I’ve reached a roadblock… albeit probably mental, but successful in stopping me in my tracks and chipping away at my confidence.
Taking a break from derby September-February was the best and worst thing I’ve ever done. I needed the break. I was wore out and burned out on the tough travel schedule we faced last season. I needed some time to recollect myself, to focus on some other areas of my life that needed attention.
But I missed it. I missed my girls, my family. I needed the stress relief and the outlet that skating provides to my mental health. The physical health benefits as well… its amazing how quickly you lose “it”.
Coming back felt great…. I felt like this being my 3rd year playing, things would finally “click” more for me. I know its a constant fight… pushing the limits, pushing the comfort levels to be the best skater I am capable of being. But first contact in, and I took a brutal hit to the knee during a drill, most likely worsened by the fact that my supporting muscles are weak and not able to protect my knee as well, and all of that confidence is gone.
As a jammer, I realize that a very large and very real percent of derby is a mental game. Its a game that tests not as much your ability to knock others down, but YOUR ability to get back up. I’ve been working a grueling 7 day-a-week, 75 hour work schedule, with my only other free time devoted to skating. But as much as I NEED to skate, when I enter the rink, I’m already mentally tired. I want to forget about all the tasks looming before me and focus nothing more than derby. Somehow, that’s not happening.
After my little knee snafu at the beginning of February, we pushed right into scrimmages. I felt like a baby giraffe, and the knee was compounding the problem. Lined up on the jammer line, and promptly got stuck in the pack, time-after-time-after-time. Mentally, I wanted to make excuses for myself: the teams are lop-sided, we have a lot of newbies, I’m easing back into it to guard my knee, etc.
But the reality is that I’m mentally out-of-shape. I’m letting each of those failed attempts at getting through the pack eat away at my confidence. I’m allowing myself to let fear and self-loathing affect how I skate. It changes the way I approach the pack, it stops me from trying to get around that stubborn blocker. And the worst part is, its mental and the only person I have to blame is myself.
I left practice last night after a particularly frustrating scrimmage wondering if I am not ready to be out there yet. No exercise can help with mental struggles– its an internal problem that only I can overcome. But I began feeling like my super-low confidence and mental strength may be putting myself at risk for even more injuries, like I’m a walking accident waiting to happen.
I want this year to be the best… I want to grow as a skater. I want so bad to be a valuable asset to this team. But right now, I just want to crawl into my little hole and stay there for awhile.
What do you do to get mentally tough? What pulls you out of the derby-funk haze?
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