In roller derby, we are striving to do things to the best of our abilities. We turn up, we learn things, we practice things, we keep going until we can do them and we continue to use them in drills and game play.
So that is it. Derby is over. For 2014 anyway!!!
Last night was my last roller derby session of the year, making this week my last derby week of the year. It’s definitely been a roller coaster year!
At the start of 2014, I started with one league, bouted, practiced, and mid-year moved to the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots. Moving leagues was incredibly difficult, not much the move but the repercussions of the move, people choosing to exit my life or getting involved in false claims. Moving leagues was definitely for the best, for my sake, for both my mentality and for my skating career. I have grown more as a skater in the last 9 months or so than I have since I started roller derby. Whilst a lot of that is to do with the training, there has been a huge impact from the people I now find myself surrounded by.
I have this year gained so many new friends, with many wonderful people entering my life through roller derby and the Harlots. I have a new found strength and hunger since coming back, much of which is down to having unbelievable support from these people whether in person or online. To have even one person believe in you is incredible, when there are more than one, it makes your heart grow.
I found my ability improving and I am starting to feel happy with the direction in which I am going. I even made squads early on, which made me feel good but made me want to work even harder. I also broke my ankle (as if my blog didn’t already plaster it over the page!). But I came back from my break and ended the year on a positive, a real derby high. I played alongside some lovely ladies/badass skaters as part of Team Metal Legs. And last night was my last roller derby practice of 2014.
2015 is a year filled of excitement for the Harlots, we are playing in the British Champs alongside some fantastic leagues, this is amongst other awesome plans for the new year. I have grown so much this year and I plan to continue to grow and work on my ability as a blocker and jammer and general skater.
I’d like to do at least one good thing skating wise in 2015. Next year I want to also strive for a better derby brain and better mentality. At the moment I am very negative about myself and my performance on track. I have probably done some ok things, but I haven’t really noticed or told myself I did good. I have always focused and homed in on the negatives, making myself feel worse. I want to be more positive, I don’t want to ignore the negatives, but I don’t want to focus on them. I will keep working hard and trying to find some reward in everything I do.
This weekend is our Christmas party, I’m both excited and sad that it has come round so quickly! I am looking forwards to kicking back, having a dance and dressing up all nice and stuff with my teamies! I may even post a photo!
So after my crybaby antics on Sunday I felt embarassed and angry with myself for letting myself be silly.
Sunday afternoon however, overwhelmed me. I may still be new to my league but the amount of support I recieved really took me by surprise, made me feel so comfortable and gave me much faith in my teammates and league. Many understood where I was at and how things can get to us all so very easily. And I am genuinely so appreciative of all this new found support in my derby family!
These ladies made me want to stop being silly, get my game face on, get into a more positive frame of mind and go kick butt.
One inparticular inspired me. Bunnie. I had admired this lady before I moved to the Harlots, her ability as a skater in all roles she undertook and her ability and knowledge as a coach is just astounding. (note: I am not a stalker) And seeing her skate before made me want to up my game. Not to mention that she is actually a really genuine person! She had been off skates for a while and had come along as a guest coach to my old league one a handful of occasions so was getting back into the swing of things. A conversation with her on Sunday really struck a nerve with me and even though we are both very different people and skaters, we are essentially in the same place. We are both returning to what we know and trying to get our bodies and minds retrained in the way of derby, trying to improve ourselves and build ourselves as derby girl 2.0 and she has been such a positive influence by mentally kicking my butt through messages of common sense. One of the biggest points of conversation? Setting goals.
So I sat down and looked at things logically, started making mental notes on what I needed to do, where I wanted to be and how/what I needed to do to get there. I thought about myself and I also searched around for some words of wisdom on the interwebs. Enter Francey Pants. AKA Sandrine Rangeon, one of my favourite skaters, a lady coming into derby from a different skating background and being awesome in the process. She was fantastic as part of Denver and since moving to Windy City for speedskating purposes she continues to be fantastic. I like both Denver and Windy City, each team has their own strengths, weaknesses, strategies, plays. So much to watch and learn from, good moves or bad moves, still learning curves. But reverting to my original point, Rangeon posted a great blog on setting goals which made sense and felt accessible to even players on my level. Her blog is here and full of awesome I recommend reading! She wrote about how we need to break out long term goals down in to smaller and smaller sets of goals. Common sense and intelligent thinking!
I sat down, listed out all possible areas I could think of to work on, positional aspects, game aspects, personal fitness and so on and noted down in each key points which I could focus on and set goals in. To start with I listed five initial short term process goals, one simple and basic goal for a short term period in blocking skills, jammer skills, focus, fitness and gameplay. My pyramid may end up being a big one, but I intend to end up at my long term goal just like anyone else who sets goals through their own pyramid!
It took me a while to figure out these would be suitable goals, I did a bit of back and forth thinking about whether I needed to start from another point to build up but in the end I just had to man up and make a decision and stick to it. Using the SMART setup Rangeon wrote about, my goals had to be simple to be achievable, they had to be measurable, achievable, ideally relevant and where possible time bound. The goals I have set are straight forwards and should not interfere with each other. I chose to make goals in each of these areas so that when I am blocking in scrimmage, I have a goal and focus, with my gameplay I have a basic point to build from by working with the rest of the league. For instance to get over my jammerphobia and atleast get my butt on the track, I haven’t set a silly goal of score so many points or achieve lead jammer – I have started by simply setting the short term goal of jamming atleast 3 times during scrimmage practice. This way I won’t jam once and feel afraid to get back on, I will jam a decent number of times to get myself settled in and learning to focus on each jam rather than my last one.
So hopefully Bunnie and the other lovely ladies in my derby family will continue to kick my butt when I need it and support me even when I don’t ask. I am determined to succeed in the goals I set myself. I do not want to be down and worry, I do not want to let my own mind defeat me. I want to fight back!
First goals set. Let’s do this!