Sunday, October 19, 2014

This is how I ROLE. What role do you play in your league?

 There are different roles in each league, and we all rotate through them at one time or another. Some of these roles are good ones to be in, but some are definitely pitfalls and should be avoided like the plague.


 1. The Bright Eyed Enthusiastic Newbie- Hopefully we all start out as the Bright Eyed Newbie! Newbies love derby, love going to all of the derby events, and have unbridled enthusiasm for all the derby things ever. They can be a little hard to swallow sometimes, if you're a weathered veteran, but they're good for the league and keep it going. Without bright eyed optimism, derby wouldn't exist.

2. The Chaperone- Anyone who has been a captain or on the board of directors in a league has felt like the chaperone on a school field trip. Does everyone have a buddy? Does everyone have their milk and snack? Did everyone go to the bathroom before we left for the trip? Did everyone make attendance? Did everyone do their volunteer work? Sometimes being the chaperone makes you crazy. It makes you not enjoy derby for a while, because you're always worried about someone not doing what they're supposed to be doing in the league. Smile chaperone, you were once one of the potential disasters.

3. The Hall Monitor- The Hall Monitor is always worrying about what everyone else is doing wrong or getting away with in the league. They watch the attendance sheet to make sure people have made attendance, know when people come in late to practices and exactly how much play time everyone gets compared to them. Being a hall monitor is tough on your psyche if you're always worried about what everyone else is doing, it's hard to concentrate on the positive things going on in your derby experience. If you constantly look for the negative in your league, you will find it; the one thing I've learned from writing my blog and having leagues contact me over the years is that there is no such thing as a perfect league. All leagues have issues, and it really depends on the season, and your particular point of view at the time.

4. The Cheerleader- Every league needs a cheerleader, and every league needs to know that the cheerleader may not be the best judge of skills. Cheerleaders always have something positive to say about everyone and everything. Their glasses aren't full, they're running over! Yea Derby!  If you're a cheerleader, you are essential for your league's spiritual health. Hooray! Just try not to blow too much smoke up people's asses. Some smoke is ok, and possibly necessary.

5. The Dodge Ball Coach- Some vets are like the coach from the Ben Stiller movie Dodge Ball. "If
I've been known to be the Dodge Ball coach.
you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball" style of advice and feedback comes from the Dodge Ball Coach, and sometimes it's a wee bit harsh to swallow; to be fair, the Dodge Ball Coach has probably forgotten more derby than most people have learned.  "When we learned how to hockey stop, they made us sprint at the wall full speed! That taught us how to stop in a hurry!" Yes, but how many people slammed into the wall? Actually, if you find yourself in the Dodge Ball Coach role, just remember that derby has changed, and mostly for the better. Have a sense of humor about surviving the crazy old times.

6. The Gifter- Some people in the derby world are just givers. They do crafts, they bake awesome foods and stuffs and they always remember a special occasion. I am in awe of the gifter, because I can barely remember my own birthday and I'm rarely able to think that far ahead and bring anything other than myself and gear to practice! Gifters always make me feel a little inadequate as a teammate. They just seem to be more in tune with people and social stuff than I am.

7. The Critic- The Critic has either been a leader in the league, or has never taken a position of authority, but BOY HOWDY do they have lots and lots of opinions! "You should have done this, or that." Critics like to criticize after a decision has been made, but rarely do they offer insight BEFORE the decision is made. If you're going to be in this role, please try to make suggestions before decisions are made; I know it's scary to offer the league an opinion that might be contrary to the leadership, but it's a good thing to speak up and share your ideas. I always get worried when a league doesn't allow people to express contrary opinions.

8. The Bleary Eyed Vet- The Bleary Eyed Vet is just trying to enjoy the remaining derby years she has left. She doesn't really want to learn new strategy, or skills; she wants to play the game she wants to play and have some fun while she finishes up her derby career. She can be a lot of good on a less competitive roster, but she can also be a detriment on a team trying to work on new strategies.

9. The Guest Star- I could have also called this role the "reoccurring character" but basically it's that league member who can't really commit to that many league practices at the moment. She pays her dues, does her volunteer duties, but can't really commit enough to make a roster. Everyone loves when she shows up, but we all know that it's not for good. Enjoy the Guest Star while she's there, but don't count on her for anything more than a few appearances.

