XQZ Moi recently became a scrimmageable skater! Congrats, XQZ!!
So as I sit here patiently awaiting second assessment results I started thinking back on how I got to this point…for a second time.
My first thought is the “F” word. No, not THAT “F” word. Frustration! It’s that moment where your ego creeps in and you start to doubt yourself. It happened for me my second practice as a new level 2 skater when we were mixed in with the vets for the first time. I felt like I was letting them down by not knowing what I was doing. My sticky feet were anything but “sticky”, I could barely keep up w/ the pace line and I was taken down twice while skaters were taking hip whips off me. All this and we haven’t even started hitting yet! Eeeek!! Did I give up? No! I did what any fallen skater does, I picked myself up, got back to my place in the pace line and went for round two!
Throughout this process I’ve had to keep reminding myself that I am learning everything all over again. I was constantly apologizing when doing drills. Not because I felt bad for hitting my league mates. It was more of a “Sorry I am terrible at this!” I almost felt bad for the vets, as if I was taking away from their practice, like they weren’t getting challenged. But I have to say, I am so grateful that my league has the skater sister program!! Every practice my skater sister Thunda Storm would come get me and ask me what I felt I needed to work on and then show me or give me tips if I was struggling and was always encouraging me!
Somewhere along the way my confidence started to grow. I was focused, eager to learn and really excited about derby again! Slowly but surely, my laps started to increase (started at 25 in February. Now up to 29), my sticky feet got better, my stability has gotten better and I can keep up with the pace line.
So, here are some tips from me to you about level 2
- GIVE YOURSELF TIME! It may not seem like it now, but you will improve, you will get stronger & faster. Let it come naturally and try not to get too frustrated when you don’t land a perfect hit your first time trying!
- DON’T LOOK DOWN!! This is one I got from Storm. Sticky feet? Don’t look down. Transitions? Don’t look down. Turning toe stops? Don’t look down.
- DON’T THINK ABOUT IT…Just DO IT!! Trust me, I know it is easier said than done. But seriously, don’t think about it! I remember the practice where I finally was able to do a turning toe stop at a moderate pace. Storm was skating next to me and while she was talking to me, she did a TTS. I didn’t realize it until after the fact, but without thinking as soon as she started to do hers, I was doing one at the same time. If you think about it too much your ego will creep in and you will start to doubt yourself. Just do it!
- ASK FOR HELP!! I have found that when we (the level 2’s) have asked our league mates if anyone is going to open skate, the vets are more than willing to work with you and help you! Goldie Gloves, Bootiful Banshee & Killtrocity have been awesome resources in helping me with my hitting! And then Dorkus for sitting out of a strategy drill to explain to concept us. From my experience, when you ask for help and really apply what you are learning, more experienced skaters will be more patient with you and willing to help, because they can see that you want to learn and are trying!
- DON’T TAKE THINGS SO PERSONALLY!!! This was a big one for me to learn to get over! Derby is a competitive sport, people are going to yell on the track and maybe get aggressive, probably knock you down. Let it go! We all take on different personalities when we get on the track, hence the Derby Names!
Most importantly….HAVE FUN!!! This is an amazing sport!!! You should be learning the skills you need but you should be having fun as well!
Until Next time…
Hits & Bruises