record the fastest time, I cannot say it was a true victory with Devohn Teixeira missing in action. The man is fast. I am sure he would hold the belt had he have been present on the day.

After over an hour of testing the last remaining test was the dreaded Yo-yo. The intermittent endurance test is best related to the renowned beep test. Forty meters of totally running, covered by two twenty-meter shuttles, the yo-yo test has been the endurance testing model for the national program for almost two years.

I’ll leave the specific scores for another time, but let me just say that it was our best showing in a long time and a credit to the hard work we have been putting in over the past few weeks under the guidance of our physiologist Nick!

Overall the test was a massive success, with some of the top performances coming from myself, Stevie Bissett, big Pauly D and others!

We’re off to an encouraging start to the year and I’m looking forward to move into our final training block leading into the World League Final in Raipur, India next month.

Stay tuned to the training blog and we hope you all will be following us en route to Rio!

-Adam Froese

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