Out on the interwebs, the theme among most roller derby skaters is simple this time of year: TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN.
If there really is such a thing as a derby off-season, January probably is the closest thing you’ll find. Admittedly, this skater took to the couch for most of the holiday season, and for various reasons, only just returned back for week one training. (Slacker! Yes, I know…)
In any case, one of the big things I’ve read many teams (including DDG) are doing is to document your personal short-term and long-term goals.
I’ve got one main goal this year… skate with a vengence.
I started last year not being able to skate at all. I got beat up one side and down the other. I learned. I paid attention. I hustled. I skated every chance I got. I was overlooked often. I flew under the radar. And by the end of the year, I felt like I had fought the hard fight to have my skates underneath me finally.
But 2010 is the year where I will NOT go unnoticed.
My short-term goals:
- Really improve agility. Step, step, step, step! I want my skates to be as natural as shoes underneath me. I want to be able to move in every imaginable direction quickly and gracefully. I picked up some fancy-pants footwork drills on one of my many guest-skating practices, and its really been helpful to me. I can practice during open skates even. Just quickly switching all different directions from left-right, backwards-forwards.
- Get LOW. I always thought I was skating in derby stance, until I see photos of me from bouts. Then I realize I look like a Redwood Tree…. standing TALL and UPRIGHT. Bad deal! So, my immediate goal is to get down, get low, and STAY there. That’s going to require some core strengthening, as my lower back is already feeling my lower stance attempts. (Photo Caption: TIMBER! How to skate like a tree 2009 edition NO MORE.)
- Bootay blocking perfection. I realized midway through last season that I wasn’t effective as a blocker the way that I was taught. I am not built the same way, and cannot deliver near the blow that many of my DDG teammates can with a shoulder block. So, I honed in on the swooping-bootay block. A quick cut across the track and a snap of the bootay, and away they go. I’ve managed it in practice a few times, but need to get better at applying it on different surfaces. Seems slicker tracks and faster, more jumbled packs are very difficult for me to setup naturally. I need to practice quicker cuts and setting up in more congested packs.
And the long-term goals:
- Speed/Endurance. I’m off to a decent start here, but not nearly All-Star jammer worthy. The goal for All-Star jamming is 18 laps in 2 minutes. I’d also like to do 5 laps in under 40 seconds. Right now, I feel my physical endurance is okay, but my back aches pretty badly around minute 3 of the 5 minute drill and I can’t stop hacking a lung afterwards. Translation: Core, Core, Core and some breathing exercises to help with the cold air and exertion.
- Mental Game. I spent the entire Regional tournament studying the mental game of derby. If there is one thing that I learned in 2009, it was the SMARTER team would prevail. I am really studying tactings and blocking strategy as well as game mechanics to increase my game attentiveness. Our jammer in the box? Speed up. Their jammer in the box? Slow down. I want the game to be second nature… something I don’t even have to think about, more reflex and reaction than thought out strategy.
- Score, Score, Score. Translate all of the above into a hard fought second whistle performance, and what my end result hopes will make me the go-to jammer for points scoring. I want to be the one who can get through the pack repeatedly, cleanly, and reliably. I want to be known for being fast and durable. I want to be the one my team can count on in a tight scoring, buzzer beater of a bout.
I’m only into week one of preseason training, but I plan on trying to document my personal goals and progress on a weekly basis. The only update I can give as of right now is that my slacker self left my skates in the trunk of my car during the holidays, which means that the cold/hot weather caused the leather to shrink and I am fighting a break-in period All. Over. Again. So not cool.
What about you? What are your training goals for 2010?