Roller Derby My New Life

Injury Recovery-The Long Road Back

I am 8 weeks out from my shoulder surgery.  I have to say it has been just as hard as they told me it would be.  I am still having to manage pain and do all the exercises.  My physical therapist shows me what to do and I push myself to do it, but it is still slow going.  I am elated at being able to use my right hand to feed myself and type again.  I still cannot open doors and I am maybe 3/4ths of the way to full range of motion and that is being generous.

Every athelete that gets injured knows what is like to go through the recovery process and it totally sucks.  My surgeon assures me that I will be much happier on the other side of this.

Set backs are all a part of life and there are so many other things that are worse or more important than my injury and recovery, that I am still thankful to have my health and the ability to recover.  Team mates have been supportive and I know how hard it is to know what to say to someone who is off the track and struggling to get better so they can be back out there with everyone.  We have had our share of injuries this year.

It has made me do some research on preventing injury.  There is such a thing.  Extra protection gear is one way to help, I wear padded shorts and shin guards which are not required.  But I think that especially for fresh meat learning how to skate it is advisable.  Tailbone injuries can end your strive to be a derby girl and the shins getting kicked is just common sense.  Not everyone is going to be the same and some accomodations have to be made to focus on what is good for you and your body.

The coaches shout about our form and yet, 90% of even the most experienced on the team do not have good derby stance form, however all of them think that they do.  I had some newbies argue with me that they were in good form so I had them do their skating around the track and I filmed them, then I showed them.  It was an eye opener.  We need more sprints and squats while on the track, and sprints are not a race in which you sacrifice form to beat a team mate.  And when the someone tells you are you not low enough, believe them and work harder to get lower.  Remember that training is just that, you are not competing with your team mates, you are competing with yourself and the track and the drills.  You must work on the things you do not do well and not concentrate on doing what you already know how to do. 

We are just about to end our season with our last bout and take a quick break for holidays and then it is back at it to get ready for the next season.  I have had a very long break and am so ready to get back on the track with my team mates.  Hopefully, try outs will go well and I will be able to try out when we have them.

Watching from sidelines, I have seen our girls progress and the training intensify and it is an awesome sight to behold.  I am suppose to have all my range of motion back in 4 more weeks and my therapist and I will be working hard to get there.  In therapy, pain really does mean gain.  I have had to learn that the pain I have now is not injury pain it is healing pain.  But I will be back stronger than ever, there is some serious weight lifting in my future!!

Until next time – Love you guys!

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!


Turn up the training

I attended my first out of town roller derby bootcamp! It was awesome. I have come away with a clearer view of what I need to personally work on to improve. The most valuable information was the importance of cross training. Everything I ptactice on skates needs to be practiced off skates too. And I believe strength training is beneficial as well.

Getting more and different drills is very important also. I am sure these will be shared with our league. And I am excited to use my new knowledge.

Playing with and against all levels of skill is beneficial. Must play with more skilled players to improve and I cannot wait to go to rollercon for the first time on 2013!

I am looking forward to an awesome new derby year!!