Black Stick Jared Panchia answers questions about hockey

Jared Panchia, a 20 year old Auckland chap has had a whirlwind past 12 months. Being called up to the Black Sticks, Jared joined older brother Arun and embarked on a journey of plenty of hockey and a bit of travel. The Niche Cache asked Jared a few questions and he answered them...

You weren't selected for the Com Games, so what are you getting up to instead? 

Yeah, I’ve had the last few weeks off hockey training and games which has been refreshing but I've had to be in the gym a lot completing rehab and conditioning sessions. I still go to club and NHL trainings and watch and help out where I can. On top of this I’ve been quite busy with uni finishing exams and assignments. 

I'm quite keen to get back into training and begin to prepare for NHL and club hockey finals. 

What's it like to go from battling away, working hard in Auckland to being able to do what you love and visit different countries at the same time?

It's awesome to be able to see the world and play hockey at the same time, obviously we are limited in what we can do overseas with our main focus on the tournament but it gives you a taste of different cultures and opens your eyes to what else is happening in the world. It has given me a good idea of places I want to go back to and visit when I don't have hockey commitments. 

What's the biggest difference between NHL (National Hockey League) hockey and international hockey?

It's a major leap in turns of level from NHL to international hockey and is something I am still trying to get used to but if I was to give one major difference it would be the overall speed of everything - players are faster, your decision making has to be a lot quicker and everything is happening so much faster.  

You're not the biggest lad so how are you finding the physical nature of top level hockey?

It's a lot more physical than any other level, players use their bodes a lot more to win the ball and protect the ball. For me, I have found it a little bit tough as I can’t exactly lean or hold defenders off but I have been working on ways around this and trying to use my low centre of gravity and my first touch to counter this. Also a major focus for me over the next few months while we have a little bit of down time is to put on muscle and get stronger.

Let's say you're dribbling up to Joel Carroll, what's your go to move?

My favourite drag would probably be my left to right with a little bit of a jink. I like playing on the left and it can be really effective to break in field. However, I don't like to have a set move or go to move as I prefer to see the defenders body position and where the space is in behind. 

How do you go about maintaining the right diet for elite competition? Do you cook or just get by with the minimum?

Fortunately I live at home so mum and dad do a lot of the cooking, but my diet is something that I've had to change since I've been in the team. As I’ve been trying to put on weight while staying fit it has been hard but I have quite a good team in behind me which makes me eat healthy and get the necessary strength training.

It's been a busy year, how's the body and mind after playing so much tough hockey?

The last two years has been really busy for me, with the juniors and the men's team I have played a lot of hockey and unfortunately this has had an impact on my body resulting in a few injuries. Luckily my workloads have been managed well and I have been up for selection for nearly every tournament. The injuries have only prevented me playing club and regional hockey which at the same time is unfortunate but necessary and these teams have been really good about giving me rest or a break when I need it to refresh. 

Best place you've visited?

Spain

Best food you've had on tour?

All you can eat sushi in Holland

Toughest defender you've come up against?

Hard to say best individual defender but overall Germany's defence was particularly difficult.

What's something you've learned this year that you could share with aspiring athletes?

The importance of basic skills and executing them well and consistently. If you can do this you should be able to play at almost any level and be successful.