One and done!

First game of the season is in the books. Yippee!

It was a very close game and we were trading leads for most of the first half, but unfortunately we ran into penalty trouble on a couple of jams in the second half that allowed them to take the lead and keep it. Regardless it was a fun, respectful game.

The highlight for the game for me was when I was lined up to start a jam and it was clear that their jammer wanted to hit me off the line. When the whistle blew I stepped backwards and she went flying past me as she tried to hit me. It was awesome!

My team tends to think itself as not as good as we are, but we proved that we were a very capable team, as our opponent had a number of girls that were pulled from a higher level team. I am so proud of the work we did and how well we played.

On a personal level, I felt like I was chasing the whole game and didn’t get lead jam as many times as I would have liked. That being said I didn’t get many points scored against me as I was often just a second behind their jammer and able to force a call off. I felt I held my own against their blockers, but I have difficulty dealing with small stature blockers because of my height.

My cardio felt good. I had a couple of two minute jams where I was exhausted by the end, but I felt I was able to quickly recover and get back out there. I also am getting better at my timing when calling off jams so I get points and the opposing jammer doesn’t

One thing I need to work on is getting my hands out of the way when I jam. I feel like I am pushing my opponents and sooner or later I will start to get high block penalties. I really need to watch footage of other jammers to see what they do with their hands and practice keeping mine out of the way.

We don’t have another game lined up until June 6, but May will be a busy month with boot camps, an invitational bout and a local tournament.

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Those little things called minimum skills.

The first big step for any new roller derby player is passing their minimum skills assessment. The first time you take the assessment it seems so scary, and almost impossible. On test day, the little things that you have trouble with suddenly seem like mountains to over come.

Passing those assessments means you can play in games, its a pretty big deal, and not passing them can feel devastating.

This week is testing week for my league and I can feel the tension from all the fresh meat. They are all so nervous. Worried they won’t pass. Adding to their anxiety is the fact that we changed floors just last week and the new floor seems so much harder to work with.

I just want to hug them and say don’t worry so much. It really isn’t that scary and the floor isn’t that bad. Its actually a really great skating surface.

But one year ago I was in the exact same boat.

I was fretting over my transitions, my stops, my laps… everything. There was nothing anyone could do to calm me, as my anxiety was all about self doubt.

That is the number one thing that will stop these girls from passing. Getting in their own head and not following the instincts they have developed over the last few months.

They all can pass, they just need to get out of their heads.

The real work begins

Tonight is the last practice on our crappy gym surface and next week we start practicing on our game surface. Oh thank goodness.

The gym is our off season practice surface because the rinks are used for hockey. We typically have the surface from April to mid-September and, from the end of Sept until April we skate in the gym. Last year when I was a fresh meat skater when we were skating on the gym surface and I didn’t realize how crappy it was because I was really focused on learning the skills, not game play. But this year I understand, the last 6 months have been torture.

The biggest problem with the gym surface is that there isn’t a defined track, so it makes game scenario practices hard and it can feel like you aren’t progressing. The gym surface is also incredibly dusty and slippery. My wheels are 86A and I still slip out all the time and have to make sure I clean them before practice. Last week while trying to speed around the gym my feet slid out from under me, and even though I was wearing padding, my hip is still sore from the fall.

So as you can imagine, I am excited to move to our arena, which is a polished concrete surface.

Not only does it mean we have an actual track to skate on and a less slippery surface, but it also signifies that start of our season.

Our first game is in less than a month… eeeeek. It means training will become more focused and intense, and now the real work begins.

I can’t wait!