Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sucker punch

Finally!!!! Derby training starts up for our league this Friday night but instead of joining my team mates on the track I'll be on the physio's table that night trying to get my knee back in some sort of working order. (Derby) love hurts. I'll be the first to admit I'm a pain in the arse when I'm injured. I'll have my whinge first and then move on and try and deal with it. Maybe next time someone can save me some time and just bitch slap me out of it :P

All hope is not lost. My trainer Suzie has modified my training schedule so even though I can't skate, do much leg related exercise or *sob* run I'm still exercising so that I don't fall too far behind with my fitness while I'm off skates.

I might not be able to skate right now but I can still do boxing (which believe it or not benefits derby). The duck and weaving and emphasis on quick footwork is only going to help me in derby. I've known from the beginning that I'm not blessed with natural skill in either sport so it means I have to work twice as hard just to be ok. What I lack for in natural ability I'm trying to make up for with technique and heart. I've put a heavier focus on trying to improve my technique so that when I step onto the derby track I won't be a doormat which brings me to my next point.

I know I've mentioned this last year but alas I still didn't deal with the issue in all that time. I'm a soft arse when it comes to sport and life in general. I don't like to knowingly hurt people, so why the hell am I doing derby and boxing I hear you say? Good question. Without ego I think given the size of me and the right technique I could probably cause some damage on the derby track. Instead over the year's I've developed a sort of victim mentality, I've held back in sport so that I don't hurt anyone and I've been guilty of cotton balling myself in fear of another injury. The thing is when I start scrimmaging no one is going to hold back, they're going to want to put me on my arse or get me out of the way. If I continue with the approach I've taken up to now I'll be useless to my team mates that they'll effectively be playing one skater short. It's the same with boxing, for week's my brother in law has constantly been telling me to hit him harder and to aim for his head instead of deliberately avoiding punching him in the head. Yesterday I was doing a lot of thinking during the day about the being nice and passive attitude I have that it was actually hurting me in the long run because I was stunting my own development by holding back. Halfway through my boxing class something snapped in my head and I was doing the drills with full strength punches. It got my brother in laws attention as he was forced to try and block all the punches coming to his head :) I know this is going to sound crazy but suddenly it felt as though that invisible barrier of control was gone. It felt freeing somehow and both my technique and speed improved too. Now to see whether this will translate onto the derby track.   

Coming from a football (soccer) supporting background I'm used to seeing players swap shirts after a match and supporters decked in their team's kit, lots of them with their favourite players name and number on the back of their jerseys. Ever since I joined the world of dar-bee I've wondered why league's don't try a similar merchandising approach. As long as people pre-paid for the customised shirts and are aware that they're non-returnable unless they're faulty it would cover the league's so that they're not stuck with a lot of customised shirts, the fans will be happy and I'm sure the skaters would probably get a kick out of seeing people supporting them.

To end on a happy note this goes out to my friend Cass (Apocalypse Pwnie) from NRDL. She's scrimmaging with the big kids up there :D From the moment she messaged me out of the blue one day last year we've clicked. We've progressed up the derby ranks at the same pace while everyone else around us moved up to bouting level. It's been great to have something to talk to who knows how you feel with all the high's and low's of the sport. I'm proud as punch of her scrimmage achievement, I'm hoping we get to scrimmage with each other at least twice this year :) There's no one I want to see get to bouting level more than her.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The list.

Some leagues are already back at training, my league is back to training next week. Another year full of hopes, dreams and anticipation. I won't lie I did enjoy the break but now I'm looking forward to getting back into derby training. During the break I put together a list of goals I'm striving to achieve this year. I haven't put dates next to each goal because I have to bear in mind my knees and ankles and the fact that they can go at any moment so it's more of a list of things I'd love to achieve this year. Here's my list:

There probably isn't too many surprises in there but they're my goals I'd love to achieve this year, plus it gives me something to work towards.

I had my first skate for the year last Saturday when I went up to the Newy social skate. I hit the ground running with no hesitance, it was like I hadn't stopped skating which was a welcome relief instead of being filled with nerves when I get back on skates after a long period of being off skates. It was good catching up with some friend's who I hadn't seen in a while. I had a discussion with some of them on how you would try and stop certain skaters on the track like Jilla. I got told what to do and what NOT to do but it's a whole different thing trying to implement it on the track!

I worked on my form, backwards skating and transitions and I was pretty happy with how I went. Lightning Strike'her was up there skating too and while we were chatting we got onto blocking practise. I told her my technique was bad and now that I was about to start scrimmaging I was hoping to fix it up. She kindly offered to let me block her. She was a great help and both her and Cass pointed out what I needed to work on. My problem is I've been able to use my body to hold my ground against people who are about my level. Instead of getting my foot in front of them I tend to stand side by side and push them out of the way. Problem is when I come up against someone like Cherry's level she gets the best of me everytime if I don't get my foot in front of her when I'm trying to block her. Another thing I go in with my head when I lay a block on, I might not make contact with them but still it's bad form and I'm more than likely going to get pulled up for blocking with the head. My blocking technique is something I really need to work on.

