Truth be told after Friday night's training session this post was heading down a particular road but then once the weekend was over things changed. The issue is still the same but I'm looking at it differently. It's funny how things can change.
Last Friday night was my first time back to normal training with the big kids and I got struck down with a bad case of loss of confidenceitis. I attempted tomahawks and power slides for the first time that night. My transitions still aren't great so I was doing the tomahawks at geriatric pace while everyone else was blitzing me. I get it everyone progresses at different rates and all the injuries I've sustained since I've started have stunted my development, doesn't mean it still doesn't feel a little shitty about not being able to progress a little more regularily. The other thing I was still struggling with was skating in a close pack. I kept dropping off at the back of the pack and never breaking through the pack at all. All in all a somewhat frustrating first session back and that's how I felt until the next night when I started thinking more about it.
Sunday night was all about working on strategies. With all the bouts I've watched and write up's I've done I can pick plays pretty easily but actually executing them is a whole different story. I had a complete mind blank and kept stuffing up things like the kill line drill even though I could picture the move with my eyes closed. It's easy to see how scrimmage can be so daunting when you first start doing it. I was lost out at sea most of the night but I was pretty pleased about knocking down Matron when she almost got through the pack while she was jamming. Plus I managed to push one of the blockers out of the way enough to create space for Cherry to get through so I'm making progress ever so slowly.
I know what my problem is. It's confidence or moreso the lack of it. It's not a recent thing, I've had this problem for year's. I know with derby my biggest issues are that when it comes to doing sharp turns, fast stops like transitions, tomahawks, power slides etc all I'm picturing in my head when I'm about to attempt them is broken ankles. That mainly comes down to all the injury problems I've had with my ankles since I've started derby. My other major problem is skating close in a pack or having to force my way through the pack. You can add having to lay a hit on an opposition skater to that category to that too. Giving the size of me you'd think that wouldn't be an issue but the thing is I'm actually a big softy and have been most of my life. I worry about unnecessarily injuring my team mates especially the more experienced ones who are bouting or preparing for a bout because I've picked the wrong time to try and get through, caused a massive pile up etc so I don't attempt to and fall to the back of the pack and don't engage at all.
I've got the larger version of this picture that I won at the auction hanging up on my wall. A picture of Jilla in full flight and the word she selected CONFIDENCE above her head. The whole thing screams confidence. Most people would run the other way or close their eyes and hope for the best if they were confronted with this sight on the track. I know Jilla's skated for most of her life so there's no point in even trying to attempt to compare our situations but what I wouldn't do to be able to take the track with confidence instead of cowering at the back of the pack.
It says it all when the likes of Jacqui and Cherry seem to have more belief in me than I do.
The problem is clearly psychological. Do I see a sports psychologist or get my team mates to knock this stupidity out of me? Either way I need to address the issue otherwise I'll continue to be stuck in no man's land that is between freshie and scrimmage levels.
While mulling over things on the weekend I realised that although it's a drop in the ocean compared to most people I have improved in derby but I know there's a LONG way to go before I can realistically start thinking of bouting against say my dream team NRDL. You only have to read the posts when I first started this blog. Upgrading my skates helped a lot too, along with the Rocktape I use to strap my knees and ankles I've managed to cut out my knee and ankle injuries. If any further proof was required it's in the video below. Cherry recorded it at Skatel not long after I joined HARD in February last year. I think I skate a bit better nowadays :)
This post was never about ohh everyone please feel sorry for me and all that shite, I'm not that sort of person. It's more to address my current issues and try and figure out how to fix them so that I can move forward. I think there's an ok derby player hidden underneath somewhere, I'm just trying to find it :)