10. The Martyr- My goodness, we've all been the martyr, haven't we?  "I do so much for this league and nobody appreciates it." I know I've been there, but leagues take a lot of work, and if you want to skate in a successful one, work has to get done. Unfortunately, when you find yourself in the Martyr position you are prime material for burning out. LEARN TO DELEGATE!!!!!! You can avoid martyrdom burnout if you aren't the one trying to do ALL THE JOBS EVER! Here's another thought, if you went around and asked most derby peeps who does a lot of work and gets no thanks in the league, many people would say "me!" It's all a matter of perspective.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

How far do you drive for derby?

Neuralize Her is a former CRG skater that moved away recently. I miss her terribly, but I'm excited that she and Glenn Hur have found a new home with the Big Easy Rollergirls. (You owe us bigtime, ladies. ;) ) Neura used to travel a LOT to come to our practices, and she asked me if she could share her experience in my blog. 

Honestly, if everyone was this dedicated to derby, just imagine the possibilities.

How far do you have to drive- or how far are you WILLING to commute to play roller derby?

When I moved from San Diego, CA to New Bern, NC I was faced with this very question...with a small league 40 minutes away but a more competitive WFTDA league about 2hours and 15minutes away, I thought I would settle for the closer, smaller, less competitive league.

After about 6 months more or less on the smaller league, and realizing that if I continued with them I would never have more than likely 5, and this was a BIG night, at a practice, I was ready for a change....and I decided to tryout for Carolina Rollergirls and to try the 2hr and 15min drive twice per week.

It definitely took some thought on my part. I wanted to know that it was doable and I figured it was because:
1. My boyfriend plays derby too and offered to drive so I could sleep in the car if I needed to
Driving
2. I am single
3. My job allowed me to leave work early once per week, sometimes twice, with a little bit of changing my schedule around.

Of course everyone's situation is different. Unfortunately, real life does trump roller derby...although sometimes I (we) maybe wish it didn't...

Are you in a similar situation? If you are considering driving a long distance to play roller derby you need to consider a few things:

1. Is your job flexible with your work schedule?
2. Do you have someone to share driving responsibility? Or maybe a skater bud you can stay at their house so you don't have to drive late at night or when tired?
3. Can you realistically make the attendance and league requirements with your schedule? How will you do this?
4. Are you ok with your life being solely dedicated to work and roller derby? You will likely need to sacrifice any sort of family.friends-outside-of-derby time to do this because of the travel distance.

So those are real ?s to ask yourself. It is doable, and I know I wouldn't be the skater I am today if I hadn't. I made the right decision for me because I love the sport and my team so much, but I know it may be a different story for others.
Photo by Joshua R. Craig

If you have more ?s please don't hesitate to email kgraebener@gmail.com

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Feeling the Pain: How I deal with the "Quit" word.

Every once in a while I have a weekend where I'm tired, possibly sick with a sinus infection, dealing with aches and pains, and aggravated with league duties. I probably have a couple of these moments a season (the season that lasts and lasts and lasts) but they absolutely suck when Division Play offs are on. Why you might ask? Well, I either become completely inspired by watching D1 and D2s, or I get frustrated by seeing all of the amazing skaters, and how far I have to go, and if I want to go that far.

I've been in derby since 2009, and this year I've had to wrestle with the question "why do I keep doing this?" several times. Derby is wonderful, frustrating, and exhausting at times, but eventually I will be hanging up my helmet to move on to a new adventure. Yes, I know that everyone gets into funks about derby and questions why they're still putting in the work to get their bodies beaten up and their free time devoured, but sometimes the questions are persistent, and become even louder than normal.

So. When I'm dealing with the question of staying on in derby, or going on to something else, I do a few activities to see just how much of a funk I'm actually in. It's a big decision, and it doesn't have to be made in one day. These activities I do help me figure out if I'm just being a moody pain in the ass, or I need to ponder things a little more seriously.

