Becoming a Roller Derby Butterfly!
It’s been six months since I joined the Roller Derby world. Having passed most of my minimum skills, I now find myself in the limbo between Fresh Meat and Advanced. Everyone experiences the weird in-between stage at some point, so here’s a few tips to help you along the way:
- Expect to be pushed, not protected.
This is probably the stage in your derby career that you will feel the biggest shift, all of a sudden you’ll slowly stop hearing “be careful of the freshies” and “don’t hit them too hard” and the emphasis will be on treating you like just another member of the team. Don’t panic- you haven’t lost your freshie identity, but now you’re one of the big girls (and we know you can take it!!). Your coaches may remove a layer of the sugar coatings, but it really is a case of tough love- don’t take it personally, instead see it as a compliment, they are trying to push you to be the best player out there.
- Be ready to go from a checklist mentality to a team mentality.
By now you will have probably crossed off most of your minimum skills, it’s just about putting them into action. One of the most overwhelming things is being thrown into the world of team tactics and quite frankly feeling a bit frazzled! You may go home and shed a few tears, but believe me when I say that everyone goes through this. We all experience bad sessions and unfortunately this transition stage is like a magnet for confusion. Don’t give up! By continuing to go to training, it will all become clear in time. Remember, you are now part of the team and they need you there, even if you don’t feel valuable, your input may help someone else understand it too.
- Ask questions!
You may have heard this a million times in school, but there really is no such thing as a stupid question. Don’t understand what bridging is? You’re probably not the only one, by having the confidence to ask you’ll end up helping out your fellow freshies too (and giving a nice reminder to all those advanced skaters!). By being actively involved and taking in as much information as possible, your coaches and team-mates will respect you more because ultimately it will make you a more valuable player in the future!
- Don’t be ashamed if you make a mistake.
Mistakes are how you learn, plain and simple! Everyone makes mistakes, even the advanced skaters! It’s useful to set yourself mini goals along the way, keep your eyes peeled for a future blog post from us all about not giving up!
- Watch archived games.
The more you immerse yourself in this sport, the quicker you’ll pick it up. The WFTDA have a youtube full of free archived games to watch* and by seeing some of the best teams in the world, your own team tactics might begin to make a bit more sense! The announcers give a pretty decent run-down of exactly what’s going on, and if you’re really keen (guilty as charged) you can rewind and watch those amazing hits over and over again!
- Get involved!
Use any opportunity to be a part of this wonderful new team. If there’s a bout or a scrimmage, don’t get discouraged just because you can’t skate- why not NSO or help out the referees? Keep your eyes peeled for fundraisers or events you can help out with, and don’t doubt the amazing impression this gives off to your teammates. It shows determination and enthusiasm, both extremely valuable attributes- it’s not all about skating ability, your personality will help you along the way so make sure you use it!
WFTDA archives (website): www.wftda.tv/archives/
WFTDA archives (Youtube): www.youtube.com/TheWFTDA/
By Attack-O-Belle and Queena Hearts.