The mental game of roller derby: fear of success

We lost last night to the Missfits 140-93 and while it was a disappointing loss, it was a fun game to play! I came away from it somewhat unscathed, but two of my teammates did not. Thankfully, their prognosis is favourable and we should see them on the track soon!

On another note, this marked another successful game for me, scoring 58 of the 93 points for my team. I’m thankful for the very hard work by our amazing blockers to help me accomplish that.

I should be proud of myself, and I am…

But at the same time, it scares the shit out of me.

When I joined derby my intention was to merely be a cog in the wheel that contributes to the overall productiveness of the team.

However this ‘streak’ I’m on… (Is it a streak when you’ve accomplished something twice? Sure, let’s go with that) …is bringing all sorts of apprehension and a new level of stress to my game head.

I see it time and time again in the NHL; a player gets on a performance streak and they get metaphorically hoisted on the shoulders of their team, media and fans.

If and when the streak ends, I’ve seen instances where the player gets immediately dropped on their ass.

“Thanks for coming out. But you’re not performing anymore so… Ummm… BYE!” And onto the next thing.

It brings a lot of questions into my head.

How does one maintain momentum when one is in a moment of success?
What if the success is a fluke?
How does one exude confidence without ego overruling?
How does one prepare themselves for an impending fall?

I don’t want to let my team down by setting high expectations for myself and not achieving them.

At the same time, if you aim low, that’s what you’re going to get.

How does one find that delicate balance of skill, confidence and ego?

No one tells you how much of a mental game roller derby is; from getting your game face on, to psyching yourself to lay hits, to coming back from an injury. Mix that in with the delicate balance of being competitive and having fun, it’s no surprise skaters can be really hard on themselves.

I suppose acknowledging that I had a couple good games and staying focused on my own goals is a good first step in creating a state of mindfulness to better myself and be the best that I can be for my team.

From there, I guess we’ll see where things go! 🙂 I’ll just take it one goal, one game at a time!

Game day again!

Today we are driving up to Wetaskiwin to take on the Missfits of Mayhem. It’s exciting to be playing 2 weekends in a row but I feel slightly guilty because I slacked a bit on my gym training to recoup from last weekend’s game.

I’m going in with a new set of goals and I’m happy my derby wife is at the wheel so I can focus on getting my game head in check!

If you’re in the Central Alberta area, why not come check out some derby action tonight?

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Progress from this summer…

Photo by Wendy Devent

Oct. 22, 2011
Deathbridge 160
Tar Sand Betties 91

Goals for this game…
Face walls
Watch the penalties
Take on the other jammer when necessary

What I accomplished…
Busted through some walls on my own
Only hit the penalty box once with accumulation 4 minors (5 minors total)
Fed the other jammer my ass a couple times

Bonus points for…
2 14-point power jams
Top scorer for the game with 67 points
Strategy head

Feeling cautiously optimistic with my progress…
Now to keep building on it!

This weekend we take on the Missfits of Mayhem, a team we faced one year ago. It will be interesting to see how we’ve changed in our game play!

It’s game day, friends!

It’s early for me to be awake on a Saturday, but it’s normal I suppose given it’s game day!

I’m really excited for tonight’s matchup against the Tar Sand Betties! Many of our players will be making their home-game debut as a Dame! And for others it’s their first game AS a Dame!

For me, I’ve set a couple goals for myself for this game which I will share post-game on how I did! But I’m mostly excited to get my speed on!

Come one, come all, Lethbridge. Tickets are available at the door!

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Three months to go! Let’s bring it!

What an amazing year this has been. Another 3 months have passed into my year of goals and looking back on my first posts on fitness and nutrition in January, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. It’s really quite fascinating, actually.

From my original list…

Fitness goals

Keep running

In my initial post my desire was to do a 6-minute mile come December. While I have no idea if I’m even close to this, running has become so much of a lifestyle that I’m getting up on my days off too go for a run, just because. WTF is wrong with me?? 😉

In August I competed in a 5k where I placed third in my division. I trained hard for that one, running at least 12k a week in preparation. After that race, I changed up my routine, now only doing 6k once a week in the coulees of my city (these aren’t tiny hills). I’ve worked up to being able to continue a running pace going up the hills without stopping. Go me! As the weather is turning I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up the pace. But I hope to!