ACTIVITIES FOR SOUL SEARCHING

1. I draft my retirement letter to my league. Yeah, I know that a lot of people who leave this sport don't actually write a letter or email or whatever, but I will. I'd like to say goodbye to people and know that I'm leaving the league for my own reasons; people need closure, and I will write a letter when I actually do retire. Sometimes my drafts are funny, sometimes they're very emotional, and every once in a while I write a rant that's filled with some spiteful words about derby in general. The spiteful ones actually help give me perspective and let me vent, and since I know nobody else is EVER going to read them, at times they make me laugh at the ridiculous complaints I have. No, you may not read them.

2. I make a derby bucket list. This changes from season to season, and it's gotten shorter and shorter over the years too, which is the natural progression of things. I have been lucky enough to winnow my list down to five or six things I'd like to do. I'd still like to skate on a banked track, and I may have found a lead on that. I'm not sure if I want to actually play derby on one, especially after rewatching that ankle grinding injury from documentary Hell on Wheels, but skating on one would be awesome.

3. I watch awesome footage. D1s are a blessing and a curse to me when I'm feeling wonky about derby. I still get excited about derby, and watching other teams skate inspires me to try new things and come up with new drills and ideas for my league. It also can totally bum me out to see some of the most amazing players doing their thing out there. Yes, I'm talking about Scald Eagle this weekend. I'm not exactly sure if she's human, and I'm pretty sure I will never be that amazing. Today, she is inspiring me to get lower and cross train more, but who knows what I'll be feeling about her amazing skating next time I'm in a funk.

4. I look at my brag/swag wall. I know some players keep accomplishments from derby in a place in their houses, and I have a wall that keeps me motivated and reminds me of games I had fun playing. I also design posters for some teams, and I'm super proud of them; my accomplishments make me happy and proud of my derby career. I know it sounds braggy to have a wall like this in my house, but 1. I'm not very social, so it's mostly Mr. Q and myself who see it, and 2. it's healthy to acknowledge your accomplishments. It feels like women in general don't like to be seen as bragging about their accomplishments, but you should be proud of yourself. I'm proud of the tournament my team got to go to last year, I'm proud of myself for actually dragging my ass to Rollercon, I'm proud of each MVP I've ever gotten and I'm especially proud of my league awards. Eventually, I will redecorate my wall, and put these trophies and posters away, but right now they motivate me.

And yes, the question to stay or leave derby was especially loud this week, but I've answered it for now.




Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Eternal Struggle with Derby

Sometimes I see a really great post on Facebook and I ask the author to let me repost it on my blog. I think a lot of people who play derby need to read posts like this every once in a while. This lady has a lot of information to pass along, and you can read all about her in her bio. 

Barbara "Queen B" Dolan, one of the original members of the Windy City Rollers in 2004, created the new market category of Fitness Skating when she founded Derby Lite, LLC in 2007.  With over 25 weekly classes nationwide, Derby Lite brings the friends, fun & fitness of roller derby to women 18-75 by teaching them to skate and providing a new way to exercise that’s never boring.  Queen B, 51, lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her partner Ben, their sons Levi, 15, and Drew, 12, dog Fido, cat Francey Pants (yes, named after *that Francey Pants), and an endless parade of foster kittens.





Barbara "Queen B" Dolan, President & Founder, Derby Lite, LLC. Robyn Davis photographer
Having been in derby for over 10 years and a member of this [the Derby Over 40 Facebook] group since its inception, one repeating theme I see is "I'm hurt/tired/disgruntled but I don't want to quit."  

Photo by Brigette Supernova
First, a little brain lesson:  Roller Derby - especially all the awesome stuff you experience when first joining - is creating new neural pathways in your brain.  They're fast, smooth, new roads directly to your pleasure centers.  Dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin are flowing through your system on a regular basis.  It’s like falling in love!  And when accompanied by adrenaline, experiences are even more permanently and vividly imprinted on your brain… that's not a dirt road you've forged, that's a monorail! 

In simple terms:  We're addicts.  One part of our brain has learned that derby makes us feel gooooood.  "DON'T STOP!"  But over time, for most of us, there's another part (logic? reason? fear? menopause? finances?) that says, "This might be a good time to stop."  Care to guess which part is usually affected by traumatic brain impact?  The voice of reason.  (But that’s beside the point.)