My knee has done its best rice bubbles impersonation of snap,crackle and pop. I can't take a knee and if I try and squat or go for a run I get really bad shooting pains running through it. I've strapped it to the shithouse, it's helped a bit in that it's restricted my movement a little so it's not hurting as much. After having my first proper derby preseason this wasn't how I was hoping to start my derby year. Instead of looking forward to training next week I'll more than likely be heading back to the physio's table. Sure it's easy to go offf and cry about it but at the end of the day this is the situation I find myself in. I don't think I've ever fought as hard for anything as I have to realise this derby dream of mine. I suppose bouting with my team mates and taking on the likes of NRDL might not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things but I want to do this so even if I have to get on the track with crutches that's what I'll do.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fat girl can't jump

There's 30 seconds left on the clock. Newy's Dockyard Dames hold a two point lead over my side the Camokazis. The noise levels come from the crowd in massive waves that it threatens to knock me off me feet that I almost miss hearing the whistle being blown to start off the final jam. Both sides don't want to lose so they plug up any gaps on the track that the opposition might try to exploit. Suddenly there's a little gap and I force my way through to form a wall with Atomic Cherry and CrackHerJac to try and stop DangerAss who can punish any opposing side in the blink of an eye from getting past our wall. Suddenly I look up and come face to face with a grinning, backwards blocking GodJilla who would love nothing more than to send me flying on my arse for what feels like the 20th time that night. Fuck...

The above scenario won't be happening this year but I'm certainly a step closer this year than I was last year to realising that dream. I get my first proper taste of scrimmage this year. If I continue to work hard and make further improvements I may just be bouting intraleague this year. How exciting!!!!

Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forwards. As 2012 drew to a close I spent a lot of time reflecting on the year, what worked, what didn't work, what state was I in physically and mentally at the end of the year, what were my goals for 2013 and what would I need to do to push on and achieve those goals?

Personally 2012 ended in somewhat funny fashion. I achieved my goal of moving up to scrimmage level which means I'm only one level away from bouting level. After being on such a high from that I did have a slight setback with my right knee which meant I was off skates for a couple of weeks but for once I wasn't too distraught because I had finally not held back and was really giving it my all at training and making lots of improvements up to that point so I knew I was able to continue at that level when I got back on skates.

While I was off skates I did some rehab work on my knee by hitting the local pools and doing walking laps in the pool which did help but then it all went wrong. While I was minding my own business I was getting picked on about my weight by some members of the swimming group in the other swimming lanes. It stung me and took me a while to stop feeling so shite. It made me think does this happen on the derby track? Are there people who are intentionally nasty to other skaters to try and put them off? There's a difference between being a smartarse and having a laugh and being a gobshite. I would never taunt anyone on or off the track I'd rather let my actions do the talking. At the same time I know I need to develop a thicker skin because I don't want to lose it during a bout and let my team mates down if someone does decide to be an arsehole.

With the stakes raised this year and lots to work towards I wanted to prepare myself as much as possible before training resumed. First up I had a proper rest. After another crazily busy year, I put my feet up and caught up on some TV series and just relaxed, and gave my busted knees and ankles a chance to recover. It probably wasn't the most productive start to my off-season but I really don't want to have an injury ravaged third season in a row. It feels as though the rest did a load of good so I was able to move onto the next target on my list.

Along with fitness I really wanted to target my footwork and upper body strength in the off season. I'm very slow on my feet, I move like I'm wearing concrete shoes and my upper body is weak as piss. I know the importance of all three things for derby but I realised ever since I started derby I've been so focussed on just doing direct derby related stuff to try and improve that I've probably limited myself. There's so many sports out there where you can cross over certain skills and exercises that would no doubt help with derby.

First up I've started running with the couch to 5km podcast (when I say run, most people would probably walk past me). It's good for my cardio and legs. Next up I've started proper boxing classes (I'm the only girl in the class). Out of all the sports I've ever tried this is the most complete one I've tried. You work your upper body and there's a focus on fast footwork not to mention the cardio workout so it ticks all my boxes. I plan to immerse myself in the boxing training but I don't think I'll ever competitively fight. The risk of brain injuries down the road and the fact that I don't like to knowingly hurt someone pretty much rules it out.

I've had to modify some of my training on the advice of my trainer so jumping with a skipping rope and jump squats were ruled out because of my knee. Derby training will be resuming soon and for the first year ever I'm going into the season with a bit more belief and confidence. I'm happy that I've been active this past month and there's a Newy social skate tthis Saturday so I can give my knees and ankles a good test. If I stick with the training and hard work who knows maybe this time next year I'll be talking about how my hopes for the year include bouting against NRDL ;)