We were allowed to scrim at training yesterday, and it was AWESOME!

Sure, it was positional, and just us freshies… But it was a really powerful experience. There’s something very humbling about putting skills into practice in a game environment. It makes you realise the value of what you’ve been training for when you can pull off a sneaky transition, or co-ordinate an offensive manouever.

One thing that I’ve been mulling over recently has been my status in the league. I’m very much in the ‘awkward teenage’ stage, where I’m no way at the level of the team and mins-passed skaters, and yet I’m not always challenged enough by the pre-mins group drills.

It depends so much on what we’re practicing. Anything involving pack-work or contact, I’m atrocious. If it’s skills-based, I’m usually more attracted to try the ‘hard-mode’ version of the drills with the big girls. I don’t often get to choose, so I’ve found myself being a little more hands-on with the fresh meat group, helping to coach and co-ordinate.

It occurred to me that ever since I began skating, I’ve been a little fish in a big pond – training with skaters well above my level and I got very used used to being the worst on track. But now the new intake have integrated, I’ve been relegated to pre-mins training, and now I’m the most experienced in the group(!)

At first, I was so uncomfortable with the shift in the status quo. A few times, the new fresh meat looked to me for guidance and I’ve just been like “shit, I don’t know what I’m doing either – don’t follow me!”

But if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s absorbing and regurgitating information. So every bit of advice I’ve heard, every little thing I’ve been told to do (or not do) in the last 8 months is all coming flowing out. It even sounds a bit like I know what I’m talking about! (It’s all an illusion).

Maybe I just enjoy being bossy, but I’m finding it really satisfying to coach people and help demystify rules and pick up skills. I perhaps would be interested helping with the training committee one day!

Areas which sucked slightly less:

  • Edge hops (Like these!) – I love ’em
  • Transitions – Which is our monthly objective. TBH I love transitions.
  • Backwards crossovers – I’m getting a lot faster, both derby and non-derby direction. I’m working on getting more ‘hop’ out of my crossovers. Actually, I’m stronger going back than I am going forwards crossing over like this!
  • Accelerating – I used to really struggle with running on skates or toe-stops. But I feel like I’m now getting much faster and more confident going into ‘stride’ after a run
  • Laterals – Still my nemesis, but they have improved slightly in recent weeks. More comfortable side stepping/hopping further and faster

Weak areas:

  • Plowing – So I still can’t plow on my left properly. I have been trying, but maybe not quite enough to make a difference. Must practice more!
  • Edgework – This is an uphill struggle at the moment – I can’t quite get the hang of it. I’m so easily knocked around and I never feel stable. And I fall on my bum all the time.
  • Blocking in a pack – This was better but it’s still a glaring gap in my skillset. I’m more likely to default to blocking forwards too, which doesn’t help.
  • Scrim-brain – Again, this is improving, and yet I still draw a blank on what to do and when (for example just after the jammer escapes and is coming back around). Or forgetting what pass my rival jammer is on, and having to call it off just in case.

Advice I received:

  • Edgework – Itami:
    • Get lower down and more stable;
    • Pick up your feet more and move around to stay agile rather than getting ‘stuck’;
    • Put your shoulders back more – try to make contact with the jammer and know where she is.

Stuff to work on more:

  • Ensuring contact (as jammer) stays legal – forearms begone!
  • Slalom – (need to find some new tricks to try out)
  • Regaining balance (e.g. after jumping through a gap in the wall)
  • Running away (e.g. from a blocker after breaking through the wall)
  • Plow stops on both feetLeft foot plow stops
  • Mohawk jukes (mohawk -> glide on back leg -> hop onto front leg)