Changing strong behavioral pathways is hard.  Just *thinking* about changing them is hard – our brain can resist its own thoughts (ponder that for a moment).  But the good news is humans can use tools – including advice from peers, like this group – that improve our reasoning abilities.  The ability to make choices contrary to what might be the easiest/most fun/instantly gratifying makes us human.  Hooray for the evolved brain!

And that’s the thing:  There doesn’t need to be an existing road for you to head that way.  The brain creates new pathways merely by thinking/doing something enough.  Derby was an unknown to your brain – a destination on the other side of a dense forest – until you started going there enough that the road changed from a two-rut dirt path to your sexy sleek monorail.  Even the stink of pads and the bruises on your body triggered a little zip along that line to the part of your brain that registers rewards.

But at some point, for many people, those stinky pads, bruises, aches & pains, money constraints, relationship issues… all the stuff that’s not *really rewarding, start to add up.  Think of them as stops along your monorail.  The train keeps traveling that road but it’s not a smooth trip anymore.  Some of those stops start creating their own new roads because you’re spending so much time there.  The original destination – our derby brain, yelling “DON’T STOP!” – remains loud… it got used to the dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin and adrenaline and wants more (hello derby addict).  But “This might be a good time to stop” gets louder every day.

The good news is:  You were able to forge new pathways in your brain when you started derby... you can forge new ones again.

The first step is acknowledging that the stops along your pleasure train are starting to make the ride less enjoyable.  That’s usually what prompts these posts. 

The next step is deciding what pleasure you’re still getting from your derby destination.  Is it the challenge of strategy?  The power of impact blocking?  The social connections?  Make a list.
And then list the things that are not working for you:  Late bedtimes (because you have to work early), bad diet (because you have no time to shop/prepare/eat), money woes (because you’re expected to socialize and travel, or have big medical bills from a serious injury), or pain.  Sometimes just the daily ache-o-meter is enough to say ENOUGH.

And then start listing your options.  People on this board always have great suggestions for what we can do after we are no longer fully in love with the original derby destination.

In my case, I loved the women I skated with.  I loved how fit and strong my body was, and I loved getting out of the house and doing something just for ME when I had a five- and two-year old at home.  Over time, I didn’t love the injuries I was seeing happen to my teammates and I didn’t love the time obligation.  And the ache-o-meter on my 42-year old body (which had never participated in a sport before) was stuck in the red zone.  I knew I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing, but in 2006 there weren’t many options for somebody who wanted to keep skating but not be on a competitive team or go in endless circles at a roller rink.  So I forged my own road.  I created Derby Lite as a purely selfish means to keep doing something I loved, but with a format that works for me.  Turns out, it works for lots of other ladies, too… and what started as a way for me to keep skating, stay fit and spend time with awesome women became a business.  (What’s that about ‘do what you love’?)
[Sidebar:  I always feel a little advertisey when somebody posts about their stop/don’t stop conundrum and I mention Derby Lite.  It’s as much about sharing the love of what we’re doing as giving you another option that might fit your needs better, and providing the link makes it easier for those who don’t know what DL is, to find out.  I try not to be obnoxious about it.]

So – after you’ve figured out what you do love, what you don’t love, and what options there are to align the two – map a new road.  Choose a new destination – even if it’s on the other side of a dense forest – and start heading there. 

Change your thinking and you change your brain pathways.  It doesn’t always happen fast, but you can do it.  You can transition away from that which no longer serves you.  Today, at the glimmer of autumnal equinox, we have the perfect time for this reflection.  You’ve sown all summer and now it’s time to harvest.

And tell your brain to pipe down.  YOU’LL be the boss of you, thankyouverymuch.

www.rolloutfitness.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Are you a frustrated B team player?

Being a B team player is a mixed bag at best. I was on our Bootlegger team for a really long time, and I both loved and hated it at times. I mean, being a Bootlegger was some of the highest highs I've ever had in derby, as well as the lowest lows. Sometimes I miss being on our league's B-team, because those games can be truly magical and pure derby. There is no pressure for rankings, and generally the pressure level is lower than with sanctioned games, but even then, it can be completely frustrating to play on the B team.

