Roller Derby My New Life

Derby Life Balance

My Life

Not long ago I did a post about Work Life Balance and with the start-up a new team and the commitments I have made to Roller Derby, it occurred to me that I needed to think about my derby life balance as well.  Learning to balance all the things in my life that I enjoy doing with those obligations that I need to do is always a very big challenge.  Family time is very important, and doing things that we love to do is necessary.  Roller Derby is time-consuming and very demanding.  Just like we have vacation days given to us from work, we need a vacation from our hobbies at times also.  For me this may or may not mean a break from skating, but more likely a break from business side as well.  I have  a hard time thinking about not skating for any length of time but if you are struggling with the idea of practice every time and finding that you are not rejuvenated after said practice, it might be time to take a break.

Some times those breaks are forced upon us by circumstances, obligations, or injury but even healthy skaters need some time off to regroup, recharge and evaluate their personal goals and how it is affecting other aspects of their lives.

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a recreational skater and being satisfied with that is all good too.  Having been a recreational skater that supported a very large league for several years and volunteering for that league, burn out can occur here as well.  We always need to set realistic expectations of our team members, volunteers and everyone else that works to support our league.

All that being said, everyone that is part of the league should be sure to support their league with volunteer time, serving on committees actively because the more people who do that, the easier the jobs are and a handful of members are not going to burn out so fast.  It takes lots of work, planning and dedication to run a league and we are not just the athletes, we are management too.  So get involved and do you part, find something you like and take it on.  Give your team-mate a break if needed and work together for the benefit of the team!

The picture above is my heart and soul, my grand-daughter and my husband.  I breath and live to be a part of their lives and the other members of my family doing things together and without their support, derby would not be a an option for me.  Because of them I am here doing what I love.

Derby Love!


Roller Derby My New Life

Are You Scrimmage Ready?

When I first started Roller Derby I would hear this question being asked at various times.  At first though I didn’t know what was meant by that.  How do I know and no one could really tell me.  I think it is very important for the trainers/coaches to have a really good idea of everyone’s capabilities before throwing newbies into the scrimmage.  safety for everyone should be the biggest concern and a big factor in determining if you are scrimmage ready.

Our team did something different for the first time at our scrimmage practice which was suggested by the Refs and worked out awesomely well.  We split everyone up between seasoned (advanced) skaters and the intermediates and newbies.  One jam was only advanced and the next jam was intermediates/beginners against each other and the next jam was 2 advanced skaters mixed in with intermediate/beginners.  We rotated this way the entire time and it not only worked out really well it was awesome to watch each jam be competitive and no one got hurt.  I personally had a great practice and I hope everyone else felt like they did too.  Having enough players to make this work is a key factor too.

It is difficult as a seasoned skater to dial back when scrimmaging with not so seasoned players every time and this was a way to get them out there so they could go hard and work on their game as well.  And then have the opportunity to help teach the other girls and provide guidance on the track.

As with all things in life you must study that which you want to conquer or become good at!  Every single practice will give you exactly what you put into it.  There are always those days, when I don’t feel so great, tired, cranky or just wanting to not do anything.  I have found out that if I make myself go to practice and get on the floor by the time warm ups are over I have renewed energy, better focus and much better attitude.  It is what keeps me going.  I love doing and helping and learning and teaching.  And most importantly I have learned not to give up trying something even when I am struggling with it!  So you will be ready to scrimmage probably sooner than you think but the harder you work on the drills at practice the better your scrimmage time will be!  Get out there and Get it Done!!

Derby Love!!


Roller Derby My New Life

Left Turn Clinic

I have been pretty busy lately but I wanted to wait until after I attended this clinic to post again.  Houston Roller Derby hosted a Left Turn Clinic with coaches Mercy and Juke Boxx. go here to learn a little about these coaches and others for Left Turn.

This was a 3 day clinic that was the best derby training sessions I have attended.  I learned more about myself and what I could do and attempt to do in these 3 days than I have in almost 3 years of my roller derby adventure!  These trainers are not only awesome at derby but they are awesome teachers.  The clinic is run smoothly they know what they are doing and they communicate that very well to all levels.  I have so many things to work on now that it is hard to remember where to start.  I am so thankful that Nawty attended and took notes to bring back to our team, Yellow Rose Derby Girls!

This was not only a physical challenge but also a mind blowing mental experience as well.  I only bailed out on the scrimmage on Saturday because I had 2 bruised big toenails and I wanted to skate the whole time on Sunday.  (Not to mention my grand daughters cousin’s birthday party was also then).  Anyone who  knows me, knows that grand baby trumps even derby!

I would recommend to anyone who has a chance to attend one of the Left Turn Clinics to absolutely do so.  It is well worth the money.

