Roller derby drills are hard … all of them … always

Oh hey. I’ve had a lot of big changes in my life, but thanks for the encouraging comments and emails asking me to blog more/again. I want to. I plan to. As a way to ease back in, here’s what I recently posted to our own fresh meat’s page. I think it’s always, always true:

Roller derby drills are hard. All of them. Even things like stepping side to side, which could seem rudimentary. Plow stopping is also rudimentary, but our travel team (and top-ranked travel teams across the world) practice them every week. It’s important to find goals, fun and fulfillment from even basic drills because that’s a lot of what roller derby is – getting the “easy” stuff down (muscle memory) so we can do it flawlessly in combination with lots of other cool shit when we play the game.

Here’s some things you should consider before ever thinking, “this is boring” — and not just next week or next month, but four years from now :

  • Am I doing it in perfect form?
  • Can I do it faster in perfect form?
  • Could ANY of the veteran skaters do this drill better than I’m doing it right now? If they could, what would they do differently? (then try it).
  • How would (insert skater hero here) do this drill? (then try their unique style)
  • Can I do this backward?
  • Can I do this on one leg?
  • Can I do this backward on one leg?

If you can do the drill backward on one leg in perfect form better than any other skater, then you can be bored 🙂

p.s. stepping side-to-side on one leg in perfect form is flippin hard.

The difference between fresh meat and not

My league just got a new round of fresh meat. I played with them and watched them play at scrimmage yesterday. There is the one huge difference between the new fresh meat and everyone else.

Sally is a veteran skater. She puts on the jammer panty. The whistle blows and she gets past three blockers, easy. The last line of defense comes at her. Sally sees the blocker and leans into the hit, trying to gain control by putting her own leg in front of the opposing blocker. She gives her weight to the blocker and then runs off. She then gets 50 points in a jam, wins the scrimmage, gets drafted to away team, wins MVP, goes to nationals, Team USA, wins the world, the end.

Then there is fresh meat Fran. Same situation. Fran takes the jammer panty. The whistle blows and she gets past the first three blockers. Then she sees the last line of defense blocker. The blocker looks at Fran. Fran looks at the blocker. And Fran’s face instantly says, “You are going to hit me and I am going to fall and it might hurt and I might break my leg and never play derby again. Shit.” Then, like Fran’s face predicted, the blocker hits her (as blockers do) and she falls and gets recycled to the back of the pack and has to do it all again while Sally (what a bitch) scores a billion points and gets on Team USA instantly. (Bitch.)

Skaters who see another blocker as an inevitable hit that they can’t take — they’re right. Skaters who see another blocker as a quick obstacle to take on before skating off — they’re right too.

One skater I like told me and my teammates, “when I’m on the track I say to myself that I’m the biggest badass on that track. You know how many times I’m actually the biggest badass?” And she laughed. But that mindset matters. It has to change from “You’re going to hit me” to “Just try to hit me.”