Increase core strength

**Ahem** 5 minute plank. Yeh, I did that.

I really have to stress the values of a strong core to all roller derby players. The changes I’ve seen in my balance and stability have been huge! Suck it up, do those planks, do those situps. I don’t care if you can only do it for 5 seconds. It will make you a better skater in the end. Not only that but my core strength is balanced. I can hold a side plank on either side, where a few months ago my left side was extremely weak.

Work the pipes

A couple of weeks ago I was at the counter of the cafeteria where I worked and as I reached for my plate of food, my friend noticed my arm definition. She asked what my secret was… weights. Weights. More weights. And pushups.

The new fitness plan that I started at the end of August has been focusing specifically on upper body strength. Three times a week I’m cursing and shaking and sweating because it’s the most challenging thing I’ve done without someone else there to keep me motivated. I’m seeing improvement and working up the ladder of free weights (Started at 8 lbs; up to 12lbs in each arm now, woot!).

Derby Goals

Have a penalty-free game

I think I’m going to throw this one out the window. While in the last three months I’ve improved with my penalty awareness and what I’m doing, there’s just some things you can’t control. However, I WILL focus on fewer track cuts. 🙂

Be a more aggressive jammer

Thanks to Stitch Rip Her hitting me off the line, trying to force me out of bounds every time we faced each other in the last scrimmage I played in, I’ve come to realize it’s not necessarily about being more aggressive, but using hits strategically to put you in a better position; whether that means knocking a jammer out-of-bounds before entering the back of the pack, or stomping through a wall at the front to get me out. This last month I’ve had some great “AHA” moments, mixing jamming, hitting and strategy. It’s a good thing! 🙂

Knock a bitch down

Within these last three months I’ve learned to trust my skates and edges WAY more than I ever have. With that confidence has come greater speed and timing, which is what girls like me count on to deliver those crushers. It’s coming along!

Jump the apex

Myself and Bones O Fury are working up to this. I admit, I have an inner fear. I’m timid. I’m unsure. And even watching my coach do it over and over again, I just can’t get takeoff, air time and landing to all mesh at once to complete one legally. BLAAAAH This one’s taking more time than I thought.

Backwards crossovers

Check! Always room for improvement, but I can do them pretty instinctively now.

Fast tomahawks

Check! Sometimes I over-rotate, but I got them!

Toestop running

I know you can be a great derby player no matter your gear, but OMFG I love my gumball toestops. Again, always room for improvement, but I’m definitely confident!

Enjoy the ride

Even mixed with some frustration, every day I’m thankful for what derby brings in friendship, knowledge and fitness.

In the last 3 months, I’ve added some derby goals…

Knee position, weight distribution & transfer, body position, edging. I’ve been really focusing on these this month since realizing how upright my lower body was when I skated. Every practice I’m integrating my own edging drilling and stretching to improve this. I’m happy to say after doing some tight outside edges at practice last night, I’m seeing tons of improvement.

Keeping my chest up as I enter the pack.

Maintaining speed going into the pack.

Nutrition Goals

These were my initial goals set back in January…

• Eat breakfast – even if it’s a slice of dry toast, eat SOMETHING

I’ve been eating breakfast every morning for about 2 months. And GOOD breakfast’s too… oatmeal with fresh fruit or homemade smoothies and whole wheat toast.

• Replace my favourite sugar/salty snacks with trail mix

I have my days where I emotionally down a cup or two of sour gummies, but have basically cut out all my extra snacking. On top of that, I’ve switched to black coffee and am no longer depending on the morning cream and sugar fixed I needed in coffee.

• Replace pop with cranberry juice, energy drink or water.

I can’t remember when I last had pop. I don’t even really drink juice (unless in a smoothie) or energy drink either.

• Drink at least 3 bottles of water a day.

I probably drink 2-3 litres of water a day now.

• Cut out alcohol.

I don’t desire it or crave it but will drink it on special occasions.

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So all-in-all I feel I’m right on track with all my goals. It’s a really good feeling! I haven’t remained focused like this with such a long-term goal in like, ever. The team is coming into it’s busiest season yet, playing four games from now until December. It will be an interesting time to see if I can keep everything balanced.