Here are some things that I took away from this training:

  1. What is training?  Being taught new skills and trying the skill, this doesn’t mean you are going to master that skill today.
  2. LISTEN! I’m sorry did I shout that? Let me say that again LISTEN. If you are talking you are being a douch, you are not able to listen and you are preventing someone else from listening. I am just as guilty of this as the next person
  3. Work hard and push yourself, you paid for this remember!  You will only get out of it what you put into it. Cliche’ I know but it is true
  4. Participate, open your mind to new ideas and participate.
  5. Practice what you have been shown.  Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice!!  I did not say that enough!  Practice!
  6. Share what you learn. HUH?  Yes I said share.   Nothing stays secret forever unless it is never used, so share what you know the entire derby community will benefit
  7. One of the most important things is that when you being taught a skill that you have already mastered, you role is to help someone else master the skill, not show off how good you are.  Dial it back because if the trainee cannot ever succeed they will not understand what it feels like to do it.    This applies to team practices also.  You are a team and you win and loose as a team.  Going all out and hurting your team mates when they are not at your level means you suck!
  8. The next most important thing is to take instruction, constructive criticism, your team mate yelling at you to get lower, whatever the case.  This is to help you not to embarrass you.  How do you know if you doing it wrong unless someone tells you????
  9. It is ok to call someone out when they do something illegal.  If you get called out find out what you did, listen and work on not doing that again.  Watching yourself on film is very enlightening.  What you think you are doing is head, is not what is actually happening, sometimes.  It is hard when there are not enough officials to see everything at practice and scrimmages.  So those watching need to actively participate and give feedback after the jam.
  10. Learn how to bench coach, learn how to call line ups, learn how to be an NSO.  Study the rules STUDY STUDY the rules.  Watch games, watch the officials learn what they are calling and why.  Think about what football players do after the weeks game, they watch film!  They watch what they did, they study their position and they practice and know the rules.

I grew up when girls didn’t do team sports and we were told to “be Nice”, well that just sucks everyone should learn how to play a team sport.  Team work happens in sports, and in the real world of jobs.  You have to learn how to get along as a team, in all situations.   Unfortunately women are notorious for creating drama.  We take everything personal, we want to lash back.  We need to step up, get a tougher skin, think before we react.  Cool off if we get angry, and have the guts to tell someone what you felt and give them a chance to explain.  Usually it is how we take it not how is meant.  Conflict resolution is a necessary tool for life, learn it.  You will be much happier!

As always, much derby love!! I know there was some strong truths in this post but it is sent out with love for the sport and people who play and want to play, not to intimidate and put down.

Melody Kool

Roller Derby My New Life

Endurance, Endurance and More Endurance…

My new league and Team Yellow Rose Derby Girls is moving right along with training, setting up the board of directors and committees! We are off and running and I am so excited to be a part of this awesome group of women! Over the past 3 years I have been doing this sport, I was very glad to get back to the basics again. And by basics I mean the dreaded announcement that tonight is endurance night! UGH! We all say it, we know it, we all dread it!

Of the things that has helped me the most with every other part of my training is a hefty dose of endurance training. I have to say that our trainers have come up with some very good endurance training drills that are challenging for all levels of skaters and not the boring 100+ laps (not that we don’t do that now and then). The trick is to do it without realizing it is endurance and just giving it your all for as far as you can go.

When I first started out I wanted to play derby, not run drill after drill. Of course the first time I had the opportunity to watch a scrimmage, I began to see why we had to so many drills for so long before we were ready to play. It was scary and very intimidating!

So back to the endurance thing, it is a very necessary part of this sport and once you get that in good form, the other things become easier. I know for me when I am tired is when I get sloppy and more apt to get hurt or hurt someone else. The main thing is to not stop but to pull out and skate on the outside or inside, depending on your practice facilities. If you cannot keep up skate a pace that you can maintain, rejoin the faster pace when you feel you can, this will also bring that endurance level up.

Most importantly, no one who has not been doing a sport starts out being able to do endurance drills completely in the first few months. That being said, it is also not enough time on skates to go once a week. You will need at least 2 days a week on skates and 3 is even better. Remember to we have to do 27 in 5 now for WFTDA minimum skills! YAH! ♥

So the next time the trainer comes out and announces it is endurance night, rejoice and set some goals for yourself and stop watching the veterans who have been there forever and comparing yourself to them! They were you once.

Thank you for reading my blog! This another new experience for me and I am having fun with it!
Derby Love!

Roller Derby My New Life

Assessment Anxiety Repost for the newbies

Wrote this back in 2013 but it is still just as relevant

Just finishing up Yellow Rose Derby Girls assessments and I handled it much better this time around. This is a necessary tool to learn where you are and what you need to work on in order to improve. I have always been a very very bad test taker. I freeze up and my brain shuts off. I can barely recall my own name and it has been that way since I was in grade school. I have successfully gotten out of my own head and settled down to doing what I know to the best of my ability. Trying out for a team is nothing more than doing your assessments and showing your skills and abilities.

