Fridays and Sunday nights are quickly becoming my favourite parts of the week. Once again we warmed up and started on the single basketball court while the Rep team used the track. Warm up consisted of laps, lunges, a 30sec wall-sit, a 30sec plank, and then we practiced derby stance by holding a squat over a chair; you had to ‘sit’ low enough in stance to just hover above the seat without actually touching it. I made the guy next to me laugh by grumbling about hobbit-chairs, but I did it, although my thighs then needed some time to recover afterwards!
Then we got to learn some new drills, hooray! The first one was called ‘If You Can Dodge a Wrench’ and was designed for agility and fast feet. In a small group, you form a circle (3-4m across) with one person in the center. The outside people then take turns trying to hit the person in the middle with a ball (or, for extra motivation, a wadded-up stinky scrim shirt) while the person in the circle tries to juke, weave and shuffle out of the way without falling over or skating out of the circle. We didn’t have a ball so we used the small cones marking out our temporary track. You’re only supposed to use 1 ball (or cone), but we got a bit excited and ended up picking up nearby leftover cones and ended up with 5 or so at one point, which was entertaining but mostly just proved our inability to throw with any sort of accuracy rather than the agility of the people in the circle. Still, highly entertaining and only a couple of falls as everyone took a turn!
Second new drill was for endurance titled Hurry Up Bitch. The idea is that you partner up; one person skates laps while the other does some sort of exercise i the middle of the track. The sooner they finish their laps, the sooner you get to stop doing whatever the exercise is (and you swap over), hence the title. Normally it’s done with a set number of laps (20, 10, 5), but ince we’re Freshies ranging from complete beginner to ‘OK’, we went by time instead. First, 30 seconds of laps/ planking, then 1 minutes of laps/ push-ups, then 1 minutes of laps/ hip raises. The hip raise was interesting, especially with a few kilos of skate attached to your feet: you lie on your back, legs straight up in the air, and use your lower abdominal to lift your hips/ butt off the group without swinging your legs.
I am also pleased to report that my ability to slalom was not a complete fluke, and I was able to repeat it easily as we did laps. I need to build up the muscle to allow me to do it for longer periods of time, but that’s true of pretty much everything related to derby. Finally, we all got numbered and took turns practicing our ‘pivot voices’ as we skated laps. It was interesting, we called in various orders (forwards, backwards, evens, odds etc) and so because people were concentrating on listening for their turn instead of worrying what their feet were doing, everyone actually sped up and we had no falls.
Finally the track was clear so we started practicing crossovers. Fang, Wicked and T-Ref gave us a great demo about what the upper body should be doing (inside shoulder drops, outside shoulder comes forward, chest turns inwards and you look past the corner a full 90*) which gave me a breakthrough moment. While concentrating on my upper body I did a full lap of the track with perfect crossovers, and then immediately went ‘Holy shit I did a crossover!’, overthought it on the next apex and stacked it in right front of the rep team who were packing up their stuff *facepalm* Fail. Bright side though, I fell in a baseball slide which we haven’t actually been taught yet (?). Thank you Youtube tutorials.
We finished the evening with a game of Hotdog Tag. We had two people as ‘It’, and when tagged you do a knee fall (when safe) and lie on the track face-down until two more people join you as your ‘bun’ to set you free. Lots of fun and a great way to practice knee falls, obstacle avoidance and getting up quickly. I was pretty tired by this point so some of my falls were a bit messy (spinning around or falling forward), but I didn’t actually run into anyway which is always a plus. I had someone skid into me while doing a knee fall and they tripped and landed fully on top of me, which thankfully we just hilarious rather than painful. Final warm-down was laps anti-derby which, after 2 hours of training in the right direction, just felt so weird.