For me the biggest battle up to now was all mental which resulted in my shocking injury record since I started derby January last year. I went into each training session fearing I'd pick up another injury that it's no surprise that I kept picking up injuries from all the tension. I didn't want others to think I was soft and couldn't hack it so more often than not I'd train injured which only made the injuries worse and drag on. By not having any faith in my body holding up I was too scared to try more advanced skills so that all I was really doing was just skating. This year I did a lot of work away from the derby track to try and get my head right so that this vicious cycle wouldn't continue. I think the results are starting to show now because I've now managed to have six straight training sessions without any pain in my knees or ankles which is a record for me. From that I had the training session with Newy which allowed me to start training with a bit more confidence for the first time ever. The training has certainly stepped up and asking a lot more of me but I've never smiled as much as I have at training. I'm having fun! I'm not an awesome skater but I'm surprising myself by attempting skills that I thought I'd never be able to cope with.
Now that I'm in a better head space the focus needs to shift to the physical aspect of the sport. While derby doesn't require every skater to be a size 8, it's still a sport which requires one to think like an athlete especially at bouting level. With the new WFTDA rules about to come in which is shifting towards faster derby, fitness will certainly play a large part in both scrimmage and bouting levels. I've already set the wheels in motion with the amazing derby family in MFP which has kept me focussed on my goals. The extra exercise I've been doing has allowed me to fall in love with exercise again after we fell apart for a few years so I'm being more active now.
I've got a hard arse trainer in the form of Suzie who has been very patient with me after all the injuries I've had and ended up wrecking her training plans :) She's been a great help with strengthening my legs which has no doubt added to my current non-injury period. When she found out I'd moved up to scrimmage level she asked me what sort of stuff I'd be doing for derby training now and then started planning exercises and strengthening work around my answers to put me in an even better position on the track. Thanks Suzie :)
While working on transtions on the concrete in the backyard I started to attempt jumps and toe stop runs on the grass and I was able to do both of them so much better. Granted I had the advantage of doing them on grass but the main benefit was getting used to the feeling of doing them and getting the confidence to do them on the track. Whenever I'm on skates in the backyard I'm always under the watchful eye of Bruno and he doesn't move the entire time there. He's probably thinking 'humans are weird' ;)
If you want to be the best skater you can be you should try and learn from one of the best in the business so I asked Cherry if she'd be a mentor for me. She's helped me a lot in the past at Skatel, training and off skates and thankfully she said yes :) I've even asked Jacqui to help me out (another awesome skater in our ranks). If that wasn't enough I even asked the queen of backwards blocking Jilla for some tips because I want to try and start tackling backwards blocking. I'm getting a lot of help from so many people which I'm thankful for because it is having a positive effect on me and my skating.
One issue which I've really needed to address is my hero worship. My fav three Brig, Cherry and Jilla are without doubt AMAZING skaters and had the biggest impact on the skater I want to be. My problem is (and through no fault of their own) I put them on a such a high pedestal. I know they're human like you and me but I let my fangirl side take control. In the last month or so while I've tried to move from spectator to skater it's finally sunken in that if I continue to work hard and pass the last two levels that one day I'll deserve to be on the track with them and there won't be that be that untouchable divide that I've put in my head. Of course with their experience they'll snap me in two but I'll get the opportunity to try and return the favour ;) Don't get me wrong I'll still always be a fangirl of the three it's just in healthier doses nowadays :)
Right now the thought of bouting isn't even a thought in my mind right now. There is so much work to do before I can even realistically think about it. That doesn't mean that there isn't some awesome goals and challenges along the way to keep me on my toes! Just getting used to scrimmaging is a big deal and it'll take a while. If all goes according to plan hopefully some of the Newy guys will come down to scrimmage with us next year, as if that isn't motivation to work my arse off between now and then! Also, once I find my feet with scrimmaging I'm hoping that maybe Cherry and I can go up and scrimmage with the Newy guys one night. That would be another dah-bee dream come true for me!
The past month has had such a such a positive flow on effect on me. I'm in a happy place right now, I really look forward to training and for the first time ever I'm going into training with confidence. With each passing training session I feel as if the real me is starting to come out. Say what?
I love roller derby, I really do but it's not my first love. That belongs to Liverpool Football Club and has so for the last 23+ years. Sport has had a major effect on my life and it's one of the few areas in my life where I don't hold back, I step out of my shell. Now that I'm feeling more comfortable with derby I feel as though I can start to step out my shell. Away from the sporting fields you're usually lucky to get two words out of me not because I'm a snob, I'm just really shy. Whenever I've played football (soccer) once I step over the white line it's game on. I get stuck in, I'll yell out instructions, I'll organise my team mates, if we're losing I'll pick up my team mates, even if we're losing on the score board I always believe we can win and don't give up. I'm competitive as hell, I get the shit's if I lose a game of uno :) That's the side I'm going to start to bring out in derby. It's probably a completely different side to how most derby people know me by. Fear not I won't start to slide tackle opposing skaters ;)
I once got told by someone that I don't wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my body on my sleeve and they're probably right. I have no poker face, I blush easily and there's no mistaking my passion for sports. I'm one of those people that lives every hit, every move, every up and down moment. I thought I should just warn you guys so that no one is shocked by my actions on the track ;) I won't be pulling off my shirt and twirling it around in the air but don't be surprised if at the end of my first bout win,lose or draw I do something like a massive knee slide in happiness that I finally got to the point of bouting. Here's a sneak peek of what sort of behaviour to expect from me from the players and supporters alike. Worried yet? ;)