It occurred to me that I was mostly afraid of looking like a complete idiot, and people laughing at me and generally just scared to fail and succeed. I know that is really lame and silly. Derby has taught me how to better deal with my own fears. We all start out afraid to fall and what is the first thing they teach you?? How to fall! Face it you are going to eat the track…a lot and the key is to learn how to not get hurt when you fall or take that big hit. These assessments show you what you need to work on. Ok so it feels like you need to work on everything and it is overwhelming and upsetting.

This is why we practice and do drills over and over until you are sick of them. But you are going to get out of those drills what you put into them. Be honest, if you are not giving it your all each and every time you get on the track, then you are not improving and you are not mastering the skills.

Remember that it takes time and hard work to improve. There is no substitute for that and there is no short cut to get there. In order to improve you have to move outside your comfort zone, but do not take chances until you are ready mentally. Push yourself a little each time and it does get better.

Next up is learning the rules of the game! You must look at them and watch derby being played. The other best way to learn the rules is to be an NSO or Non Skating Official. If you are not bout ready then go to clinic for NSO’s and Refs. These are held by various leagues periodically. This way you contribute to your team even if you are not playing in the bouts yet.

Remember that Roller Derby is a sport and you are becoming an athlete!! An awesome Derby athlete!!

Hip checks to all until the next time!

Roller Derby My New Life

Stuck in Your Head

So after talking with some team mates and encouraging them I was reminded of how easy it is to get stuck in your own head.  We all do it, we are the only one out there that can’t do cross overs, can’t do turn around toe stops, struggle with the snow plow yada yada yada!  It wasn’t until I was injured and couldn’t skate but went to all the practices that I could to observe that I realized I was not the only one with struggles.

We tend to look at the girls that have been doing this for years and expect to be just like them in a few short weeks or even months.  I know I was intimidated by the girls who could skate fast, do cross overs and generally looked like they were completely comfortable on skates.

I grew up roller skating, taught myself how to skate backwards, do turn around toe stops, spins, learned how to jitter bug on skates (can’t do that now lol) and thought of myself as a decent skater.  However, I had been off of skates for years, was a couch potato and a little over weight when I started roller derby.  I was quickly humbled, when I got my speed skates (which I had never been on before) and hit the track thinking to myself, “I got this, no problem” and promptly fell on my bootie bruising my tail bone.

WOW, what just happened??  I discovered that I didn’t know anything about derby and speed skating and even though I knew how to skate, I had so much to learn.  It can be a bit discouraging and I spent my first year going to Rec league practice once a week and learning everything I could in that short time.  I finally realized, (even after I was told by others my husband included) that this was not going to get me where I wanted to be.

I finally made the committment to go to more practices, speed practice being my only other option at the time and start working out and eating better.  Now I began to look for more opportunities to skate and got me some outdoor wheels so I could skate in parades and such.  Speed practice helped me out immensely, coach Mel can make you a better skater.

With assessments coming up it is important to remember to get OUT of your head, do the skill to best of your ability, take the advice and coaching.  DO NOT compare yourself to others, (I know that is the hard one).  Everyone develops their skills at their own rate and everyone started at different levels. This is a tool to help you understand where you are, what you need to work on, and where you are trying to get to.  One other thing, it is easy to practice a skill you can do well, not so much for the ones you don’t do well. The important thing is to keep trying, keep working hard and quit being so hard on yourself.  Remember you crawl before you walk, you walk before you run in all of you life adventures!

Until next time!! Hip checks and derby love to you all!


Derby Grandmother

Our first grandchild was born on April 14 2011, Katelynn Nicole.  I heard many grandparents rave about their grand kids and how different it was from being a parent but I was completely unprepared for this.  Words just cannot express the feelings and joy and pride I have.

It is amazing to watch another generation from you come into this world and see them grow and become little people.  Every time we babysit we come away in what we call baby daze.  Nothing else matters.  Of course she is the smartest most perfect child ever born.  The best thing is how much patience I have with her.  Not to mention seeing those little things in her that are you. You know like when she throws herself on the floor for a tantrum and your mother reminds you how you used to do that. Ha, me, not me!! Well um maybe; it is cute when she does it though. 🙂

Obviously she is also my motivation to continue my derby experience to help me be able to keep up with her.  And I cannot wait to teach her to skate.  She will love it as anything that makes her go is her favorite thing to do!

It is also incredibly awesome to watch your children become parents. My daughter has become great woman and now a mother and I watch in awe as she moves along with her life and her precious family.

As Thanksgiving fast approaches I have so very much to be thankful for.  My family is my support and my husband my rock.  Spending the time with my family is the best gift in the world and we come together in love regardless of what is going on in life.  I remind myself daily to be thankful for all that I have and all that is to come.

As our children grow up and we grow older and our parents older still, I am humbled by how short a time we have to be with them, make the most of every single minute!