Our league hosted a boot camp for new recruits recently who are aspiring to enter our next Fresh Meat class. It was a weird experience because I could so obviously see how far I have come since starting a few months ago. One of them asked me if I had any advice for her, as a person just starting out and just learning how to skate. Well, I thought, “I have plenty of advice,” but the main thing I thought to tell her was that she has to skate often—she has to skate way more than the time she will be spending skating while at practice.
Back when I started a few months ago, the person on the training committee who lead our Fresh Meat class said the main thing she could not seem to get across to new girls (especially to the ones who were just learning or re-learning how to skate) was the amount of skating a person should be doing in order to improve at a decent pace. She said girls thought they were doing fine because they had 100% attendance, but that it’s really not about just coming to practice. It’s about assessing what you need to work on, and then going to work on those things on your own time, and coming back to practice having already learned (or worked on) whatever it is that is giving you trouble.
While we were having this conversation, a fellow skater came over and said, “You gotta go to Jacquan’s Birthday party with the Dragon!” We had no idea what she was talking about at the time she said it, and promptly busted out laughing. But then she explained that the rink that we skate on often has children’s birthday parties on our non-practice days. There’s a guy that skates around in a dragon costume to entertain the little kids, and that in order to improve her skating, she goes to these birthday party sessions and skates around with the kiddies. “Exactly,” I thought, “Exactly, you gotta go to those birthday parties with that guy dressed up in that silly green dragon costume, and skate around. You gotta skate around and learn to dodge those crazy little kids!
My Fresh Meat class is about to finish up this week, and the advice I have to give to the next group of girls coming in, is that you basically have to skate all the time. Out of all the things you have to learn, you have to learn to love skating the most. So skate around your house, skate on the street, skate at open sessions, skate at the empty parking lot on your way home from work, skate at the park, skate on paved bike trails, skate wherever people will let you skate! Skate skate skate. Skate until you are comfortable skating any time and any place, in various environments. That’s my main advice. That, and take some Glucosamine supplements everyday. Your knees will thank me.
Okay, so I can officially do this move, which is called “Shooting the Duck.” I have a ridiculous amount of flexibilty and have been trying to figure out ways that I can use this to my advantage while playing Roller Derby. When I started scrimmaging, if someone bumped or tried to hit me, I would fall over very easily. So for the past few weeks I’ve been working on improving my balance by attempting tricky things (purposely upsetting my balance) and then trying to remain on my feet. It’s been working, as I have been falling over a lot less during scrimmages, even after getting hit. I think I saw a picture of Bonnie D. Stroir doing this move and thought, “Hey, I think I can do that!” I don’t know how I can use this move while actually playing Roller Derby, but it is fun to do nonetheless!
Picture Source: 1
On that note, I really need to make a new post because my last practice was AWESOME, as in, I did some awesome things (finally)! Our league also has a bout on Sat, so I’m just all around really excited right now.