[note: this session happened almost 2 weeks ago as I have unfortunately been ill, so it isn’t the most complete write-up it should have been]
Tonight’s warm-up consisted of laps, lunge and side lunge, wall sit, plank and push-ups. We also did the partner push again. This time I paired up with Sleaze Irwin, we were both puffing at the end of it. I actually really like this exercise (despite it being really difficult if you get a good partner) and I suspect it’s why my triceps were aching the following day,
Once we geared up and did some more warm-up laps on wheels, we practiced falls and stops. On a single and double whistle we did knee-taps and double knee falls respectively (White Stars did baseball slides and 180 knee falls), then we practiced T and plow stops ( while White Stars did tomahawks/ transitions).
Next we tried pace lines for the second time. Turns out we suck hard at actually keeping pace (no real surprise there), so we bunch up and spread too far out at the same time, and people still automatically avoid the person cutting through the line which then causes more bunching. MOAR PRACTICE! The idea is that everyone skates in a line, one arm-length from the person in front (you can’t hold on to them and you don’t need to keep your arm out, but you should be able to reach out and touch them any time). The person at the back of the line then weaves through the pace line, calling ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ as they make their passes. The line itself should continue at the same pace with the same spacing, and the weaver joins the front of the line when they finish their pass. Our reality is we end up with the first 1-3 people a meter or two ahead, a bulge of people in the middle, and then when we try to close the gap people run into the back of the other skaters, the line bulges out again and we have no clean gaps.
Next we split up, as the White Stars were working on skills for their Yellow Star tests the following week (jumping and single-foot weaving). Freshies worked on single-foot glides, as they are the basis to T stops, transitions and of course you get knocked off balance a lot in derby so you need to be able to skate and recover on one foot! We lined up at one end of the track in pairs, we had most of the apex to build momentum and then we had to glide on one foot from the start of the straightaway. I I aaaaaalmost did a full lap (on each foot!), I just ran out of steam at the end of the second straightaway as I entered the second apex each time.
Next up was weaving through cones. Our cones were set about a meter apart, and we had two sets since there were so many of us. Because my slalom technique was working well, weaving was pretty easy at this distance, so I gave it a go on one foot. I was better with my right than my left, the hardest part was being unable to push (since one-foot is a glide) so I kept running out of momentum about 2/3 of the way through. But then the faster you start, the harder it is to manage the turns! I made it through the whole way once or twice on each foot, and did a lot more where I had to touch-down in between (some for momentum, some for balance, some to stop because I had caught up to the person in front of me).
A much-awaited drill: we practiced hitting target zones, first on knees then fiiiinally on skates! We did it in pairs and not at full ball, just so people could get used to the idea of hitting and being hit, and how it felt doing it on wheels (instead of kneeling on the ground which is a very different dynamic).
We also worked on communication and teamwork, forming groups and walls as our trainers called out numbers (ie. call 3, form groups of 3 etc). We finished up the night with a Truck and Trailer drill, pushing this time. My group had a few people who weren’t too confident on skates still but they did really well. We did however have an epic stack that brought down the whole group at one point (I was in front so I’m not sure who lost it first, but the girl behind me kicked my legs out under me and the whole train went down like dominoes. I’m just glad we someone managed not to land on each other’s skates or legs!). At one point I also lost half my group while I was pushing (one girl needed to sit out, but somehow 3 out of the 6 broke away?), but they were able to form up again while I just kept going.
The Circle of Lurby was pretty awesome tonight. For starters, I received lurby from Sleaze for our partner push in warm-ups, from my hitting partner for being fun to practice with, and from Indigo Slayer for truck and trailer (she literally just started learning to skate when she signed up for derby, I am so proud of how much she has accomplished in the last month). We also had a derby wife proposal too, with rings and a bent knee and everything! Apparently your derby marriage is only valid if you do it in front of the league haha.