I was running late tonight, I arrived halfway through warm-up in time to join in for planks, push-ups and crunches. My push-ups were pretty sucky thanks to the cold I’ve had all week. We also did some hitting while standing in street shoes, which is a waaay different dynamic to kneeling (as I thought). It’s much more readily apparent how hard it is to can-opener someone a foot shorter than me when standing, kneeling removed some of the height difference. I really need to build up my thighs more so can stay lower for longer, especially as being taller means I have a larger target zone too be hit in!
Once again I was one of the first people ready, so I took advantage of the mostly-empty court to practice crossovers while skating laps. I’m getting there, I can do it but not 100% evenly and consistently. Once the space started getting more crowded I practiced doing short-distance plow stops at speed; if I crash into T-Ref again I want it to be on purpose!
Tonight marked halfway through bootcamp, it’s only 4 weeks from Sunday until we undertake our star testing! Because Fang had missed a couple of sessions, she wanted to check out our stops and falls, so we lined up long one wall and one by one we showed her our T stops (both feet), plow stops, and single knee falls (both legs). Doing it one by one in front of everyone was also practice for us for testing, since you will have to perform while everyone watches then too. We did the T stops first and she commented that most of us were standing almost upright rather than crouching properly in derby stance. After that I think everyone was much more conscious of soft knees (or at least I know I was!).
We then tried hitting while standing on skates. I fell over multiple times. Standing still on skates is hard enough on its own sometimes, let alone when trying to shoulder or hip check someone! I paired up with Tiger Embalm, who is a good, solid sort of fellow. We then had a go at doing it while skating slowly, which was much better! It was still awkward (especially since everyone is much lower than me so I have to be careful about hitting only legal target zones!) but it will come with practice. The main thing is balance, not just taking the hit but also the act of giving one will also throw you off balance, so like everything I need lots more practice! We weren’t really trying to knock each other over this time, but the few times we came close it was more due to clipping wheels than the actual hits.
We moved on to the main track and again we lined up along one end, and one by one we did one-foot glides around the track. We had a bit of a run-up if we wanted, then gliding from the jammer line for at least the straightaway and apex (if you could), then skate around to the jammer line again and do it on the other foot while Fang watched.
Walls and waterfalls again (skating in formation and holding the inside line), then we started practicing tactics (T up, T down, Chaos) and pivot voices. In groups of 4, one of us would be designated the pivot (in my group that was me) and when the whistle blew we had to call an instruction to our group. T up and T down means three form the wall and the 4th person moves in front (up) or behind (down), with the idea being that when a jammer is coming up, the 4th person will back-up the wall so that the opposing jammer has to break through two layers of people instead of just one, slowing her down and also exhausting her. Chaos is a step up on the Waterfall, where all 4 skaters are weaving and juking with no discernible pattern but always holding the inside line. This can mean that the person on the inside will physically grab the skater beside and drag them to the inside line as they move away. This was fun, although my group was having difficulty holding a straight wall so for me the whistles were too close together for us to do what I consider ‘proper’ formation. The whistle would blow, I would call which formation and who was to take which position, people would move in the general direction indicated but it was slow and loose and I would try and get them to tighten/ straighten up when the whistle would blow again and we were supposed to move into a different formation.
We finished the night with Truck and Trailer, hooray! We formed groups of 5 and were told to push 2 laps each. I was the final person in my group and I pushed 3 because after having had a crappy week of being sick and stressed I was on an endorphin high and Truck and Trailer is my favourite drill. We went to fall into the middle of the track as we were the first group to finish, and got yelled at and told to go again, this time pulling one lap each. Again I was last to pull in my group, and I did 2 laps while trying to get Fang’s attention to find out what was next, but sadly our time was up so it was warm-down laps anti-derby, and then Circle of Lurby. I received lurby from Tiger for our hitting, his exact words were “You beat me up and I’m going to tell my mum!”, and also from my drill groups for both waterfalls and the Truck and Trailer <3.