Chik Chatting: Effects of winter break
Is time off a good thing or a bad thing? In many instances, teams may enjoy having a few extra days of rest for players to recharge their batteries and/or recover from injuries. At the same time, teams can lose momentum -- and perhaps even a bit of focus -- when given too many days between games. It's an ongoing debate at every level of every sport, so why exclude high school teams from the issue?
On one hand, that's an opportunity for coaches assess where their teams are at and make adjustments, if necessary. And for teams that haven't gotten off to the start they were hoping for (New Canaan boys basketball, Darien boys basketball, New Canaan boys hockey and Darien boys hockey to name a few), it's a chance to regroup, both mentally and physically.
On the other hand, the break may not be coming at an ideal time for any FCIAC team. After all, the majority of teams have only played three or four games thus far, so it's unlikely that players are worn down. And for teams that have enjoyed strong starts to the their respective 2011-12 campaigns (New Canaan girls hockey, Darien girls hockey, New Canaan girls basketball, Darien girls basketball, Darien boys swimming to name a few), it can be assumed that they'd be looking to get the next game underway as soon as possible.
It's likely that the sport itself could factor into a team's need for rest. While all of the winter sports are grueling in their own right, boys hockey seems to stand out from the pack. After all, it's rare for any hockey player to get through a game without a fair share of bumps and bruises, so an early-season break could certainly be beneficial in preparing for the 20-game grind. Since both New Canaan and Darien boys hockey are only playing their third game tonight, the break could serve as a nice bridge from the first few games into the long haul.
For the swim teams, however, the winter break may just be getting in the way. New Canaan, a perennial FCIAC powerhouse, is 0-2 after losing two tough meets against fellow top tier teams Darien and Greenwich. It's likely that the Rams would want to get back out there to get that first win under their belts, but they'll have to wait two weeks to get that opportunity. Darien had to wait a week after its season-opening win over New Canaan for its next meet and will have to wait over two more weeks for its third meet.
However, even for the teams which are off to good starts, there's always room for improvement, and the winter break provides ample time to work on deficiencies. It's unlikely that any team, no matter how talented, has truly hit its stride so early in a long season, so an early-season break likely isn't the worst thing in the world.