As January 1 rolls around, so does a new season for the Palouse River Rollers. While off-season is the ideal time to get reacquainted with your family, loved ones, and other hobbies you had before roller derby sat on your life, it’s also a time to bang out some incredible goals and set your sights high for the following season. Season 3 baby! I’m #bleedingteal all over the place.
1. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
I’m lookin’ right at you, 27-in-5. When skating consistently for five minutes at your best paced sprint is the only option you have in order to pass WFTDA Minimum Skills, you best have a strong mental game to push through. Some skaters find comfort in aligning their breath with their strides, and cranking it out like an eight-wheeled machine. I prefer to think about anything — absolutely anything — other than what I’m doing. Vacation on the beach? Sure. Folding my laundry? Totally. What I’m going to eat for dinner? More often than not. We play roller derby because it is hard, and there’s a wicked beast inside all of us that loves to be beaten to a pulp on the flat track Friday night and wake up to do it again early Sunday morning. Always choose to be strong.
2.Work smarter, not harder.
I like quotes that are short and sweet. Skip the frills and gimme the meat – even though I’m a vegetarian. Whatever. But anyway, the concept of working smart is pure gold. I’ll just go ahead and lay it on you: Drink water – you’ll feel better. Figure out a good warmup that works for you and do it before practice. In the few minutes before practice, work one-on-one with someone you respect and trust. Ask for their feedback and use it. Keep a note with your goals on your phone to review before bouts. (I personally keep a pic of Stef Mainey in action on hand for big inspo…did you SEE her evasive and powerful jamming last season?) Looking at photos of skaters I respect gets me so amped, and keeps me focused on my goals. Find your groove this season with a focused and dedicated approach, and what was once difficult will soon be a cake walk.
3. The darkest hour has only sixty minutes – Morris Mandel
Sixty minutes you say? Well…that also sounds like the length of most conditioning practices and off-skates workouts. While it feels so easy to turn and burn from a hard and heavy practice to sweatpants on the couch, we have to remember recovery is key. After a dark and liberating hour of conditioning, sprints, strength training, whatever it is, end it by giving yourself a good stretch. Experts say a cold bath can dramatically speed up muscle recovery, but I hate being cold so screw that. If you’re a weenie like me, think about getting a foam roller or a tennis ball to roll around on and loosen up tight muscles.
4.It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.
Be the person with an infallible attitude — with strength, sportsmanship, and pride that just won’t quit. That’s it. Be the one with endless high fives and booty slaps and hoots and hollers and remind everyone why this sport is so fun.
5. Respect yourself.
Getting burned out is real, and it happens to skaters of every skill level. When you feel yourself getting burned out, you’ve reached a point of critical mass, and you need to either move forward or move back because change is necessary. Sometimes that means you need to prioritize yourself for a few hours on a weekend and sometimes that means you need to take a month away from roller derby. Both options can be real solutions, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for either one. This sport is amazing, but it’s a sport that requires a lot of time each week, a hefty cashola investment, and takes a toll on the body. Be balanced and do what you need to have the most fun and success this season.
6. And one bonus quote to trash for 2016: “The penalty box: Pissing off skaters everywhere 30-seconds at a time.”
I found this on a random bumper sticker online, (thanks, Google). But, yo, why you gotta be like that? Of course referees can be frustrating, especially when we feel like we’re not at fault for the penalty (or penalties) we’re given. But they’re most likely volunteering to make your game happen. Without them, you wouldn’t be bouting. Without them, this sport would be pretty friggin’ chaotic. Without them, we’d lose an element that makes the game what it is — a competition between two groups of skaters employing awesome strategy and bangin’ athleticism. Respect your referees, tell them thank-you at the end of the bout, and remember just how hard it is to remember when to call a “no-pack” and “out-of-play” … they do that all day long. If you really want to show your referees some love, register for our Zebra Love Referee Appreciation Day event and get in on some scrimmages and a Rules Review with WFTDA-certified Rat City official Sir Osis!
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