First night with the big kids!

Now that bootcamp is over, we’re now allowed to join in with the all-league training on Tuesday nights.

We get the court at 7:30 sharp, so we all arrived 10 minutes early and geared up with everything  except skates. Once the court was free we did laps (I walked, my knee is feeling a lot better and I was trying it without the brace tonight, but I also didn’t want to push it too early), then made a circle and played Duck Duck Goose. It’s been a looong time since I played Duck Duck Goose and it took me a bit to remember the rules haha. I’m not a sprinter on my best day, so when I was tagged my hobbling-run was something to behold, but it was another Freshie (Oblivia/ Honey Badger) who tagged me and she took pity and let me catch her. And Refnarok tried to play cat and mouse when I tagged him haha. I sat out the second round though.

We then did some on-skates warm-ups; One-foot glide while rolling/ stretching other ankle, calf stretch on back wheels, kicking forward and back, glute stretch (raised leg across opposite knee), swinging arms in circles, then stretching arms/ shoulders down your center back and across front. The challenge of keeping balance while swinging arms and legs and skating on one foot was definitely interesting, and made even more so by the sheer number of people on the track!

For the first drill we tried to form a pace line, but there were too many people (a total of 58 on skates, our circle was as big as the track!). Today was blocking 101,  so instead we did shoulder checks (practicing squatting then popping up in a ‘J’ movement while skating forward) then hip checks (a short, sharp and explosive movement, maybe with a stomp as you move in close). Some of the Yellow and Orange stars practiced against each other as they skated around, the rest of us tried against the pads (kindly held by B-Rad and Terrorsmackdal), or just on our own to practice the explosive movement and keeping balance.

Next up, was a 2-blocker drill, with a third skater as a jammer trying to get through/ around the 2 blockers while they wall, truck-and-trailer, juke etc to keep her back. I jammed against a couple of more experienced skaters so I pushed myself a bit (jammers were meant to ‘play dumb’ since it’s a blocker drill) and managed to get past them a couple of times. Miss MeOww gave me some tips with my derby stance while we waited in the line for another go, then I blocked with her against UltraViolence.

We were going to practice C-turns (for zig-zagging the track) but one of the Freshies (Alakazam) had a bad fall so we cut it short. It was a hot, muggy evening and the floor was slippery, it was the second stack of the evening, Spac Cadet had slipped early on but had come out OK. Ally unfortunately now has a fractured ankle, which makes 3 broken bomes since I started 😦

We also did jammer vs wall-of-4. This drill concentrates on teamwork and being aware of your surroundings and communicating it to your wall, all while holding the inside (and outside!) lines. There was lots of wheel-clipping! I blocked first then jammed, loads of fun. Cin-Switch (one of our refs) pulled me aside after I jammed to say good job, but to watch my target zones; because I’m so broad, when engaging a smaller skater it’s easy for me to accidentally hit in an illegal area as well and get pulled up on a back-block.

And just like that the night was over. Lots of people meant lots of waiting for drills, but it was super-fun and a great learning experience. Plus the queues gave us Freshies a chance to talk to the experienced skaters and sponge as much knowledge as possible! My biggest lesson for the night is that I need to do more squats and lunges, so I can get lower and stay low in derby stance and make a more effective wall with my shorter team-mates.

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