Two years ago, at the ripe old age of 46, I started playing (field) hockey again for the first time since my late teens.
I was coerced into it by my sons, who play for the local hockey club. Their team were short of players one Saturday and they nagged me, relentlessly, to turn out for them. I finally succumbed to the pressure and turned up at the ground in my kit, reluctantly offering to play if they were really, really, really desperate. Unfortunately, they were.
So I borrowed a stick and on I went. I managed to blunder my way clumsily through the game, by the end of which, not having done any serious exercise for quite some time, I was, not to put too fine a point on it, absolutely knackered.
However, in a masochistic sort of way, I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed it so much that I’ve played every week since then – for two whole seasons now. I even go training with the team on a Monday night and for the occasional mid-week run with my sons, between training and matches. As a result, my fitness and skill levels have increased dramatically, to something approaching almost just about passable.
“So what’s this got to do with business continuity management?” I hear you cry. Well, it got me thinking about a few things…
Firstly, if we develop a capability but then don’t keep up the practice we get extremely rusty, to the extent that we end up being pretty ineffective. In my first match for twenty-something years, I think it’s fair to say that I only just got away with it. Had we been up against tougher opposition, and had I not had some good players around me to help me out, my lack of capability would have been seriously exposed.
Secondly, the more we practice, the more we train and exercise, the more skilled and fit for the role we’re playing we become. During our training sessions we rehearse various moves and responses to certain situations, and we work on our technique (an area in which some of us need more work than others!), and we think about strategy and tactics.
Thirdly, whilst a couple of us aren’t exactly spring chickens, I like to think that the more junior members are able to benefit from our experience and maturity (ok, so that one might be stretching things a bit!).
The hockey season’s over now until the autumn. Not wanting to lose my new-found fitness (if for no other reason that the first training session will hurt so much more if I do), I’ve continued my quest to re-kindle my youth by blowing the dust off my cricket bat and turning out for my old team.
Now, what was it I was saying about lack of practice?