So I’ve been skating now for four months. I feel more confident on wheels and am learning new skills such as crossovers, transitions, and lateral moves. All of these seem completely out of reach until I realise that I’m doing them. Okay they may be clumsy and slow but my feet (and body) know what to do, it’s now all about perfecting the technique and getting faster.
The best thing about being a Derby Girl is the relationship I’m building with my team mates. There is no better feeling that actually learning a new skill and before you’re off the track several people have noticed and congratulated you.
Our team of Rookies have people at several levels but one thing we all have in common is sharing in each other’s achievements.
Part of passing minimum skills is being able to skate round the track 27 times in 5 minutes. This is 11.11 seconders per lap on average. One of our Rookie batch, Michelle, did this recently and it was absolutely fantastic to see her achieve this. We were all screaming at the end, willing her to go that bit faster and hit the target and she nailed it. Michelle – you’re amazing!
But it’s not all fast skating. Derby skills are just as much about working as a pack and being able to play the game as they are about learning to skate. This is where I take a sharp left out of my comfort zone and being to wonder what I’m doing… Working as a pack means that you need to communicate, loud and clear, (ok I don’t have a problem with that bit) and make sure that you and the pack are working together. You need to be able to avoid obstacles in your path such as downed skaters and make sure that you not only build a strong wall but that you are working on offence as well as defence.
Now as Rookies we are learning this slowly and safely. Playing Daisy (a low contact and slow version of a scrim) with the rest of our team mates does help. Except for one thing; I have discovered I cannot play and listen at the same time. So if I commit a penalty and am called on it, I have absolutely no idea that the Ref’s are talking to me. Luckily the team are on hand to point this out as well as giving us other advice when we play – such as arm positioning and other aspects that we need to learn to be able play a clean and legal bout.
Derby isn’t something you can learn in a week, or a month.
Derby is a way of life.