Long time, no update. Ooooops! But time does fly in the world of derby when you're having so much fun!
Where do I start?
Since my last update, we've acquired a new coach: Tui Lyon, aka BB Bombshell from the Victorian Roller Derby League in Oz. A statuesque amazon of a woman, she looks like she was born to play derby. She's over here in sunny (!) Wales with her man for a few months, and has been kind enough to come and help whip our fresh meat asses in to shape. And by gods, she is GOOD. Watching her you'd find it hard to believe she wasn't born with a pair of skates attached to her feet: it looks so effortless and natural! However, she has assured us that there was a time when she was a wobbly learner and fell over all the time. It's so heartening - I look at her and think with enough time and practice, what will be me someday.
On to the training...
We had one last session on the swamp that is Fitzalan high, and Sian took the opportunity to introduce us to pylometric exercises. Oh my, the PAAAAIN! They involve lots of squats, jumps and other moves to help develop strength and muscle tone in vital areas (thighs, ass etc). I had gone to the session straight from work so I was already pretty tired...by the end of the session my legs felt pretty much dead. The next day I struggled to walk! I wasn't the only one though, which is good. The more I skate, the more I will develop these muscles and the better I will skate. My theory, anyway.
During our sessions on Channel View (and it's ice rink floor of death) BB has been teaching us the derby skills we will need to pass our minimum skills: crossovers, derby stance, laterals, etc. I'm noticing improvement in my skating every week - things I was too scared to even try a few weeks ago I'm starting to get down. I'm not afraid to push myself, and every time I fall (and I do!) I get back up and keep going. There are a few things that are still eluding me though: crossovers, plough stops and laterals. And I know that I just DON'T BEND MY KNEES ENOUGH. That is my worst derby crime and the reason that the last couple of times I've wiped out I've ended up on my hip/ass and not on my knees. It's something I really need to keep working on. My crossovers are coming on though - yesterday I managed one or two around the corners without getting the fear. I know it'll come with time and practice. There are some things I am good at though...my T-stops are pretty good and I can transition (go from front to back) quite well. Kat and I have been working on my transition stops in our dining room and we seem to be getting it down. It helps so much to have someone watch what you're doing and give you feedback - in my case, it mostly consists of 'BEND YOUR KNEES!'. It's the key to so many things in derby...
Finally, on to kit - BB gave us a really useful talk on skates, wheels and pads. I had a bit of a windfall last week (well, money back from my ex) so I invested in a pair of Smiths Scabs knee pads. I'd noticed my knees were really, really hurting after doing falls in my anarchy pads and did a bit of research (and posting on forums) I decided to upgrade. They seem to work very well for me - I'm pretty tall and they're quite long line. They're taking a bit of getting used to for crossovers though as they're so bulky compared to my old pads...it means having to lift my leg over further, which is scary! Hopefully this will just teach me to do deeper crossovers and make me a better skater in the long run.
I also have my new skates! Sure Grip Rebels with Fugitive wheels ^_^ I love them, although they took a bit of getting used to after so long in my Rios. I've decided to get some new wheels soon - channel view is so slippy I'm going to get some grippier ones. Sure Grip Sugars seem to be the best choice, and if the new floor we're going to be skating on in Coleg Glan Hafran is better I can mix them with my fugitives and have them as pushers.
So, until next time derby fans...over and out.