Funny how things just suddenly ‘click’

Last night was probably the best practice ever! The funny thing is, I went into it not feeling up for it, and other girls expressed the same lethargic emotions.

The reason practice was so good? We suddenly started thinking during scrimmage.

Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t been skating around in circles like mindless freaks these last few months, but have you ever watched 5-year-olds play soccer? It’s essentially organized chaos, where everyone chases after the ball, limbs flailing and kids scoring on their own net, but still celebrating.

That’s how we kinda were, except replace ball with jammer.

But last night, something clicked.

Blockers were creating offensive holes for their jammers by taking out other blockers. Jammers were communicating for help, and getting it. Walls were being built and walls were being broken.

Holy shit… we were working as a team!

Everyone felt it. And it was great.

*********

On a personal note…

I’m seeing huge improvements in my skill during scrimmaging. Finding holes as a jammer is coming easier for me now. Cutting the track and maneuvering through those holes with help from the team seem effortless.

As a blocker, I loved playing offense by taking out other blockers to create holes for my girl to go through. And I loved playing defense by building a wall with another gal and just getting in front of the other jammer. Being in the pack is getting way more fun as I understand the strategy more and more.

Other goals I met…

I fell correctly, every time. Even when I got pulled down from behind I shifted to my side as to not wreck my tail bone. My right hand, which is STILL on the mend, came away free from further injury.

I threw a full body, LEGAL hit. This is big for me, considering a few minutes prior to that I knocked someone in the face with an elbow, which means automatic major penalty and time in the box.

My endurance has vastly improved. I’m barely winded at the end of practice, which also tells me I need to push myself harder.

Win all around! Fuck I love this sport!

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Training Benchmarks

Time to get serious I suppose… I’ll be updating this as I complete benchmarks. Can’t do a lot of these until I’m on a proper track. Can’t wait to get started!

1 Basic Skating Skills
The skater must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

[ x ] Skating Posture

[ x ] Bends at knees and hips with shoulders back
[ x ] Swings arms fluidly

[ x ] Stride

[ x ] Has steady, confident, fluid strides
[ x ] Uses both feet to push forward on straight-aways

[ x ] Crossovers

[ x ] Performs smooth crossovers while skating at a brisk pace going into and coming out of turns
[ x ] Uses both feet to push during crossovers

[ x ] Speed and Endurance

[ x ] Skates 25 Laps around regulation track within five minutes (based on WFTDA regulation track)

[ x ] Stops
Skater must come to a complete stop from a brisk pace, using proper form and without losing her balance. Must be able to complete both stops effectively.

[ ] T-Stop
[ x ] Plow Stop

[ x ] Other skills

[ x ] Performs one-foot glides with each foot for the length of the straightaway with good balance.

[ x ] Skater must be in derby stance with one foot completely off the floor
[ x ] Skater maintains sufficient speed and does not flail limbs

[ x ] Has the ability to propel self while keeping all eight wheels on the floor
[ x ] Can move easily and fluidly from one side of the skating lane to the other
[ x ] Can perform smooth quick cuts, crossing the track at least three times on each straight-away and twice on each turn

2 Falls
Skater must perform the following falls safely, correctly, and naturally.

[ x ] Single Knee Falls

[ x ] Left
[ x ] Right
[ x ] Recovers from each fall without using hands to get up
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Double Knee Falls

[ ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Figure 4/Baseball Slide

[ x ] Both legs stay on or near the ground during the fall
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within three seconds

[ x ] Degree Turn Single Knee Fall

[ x ] Exhibits control to complete the fall in exact opposite direction
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Four point fall

[ x ] Hands are kept in front of the body, fingers closed into fists
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

3 Balance/Agility
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks without losing her balance or falling.
[ x ] Stepping from a standstill

[ x ] Forward and Backward
[ x ] Side to side in both directions

[ x ] Squatting
Skater achieves a 90 to 120 degree angle at the knee during each squat. Feet and knees are hip width or wider. Eyes look forward, chest is out and back is flat.

[ x ] Squats and coasts through the entire straightaway and turn
[ x ] Squats and propels self on straightaways and around turns

[ x ] Hopping

[ x ] Hops over an object at least 3 inches in height without touching the object or losing
balance while skating at a moderate pace

[ x ] Skater’s feet must leave the ground simultaneously, then land simultaneously

[ x ] Skater hops from one foot to the other while moving forward

[ x ] Focus

[ x ] Can look left, right, and behind quickly and unexpectedly while maintaining regular skating stride at a moderate pace

[ x ] Weaving

[ x ] Maneuvers through 10 cones placed six feet apart, covering both straight-aways and turns

4 Skating With Others
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally and safely while skating at a moderate pace.

[ x ] Whips

[ x ] Giving whips

[ x ] Giving inside whip
[ x ] Giving outside whip

[ x ] Receiving whips

[ ] Receiving inside whip
[ x ] Receiving outside whip

[ x ] Hip whips

[ x ] Giving hip whips
[ x ] Receiving hip whips

[ x ] Pushes

[ x ] Giving pushes
[ x ] Receiving pushes

[ x ] Pacing

[ x ] Skater adjusts to the variable speeds (decrease/increase) of a paceline, while maintaining an arms length distance between herself and the skaters in front of and behind her without falling, tripping, overtaking or running into another skater.

[ x ] Weaving Around Moving Obstacles

[ x ] Demonstrates weaving through a single-file line of moving skaters who are each an arm’s length apart.

[ x ] Unexpected Obstacles

[ x ] Skating within a pack of at least four other skaters who fall in front of the skater at various unexpected times. Skater must deal with the fallen skaters by avoiding or safely falling without hurting self or the fallen skater, and without causing an unnecessary hazard for any of the pack skaters.

[ x ] Leaning

[ x ] Skates while leaning shoulder to shoulder with another skater while maintaining an upright position and propulsion without tripping, falling, or becoming unsteady.

[ x ] Bumping

[ x ] Maintains or recovers balance, without falling, while being bumped into and having wheels bumped by other skaters.

5 Blocking
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally and safely while skating at a moderate pace.

[ x ] Taking Hits

[ x ] Responds safely (without flailing or grabbing other skaters, if falling, she falls safely, accurately, and small, without sprawling unnecessarily, and with 2 to 4 second recoveries) to repeated heavy hip checks and shoulder checks.
[ x ] Demonstrates the above in a pack situation, without causing an unnecessary hazard for pack skaters.

[ x ] Positional Blocking/Frontal Blocking/Stall Blocking

[ x ] Performs with good posture and without loss of balance or focus

[ x ] Checks
Performs checks with legal body parts delivered within legal blocking zones with moderate to heavy force while skating at a brisk pace.

[ x ] Hip checks

[ x ] Left hip
[ x ] Right hip

[ x ] Shoulder checks

[ x ] Left shoulder
[ x ] Right shoulder