Sunday, 27 June 2010

feeling hot hot hot!

Well, I think we can officially say that summer has begun! The weather has been heating up, my hay fever is kicking in and work has become truly hellish as the windows create a greenhouse effect that causes me to be pretty much soaked in sweat from about 10 minutes in to my shift.

Yesterday I had a hellish day in the inferno, followed by a night out for my friend's homecoming party (and I still have the fake blood on my legs!). I had a few drinks, but nothing major and I was home not long after why oh why did I wake up today feeling like utter crap?!? Andy didn't fare much better, but neither of us could really pinpoint the source: we'd drunk, but not excessively and had lots of water too. Only difference was though that Andy didn't have to go to derby training at 4!

I was feeling rough right from the off: I managed to forget the first aid kit (again, jeez, what the hell is wrong with me?!?!) and as I laced my skates up I felt woozy and a bit sick. I warned BB that I wasn't feeling 100% so if I ended up sitting out not to be surprised! I got though the first hour ok...we did a whipping paceline which was fun, followed by an endurance drill that pretty much shredded my shins. So far so good. After a quick water break, we were back on the track for passive blocking drills (black vs white/coloured tops). At first I was ok, but after about 5 minutes I started to feel all the blood was draining out of my face. The room started to go a bit spinney so I took a knee and sat with my head between my legs trying not to pass out. Fettish thought maybe I was having a bit of a blood sugar dip so she got me a mars bar (thank you by the way!) and after that (and drinking loads of water) I felt a bit more human, but still shaky so I decided to sit out the rest of the second hour with Reeshi, who had bashed her head during the past drill. Watching the rest of our fellow Brawlers train was awesome, although pretty terrifying at times! BB was calling us for the many, many penalties being committed (there was tripping, grabbing, flailing, swimming to name a few) and for the last drill she created a mock up 'sin bin' that the girls had to sit in when called from the track - the time you serve for your penalty starts the second you hit the seat, so it's important to get to the sin bin as fast as you can, and you ALWAYS have to skate the outside of the track to get there. I have a funny feeling over the coming weeks I'm going to spending a fair bit of time in the bin until I can learn to control by bad habits...MUST.STOP.FLAILING!

So, just like last week I need more practice on my laterals, and generally build up my confidence a bit more. I've noticed recently that I feel miles behind so many of the other girls in my team. There are times during training I just want to cry, I get so frustrated with myself for not being to so something or for not doing it as well as the others. I know that practice makes perfect, and that I just need to keep plugging at it, but part of me worries that maybe this is it: this is as good as I can or will ever get. I've got some of the basics down, but there are so many things left to master...I look through the WFTDA minimum skills and feel like I'm very, very far away from passing it. Or even thinking about passing it.

Blah. I'm tired, over-heated and stressed out. A nice long bath and some sleep with give me perspective, and hopefully drag me away from the pity party I seem to have become stuck at.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

just keep moving...

I'm right slap bang in the middle of a house move at the moment, so it feels like I do nothing but sort through masses of junk, dust and dead spiders (there have been LOTS of those, especially since I moved the chest of draws out...there was two years worth of junk under there!). Oh, and skate. I've been doing my level best to attend every session, even when tired...Kat is generally pretty good at giving me a motivational prod to get me moving, and I'm always glad afterwards.

Training sessions seem to be falling in to two categories for me at the moment: there are the ones where everything seems to 'click' and I feel like I'm making progress, and there are the ones where I seem to have two left skates and end up frustrated and annoyed with myself because it's like being back at square one again!

Sunday's training session fell in to the first category: during drills I felt confident and did some pretty good booty blocking/plough stopping during our waterfall drill (which I loved!) and even managed a pretty decent jamming speed (well, for me...we have some super-fast girls in the team and I'm nowhere near them, but it was progress for me!). I got some praise from BB, although she did chide me for grabbing (a recurring sin, I'm working on it though!). I felt so good at the end of that session, like things were finally falling in to place.

