The first was on Friday, in Fitzalan High School. After a small amount of getting lost, we were in the vast sports hall and getting ready to roll. Then we tried laps - oh no! None of us had any idea of the type floor in the hall, and unfortunately for us it was soft, sprung wood. Between my skates (cheap and grippy) and the floor (soft and also grippy) it was akin to trying to skate through treacle! It was damn hard work doing laps - even a slight let up in effort meant you stopped dead. I even managed to walk in my skates (a very weird feeling). However, the super-sticky floor had some advantages - it allowed us to practice some techniques and footwork that I've not been feeling too confident on. Falls were a little trickier, but my main problem was I still felt that I lacked control and ended up sprawling on the floor a little. I did manage a vaguely respectable crossover though, and I left the session feeling positive that I'd made some progress.
Today were in channel view, which has the slippiest floor known to man - it's more like an ice rink, and after Friday it was a real shock to the system! It took me a while to get in to my stride, and I felt my confidence wain once more. Chloe, who was leading the session, asked all the least confident skaters to form a group (which I lovingly nicknamed 'team special mittens') and run through a few exercises. During the weaving/pace line exercise I kept being told to slow down, which made me think that I should have had a bit more faith in my abilities and joined the faster girls. Ah well, a lesson learned for next week. We also went through falling drills, and I was paired up with the lovely Sian who gave me some good feedback and gave me some ideas of things to work on (not looking down, staying low in derby stance ect). By the end of the drills I felt I had made progress, maybe just baby steps, but steps forward none the less. The only drill that terrified me tonight was the last exercise - a form of the trolley dolly where one person faced the other way. Oh. My. God. The idea was to get us used to the feeling of going backwards. Now, over the last week or so I've been trying to go backwards in the safety of my dining room and getting about 3cm before I was gripped with fear. Tonight I was paired up with a girl far more confident than myself, and whipped along at a fast pace as I held on tight, trying not to look down. I managed not to fall on my ass, so I learned something - perhaps sometimes the best way to learn is to throw yourself in at the deep end.