My Plan for World Domination Starts with a Toestop

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Thank god the offseason is over. I didn’t realize quite how much I’d gotten addicted to derby until we came back to practice this week. Every day, I found myself thinking, “Wow, life is so much better when derby is in season.”

Practices this week were tough but so rewarding, and I was happy to notice that some things I couldn’t do back in November suddenly clicked. Apparently I needed the holiday break to let my brain and body integrate some of the stuff I’d been learning. I don’t wanna brag, but my hockey stops have come a long way, and I don’t suck at hitting anymore. I felt a lot more confident in the basics coming back, which meant I could start thinking about the next things I want to work on. It’s kindof exciting to realize I have so much to learn. I feel like the nerdiest kid in the world in a really big library.

So, after my first week back at practice, this is the list I’ve decided to focus on for now.

  1. Master the left side reverse toe stop. It’s one of the last footwork 101 things that I still struggle with. I can do it when I’m skating alone at open skate, and I can do it if I’m working on a drill and no one’s watching me. But if I’m being told when to do it, someone’s standing there coaching me, or we’re doing a stop circuit where everyone’s doing it at once, something about those situations makes me too anxious, and I trip over myself. I need to get comfortable enough with the movement that I don’t get so hung up on it, and I need to work with that anxiety somehow.
  2. Get better at backwards crossovers. It’s not like we spend large periods of the game skating backwards, but I want to feel ultra confident moving in any direction on my skates, so I need work here. Plus, backwards skating is so pretty I just wanna be able to do it. I’ve been asking every advanced skater I can to show me how they do it. A little bit at a time, I’ve been catching on. This week at practice, Punchwrap Supreme broke it down for me once again, and I actually did it. Now I just need to do it over and over again until it becomes natural.
  3. Don’t be afraid of my team. Yeah, they’re rockstars, but they’re also humans, and they’re my team. If I want to be a contributing member, I need to stop thinking of them as better than me. If I don’t learn to speak up and hold my ground, what use am I to the team?
  4. Hit like Colleen Best. Have you ever been hit by her? Jeeze. Everyone seems to think she hits hard mostly because she’s super tall and strong. I am never going to be as tall as her or have her muscle mass. But she hits with intensity, focus, and finesse, and those are things I can work on. I mean, she takes a running start and slams into your mercilessly, but she’s also in complete control of her movements. A hit from Colleen is a thing of terrifying beauty. I wanna do that.
  5. Run on toe stops — improve agility. Again with the toe stops. I’ve just always been a little scared of them. It feels like running in heels but with wheels attached so there’s a greater chance of snapping my ankle in two. So I think I need to work on strengthening my ankles, getting over the fear, and improving agility in order to be able to step high and quickly.
  6. Don’t be the weakest link. Learn to absorb hits better and resist pressure from the back. I’m just tired of falling so easily. I need to remember to use my little plow stops and keep working on strength.
  7. Learn the dark art of jamming. In a way, jamming is easy because you always know where you’re supposed to go — forward. But like … how? This week I suffered from tunnel vision, so I need to broaden my awareness on the track. How does one get track omniscient? I kept hearing “head on a swivel,” so that’s one thing — just look around more. But also maybe I could incorporate this into my meditation practice somehow. Meditation is all about awareness, after all, isn’t it?

I think that’s a good enough list to work on for now. I have boatloads to learn, and it won’t all come at once. the common link seems to be strength and focus, so I guess I better get to the gym.

 photo credit: Gomisan via photopin cc
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