Then came Wednesday's session, which was definitely category two. It all started out well enough: warm-up laps with BB calling out different instructions on the whistle, eg one knee taps, plough stops ect ect. Fine, fine, so far so good. Then came transition stops. That's ok too, I can do those...when going slowly. But oh no, we had to do them AT SPEED! Eeeeeek! It's fair to say I wussed out pretty badly on these, I kept slowing down from my skating pace to turn, and that's no good because in the long run I need to be able to do these FAST. We moved on then to two packs, all of us numbered one to four. When BB called out our number we would have to do falls/stops in the pack. If we made contact with another pack member we had to do 5 push ups in the middle of the track...I ended up there 3 times! In a game situation failing to fall small and flailing is a minor, so it's best we learn good habits now! After my this we then did a 'hammer and nail' - basically we got in to groups of 3, 2 blockers and 1 jammer. The blockers would then whip off one another to booty block the jammer. All very fun, but because I'm still working on my lateral movements I felt like I just wasn't getting in the jammer's way enough and they would just nip round me. For our cool downs BB has been getting us to skate backwards...I can sort of manage it for about 3 seconds, then I lose all momentum. I feel like I don't know what to do with my weight: does it go back? Forwards? I'm still none the wiser. Reeshi saw I was struggling and gave me some helpful pointers, but then I got a little over confident...and that's when my big comedy fall happened. As usual, I hadn't bent my knees enough so when the slip happened, my wheels went out from under me, my legs flailed and *SMACK* down I went. I managed to hit my ass, my upper back and my head all in one go...nice one, Jo. I rolled over and scrambled up pretty fast, but it really shook me. My head was hurting and my back definitely wasn't happy about the sudden trip to the floor. Lesson here? BEND YOUR KNEES!! ALWAYS!!

So, my goals this week:
1. LATERALS, LATERALS LATERALS. I will conquer these!
2. Transition stops at speed, without plough stopping first
3. Pack awareness: keeping my hands to myself and skating closer to the rest of my pack.
4. WFTDA rule-learning.
5. Move house without my head exploding from the stress!

There is a silver lining to this moving malarky though: one I get my bond back I plan to treat myself to awesome skates, and since Kat A Clysmic has already broken her nylon plates I'm going to get aluminum ones. Here are the bad boys I have my beady eye on:

In other news, we've pretty much sold out our fundraiser! This makes me very, very happy indeed. It looks to be an awesome night, so I will hopefully see some of you there!

Until next time...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

catch up!

Again have neglected my blog. Bad Jo! But now I'm sat in bed on a day off with a cup of tea by my side (and my poor derby widow, who puts up with so much) I'm finally making the time to post.

Where to begin?

BB has been pushing us HARD in longer are we just learning the basic skating skills, we're having to use them in game-like situations (although no actual scrimmage yet, we're just about to start running contact drills though. More about this later). We've learnt to passive block, which is also known as a booty block. The reason for this is that you're basically getting your ass in the opposing player's way, and at times you're pretty much sitting in their lap! This requires a lot of confidence, good lateral motions and being able to look behind you every 3 seconds to see where the jammer/opposing blocker is. In spite of having the kind of booty that this sort of thing was made for, I still lack confidence when blocking: my laterals aren't up to scratch yet (for some reason I can go right with no problems, but my feet don't like going left!) and my confidence is still a work in progress.

The other skill BB has had us working on is jamming. For those not in the know, the jammers are the point scorers in derby, and are marked out by having a star on their helmet covers. They score by passing the hip of each opposing player (who are trying to block them/knock them over!). To be a first class jammer you have to be lithe, agile and above all, FAST. Oh dear. I'm really not any of those things, and I know for a fact that I am one of the slowest skaters in my group. Every time I start to go fast I get the fear, and allow my momentum to slow me down. During a decent practice we ran a '4 wide' drill, which was a pace line where we were, well, four skaters wide. When BB blew the whistle the line at the back had to jam through the rest of the pace line and get to the front, and then the next line would go and so on. I think it's fair to say I absolutely, unequivocally SUCKED at this drill! For a start, every time I was my turn on the outside of my line (where you had to sprint) I would end up going to fast, losing control and ending up outside the track. I think my poor team spent more time looking for me than anything else, every time they turned around I had vanished! And then when it was time to jam...well, lets just say I didn't. Kat, Hayley and Leanne all attacked the situation with gusto, making it through to the front (or at last getting through the first few lines) while I got stuck behind the first line like an absolute lemon. I was too scared to take any opening I saw, and Donna, who was defending the inside line of the track, made sure I couldn't go anywhere! BB even took pity on me and tried to 'drill some holes' for me to pass through, but even then I was too scared and too slow to go anywhere. Honestly, the whole thing almost had me in tears and I started to wonder if I will ever be good enough. I told BB how disheartened I felt, and she gave me some sage advice - she feels what I need is confidence, and this takes time and practice. Apparently, my actual skating is ok...what's holding my back is my brain! This is just something that takes time and determination to overcome. On a more positive note, we ran another jamming drill in our last training session, and although I did cut track once and flail a little bit (grabbing an opposing player in the pack in the process, oops!) I MADE IT THOUGH THE PACK! Without getting stuck! This is a first for me, and has boosted my confidence no end.

So, there is still a long way to go...but I think I can make it. I'm going to set myself goals for each week, and work on getting them down. This week I am going to get lower (bend my knees!!) and go faster, and keep working on my laterals (mostly going left...). I let y'all know how I get on.

Until next time...