We are the few, the proud, the derby playing ladies (and gents). We pride ourselves on our ability to be intimidating and tough competitors. We do things on skates that our fans, family and friends idolize; but what is most notable out on the track is attitude. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned derby veteran or a freshly drafted cadet, how you handle yourself on the rink speaks a great deal to your character. This is ESPECIALLY true when you are having an off day.
How easy is it to be positive and motivating when you’re kicking @$$ and feeling indestructible?! Devastating opponent’s walls while jamming, making the other teams jammers furious by recycling them to the back of the pack and being ‘the problem’ while blocking. Heck, I’m pumped up and motivated just envisioning myself in those situations! But what happens when it’s one of those days? Those dreaded days or moments when everything you fear comes true. Your skates aren’t cooperating, your body hurts, your mind knows what to do but it isn’t happening, and everything you practiced will just NOT work no matter how hard you try. I could go on and on, but what matters is, how do you handle it?
Are you visually frustrated? Yelling at refs, skaters, even coaches? Accidentally offending teammates instead of giving constructive criticism?
Truth is, THIS is when your team needs you the most. The precedent you set when you are in a funk attests to what type of skater you choose to be! This is what defines you as either an asset, or a ‘negative-Nancy’. Every time I feel myself getting sucked into the negative vortex of no return I challenge myself to do the following:
- Admit it. This one little step is HUGE! Today may not be your day, this drill/jam/scenario may be your kryptonite but that is OK! Everyone runs into this at some point or another, however, admitting it lets us move past the mental block slowly consuming our thoughts and emotions like a black hole of derby death.
- Find something, ANYTHING, that’s working well and focus on that. Because hey, that one thing you’re doing ROCKS!
- Be a good teammate. Don’t let your off day become someone else’s. Own it and control it. How you act under stress and pressure says more than you know to your team AND others around you.
- Find a way to reduce off days from happening in the future. Maybe you need to stretch more before practice or bouts, eat healthier, say yes to more practice opportunities, do off skate’s workouts etc.
Finding beneficial take-a way’s from a less than ideal time is a way to actively TRY to fix it! So on the days I’m falling A LOT, jamming through the pack as slow as a turtle running through molasses on a cold winter day, or blocking a jammer about as successfully as an old western swinging saloon door, I challenge myself to smile and be the best teammate I can be. I have the power to make sure my off day doesn’t affect anyone else; and being a great teammate, that’s something I can be proud of.
So you had an off day? I challenge you to take that as an opportunity to grow, and guess what? Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to CRUSH it!