Saturday, March 5, 2011

'shit skaters dont tell you'

From Randi Maehym:
"This snow angel shit in the middle of the track has got to stop."

My aside and why coaching and working with new(er) skaters is so important

I always look for perspectives from new to intermediate skaters because after being in derby for three years you tend to take certain things for granted. It's usually only after we see a new skater make a mistake that we say "didn't anyone ever teach you ..."

The blank stare is your obvious clue that no one did, in fact, teach this poor girl how to: fall small, don't push up from the ground with your fingers, always look around you, keep your feet moving, exhale before you take/give a big hit, hold the inside, watch for their jammer, watch for your jammer, communicate ... breathe. ;) 

We also take for granted that there is so much to learn in derby when you're new that it's hard to remember everything.

Vets have the same tendency to take things for granted. Coaching is a great way for us to remember the little things that are just as important as complex strategy.

If you are a new(er) skater and you truly have a passion to learn the sport, start talking to people. Talk to the coaching/training staff or find a buddy who has been skating for awhile. These people are invaluable to you becoming better.

Now ... this is not to say that if you try to cozy up to a veteran skater you won't get rebuffed. Vets can be a little gruff with newer skaters because, honestly, we've seen so many women walk out the same door they came in without much of an effort. Many women (and men) will come into your practice thinking it will be easy (and for about 5-10 percent it might be) only to give up after being frustrated or upset that "Skater X doesn't like me."

Derby isn't a popularity contest (or, it shouldn't be). Those of us that are in this sport and have been in it for some time aren't in this to make new friends. We have a compound goal of becoming better and, eventually, getting a few wins out of it.

If you are a new skater and you do try to get friendly with a vet, don't take it personal if she doesn't automatically free up her schedule to meet you for tea and cake. 

We will try and help you when we can, but it's hard to invest in a person when you have know idea whether she'll quit next week.

Continue to prove yourself by dedicating your time and energy to a thing that she loves and she will likely come around. And if she doesn't, there's always the skater next to her.

(NOTE: For a while, we were using a buddy system of Bigs and Littles. We had so many new girls come in at once that it was nearly impossible to help all of them at once. By pairing them up with a vet on the team it was easier to disseminate information to them. Not all vets participated. We're not all warm and fuzzy. But you could see a distinct improvement between vet-newbie relations.)