The apex event of my transition from fresh meat to veteran was about a month ago. We had just finished a hitti
ng drill which focused on both giving hits and taking hits. At the end of the drill, I felt discontent with my performance, and I think this was clear to coaching due to the sour look on my face. (One of the reasons I was not rostered for the first bout was because my hitting skills were not up to par.) "You want more practice hitting, Short T?" asked Beefcake, our coach. "Ok. EVERYONE! Line up, two even parallel lines. Short T in the back. This drill is called The Gautlent."
My teammates lined up side by side. My objective was to make my way through the middle of the two lines, with the two players next to each other in line pairing up. The goal was to execute a reasonably powerful hit on one player or the other. If I tried to hit one player, but missed, I could work on her partner. Once I performed a satisfactory hit, I could move up to the next pair.
My little graphic on the left probably makes it looks too easy. Imagine me actually bouncing off of girls maybe 5 or 6 times at least before moving to the next XO pair. So maybe it looked something more like this one on the right.
I got through, but it wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy. But it did show that my teammates were happy to help me become a better skater, and it ended up being one of my most memorable practices.