Reflections on practice

Thursday 23rd June 2011 @ 11:30 pm : Tumblr : 0 Comments :

(warning for lots of words. I do this after every training session, thought I’d share this one)

Things I need to work on: 

Know when to shut up. This is something I need to work on for life in general, but it does apply to derby too. It’s harder in derby because you have to keep talking to your teammates, and once I turn on the talky part of my brain I CANNOT PAUSE IT. I have no pause button. This is common among people with Aspergers Syndrome, but that face doesn’t make people any less annoyed with you 😉

Don’t just keep hitting someone over and over again if you’re just bouncing off them- try something different. In theory I KNOW this, and yet as soon as I get into a scrimmage it’s like the kid inside me takes over and goes “YEAH HIT ‘EM AGAIN” when in fact it would be more effective to go for a lean or skip in front and booty block them. 

Penalties to avoid: I got called for a couple forearm minors and one minor track cut, and one major low block. The low block was an unfortunate accident, one of the opposing players was already falling and happened to fall into my leg and I got the penalty. Annoying, but that’s how it is. Need to get some advice on how to avoid those forearm minors because I have no idea. 

CAN OPENERS. I’m not sure this will ever be my specialty. I think I did okay considering that we were learning them for the first time, but I hit a lot of ribs and tits and less solar plexus. These are only really effective on someone taller than you, I think. 

I need to sort out my feelings about hitting people. I hit one of the other rookies during a scrimmage with a brilliant, completely legal hard hit but she fell backwards and hurt her coccyx. How do you balance the guilt of being part of someone getting injured with the “FUCK YEAH” feeling of laying on a really awesome block?

Got an elbow to the head twice from the same person while scrimmaging and the refs didn’t catch it either time, which I found really annoying. I know she’s not doing it on purpose, and they’re not missing it on purpose, but still. Elbow + Head = Dangerous. That’s why there are no high-block minors! Maybe I should get one of those impact stickers that thy use for testing car crashes on my helmet? 😉

Good stuff: I’m sprawling less and falling small more. This is good. My confidence in jumping/hopping is getting better (we did a brilliant drill for this). Getting more confident in shoulder checks. Still prefer hip-checks though. All of a sudden tonight my speed jumped way up. No idea why, although at the end of the three hours it fell way down but I think that’s acceptable 🙂

If anyone made it through all that and has any thoughts/advice/pointers please share them, I will make you cake. It might be virtual cake, but it’s the thought that counts, right? 😉

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Friday 10th June 2011 @ 8:09 pm : Tumblr : 0 Comments :
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Friday 10th June 2011 @ 12:39 am : Tumblr : 0 Comments :

Derby rite of passage: the first time you get your number written on for a scrimmage or bout. There’s something in that sharpie that gives you more than a number, it gives you an identity- it says, “you are one of us, derby girl. Kick some ass.”

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Second scrimmage: Another ramble, and a Question

Thursday 9th June 2011 @ 11:30 pm : Tumblr : 0 Comments :

Some recent practices I’ve come away feeling like I haven’t worked hard enough – by the time an hour’s passed from the end of the session I don’t hurt anymore. I don’t feel like that today, and that pleases me greatly.

During this evenings practice I only did maybe 90% of the stuff, and particularly in the beginner session I took it very, very easy, thanks to the fact that some of my brain pills are kicking my ass right now. I had to focus really, really hard just to do the smallest tasks. Anything that required thinking of more than one thing just made my brain switch off. I this made me work harder. I told my pivot to just give me one job, or one player to focus on. So I took the inside line a lot, and made sure I stuck to that fucking line like glue no matter how much I got hit. Or I stuck to one player on the other team and just hit her over and over again to make sure she was focused on me and not our jammer. Considering tonight was the second night I’ve ever scrimmaged I think I could’ve done a whole lot worse. 

Once my head is back to normal, I think I’m going to try and stick with my “one jam, one focus” strategy for a while. Starting out scrimmaging is something of a crazy experience, and narrowing your options helps a LOT. It stops you from having guilt over things that went wrong when they weren’t your fault and helps you to focus on what went wrong for your own position. Once you’ve got more experience you can start to expand your awareness of who’s where and doing what and get moving a bit more. 

That’s what I think, anyway.

I’m curious to hear from other, more established players than me: how do your leagues/teams start teaching people to scrimmage?

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My First Scrimmage: A Ramble

Friday 3rd June 2011 @ 9:23 pm : Tumblr : 0 Comments :

I played my first ever scrimmage yesterday, and it was fucking awesome. I mean, I totally sucked, but still!

I did get lucky, in that I was teamed up with the Mighty Mighty Bash who is my hero (tangent: I totally did not fangirl inside every time every time she looked at/spoke to/touched me. Some or all of that previous statement may be a lie) and who helped me immensely – to the point that I knocked one really good jammer off the track, stayed on myself and even remembered to stop my ass dead on the track to make her come back in behind me. I also managed to force a jammer-in-training fellow rookie off the track and get her two minor track cuts in the same jam. 

It would be easy at this point (I mean, that was three things that went well out of a half hour of scrimmaging) to feel discouraged by what I can’t do and by how much I have yet to learn- some of the other rookies who moved up at the same time as I did discussed feeling like this after practice.

But I really don’t see the point. Feeling bad won’t help my hits become more effective, it won’t help my understanding of strategy, it won’t help me skate faster or fall better.

As our captain pointed out, we’ve only actually been learning to play roller derby for three weeks. Learning your minimum skills is not learning how to play derby. 

At this point I think all of us rookies should be proud of every hit we miss, teammate we trip, penalty we take – because that’s how you earn your skills: by sucking, and then after a while sucking less.

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