Skated again in the morning, basically working on weaving cones, balancing on my left leg going backwards, and more stepping/grapevines.

Practice in the evening was mega-awesome, and mainly about how to help your jammer out, for example in a power jam situation.

We did some seriously fun drills including a 10×5 lap warmup (backwards, forwards and non-derby wise), and a ‘secret offence’ drill in a big pack whereby there is one jammer and one mystery helper whose job it is to clear a path through the rest of the pack so the jammer can get through. In the scrim-time at the end, I got to pretend to be jam ref (harder than I thought, but lots of fun whistle-blowing) and practiced some baby power-slides between jams. I also did quite a lot of hockey stops in this practice, because the floor is so slippy that my plow stops are a joke!

We did a lot of pack work in this practice, and although I understand the pack rules and things now, I still struggle to visualise how far 10’/3 metres is.

Weak areas:

  • Plow stops – mine are basically useless on this floor – I need to work on digging in
  • Left foot balance is still cack going backwards. I find it a lot easier to go around the apex than go along the straights.
  • Derby stance and walls. I’m improving at this, but I’m still very bambi in a wall, which is not helpful to anyone apart from the other team’s jammer.
  • Jam reffing – Keeping track of the jammer’s points. I kept forgetting to keep an eye on her position relative to the other team

Areas that sucked slightly less:

  • Managed to speed up my stepping in the morning so that I’m more or less managing to hop from one foot to the other, albeit my balance is all over the place.
  • Grabbing/leaning/touching team-mates for balance, support etc.

Things I was taught:

  • Sirius: ‘Sitting on someone’ i.e. almost like you’re using them as a chair when positional blocking
  • Sparrow: Use your fingers to tally up blockers passed when jam reffing
  • Pain: How to escape from being goated at the front without (and this is tricky) getting a direction of play penalty for a clockwise or stopped block

Things to improve:

  • Hockey stops without having to ‘psych’ myself up to it first
  • Backwards reverse crossovers are coming on, but doing it at speed, in proximity to others, or with proper form all need work.
  • Stepping leftward, grapevines leftward
  • Gliding backwards on one leg (right okay-ish, left bad)
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