The natural evolution of a b-teamer usually runs from just being happy to be on a more competitive
My B-team tattoo
team, to being a competent player on the roster, to being a stand out player on the roster. When you start making waves on the B team, you might catch the eyes of your A team captains, and get invited to train up with your A team. And here is where things can get a little frustrating for the B-teamer.

Yes, you read that correctly. The problems start when the advanced B-teamer starts training with the A team. The B-teamers learns to work with higher level skaters, figures out strategies and plays and then has to go back and play with the B team again, where the abilities of the skaters to understand strategy will not be on par with the A team.  It can be incredibly frustrating to be someone who has learned to use a certain strategy the rest of the team doesn't know.

I experienced this after a couple of years in derby; I was learning strategies that I wanted the B team to use, but since the B team has such a wide range of skill levels, and sometimes a giant range of commitment levels, it can be hard to remind yourself that not everyone is able to  and remain calm. I ended up getting seriously frustrated with my fellow B-teamers, and at times I probably came across like a giant asshole when I yelled at someone or let my frustrations be known to my team, especially if we were scrimmaging against the A-team. I know I did not want to be a jerk on the track, but derby sometimes has ways of pushing all of those asshole buttons you try to keep to yourself, doesn't it?

If you find yourself in this situation, how can you deal with it?

1. Keep your cool. First of all, if you can't control your temper, you're not doing yourself any favors as a player, and you're definitely not doing your team any favors either. Take a deep breath, center yourself, and accept that playing with the B team isn't going to go the same way as playing with the A team.

2. Don't try to herd all of the cats. Just because you have more experience, doesn't mean you can control every player on the track. Don't even try. Work with your walls and line ups, and play your best. You can't be effective as a player if you're trying to micromanage your teammates.

3. Don't be condescending. Nobody wants to play with a condescending dick head. That's just a fact, and even if you express your frustrations to the A team and not the B team, you're going to look like a jerk. Don't do it. Smile. Have fun, and enjoy yourself. You love derby, otherwise you wouldn't be sacrificing all of that time and effort to do it. Every game is an opportunity, whether it be for the A or B teams.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Interview with the possible makers of Jolt Sensor.

Last week, I was contacted by Seth Berg, who is looking to create a sensor for head injuries; he's got a kick starter campaign here. I know, I know, I sound like a broken record with head injury issues, but as our game progresses, I've seen more and more head injuries bench amazing players. Slowly, we're adapting; people are wearing certified helmets, and leagues are putting policies in place that help players identify when they have a head injury and keep them from playing during an incident. We still have a long way to go, and maybe inventions like this one.  I collected questions from my readers, and had Seth answer them. Read through them and see if you think this might be something that could benefit our sport.

Why does this specify youth instead of any athlete? Would it not detect an adult concussion the same?:
The language we use towards youth athletes was purely a marketing choice, not a technical one. Our initial target market was children that play sports (we made this choice based on market size and market research that we have done). This means that the Jolt Sensor works the same way for adults.

How long does the sensor work for? (not per charge...but say you use it for two seasons of derby or whatever... is there a point when the sensor isn't sensitive anymore?):
The first thing to go in the device (as well as most electronic devices) will be the battery. The sensors and other embedded components in the device have very long life spans when used in normal operating conditions (this means not in very extreme temperatures). The battery is rated at thousands of charge/discharge cycles. This means that the manufacture has studied the battery capacity over the course of it being charged and discharged many times. Because our device is very low power the battery will fully discharge about once every 2 weeks. Our battery is rated for ~600 cycles which means it should last for 600 cycles * 2 weeks =  1200 weeks, or ~23 years. Of course there are other ways to kill the device (burning, hitting with a sledge hammer etc), but under normal operating conditions it should last for many years. (Hope that wasn't too technical).

What testing has been done to ensure proper sensitivity (whether too sensitive or not sensitive enough) and does it need to be re calibrated over time. 
It is important distinguish between the Jolt Sensor, which is the device itself and includes a battery, charger, computer, bluetooth radio etc. And the acceleration sensors (accelerometers). We have designed the device and how all of the components work together, but the electronics components (including the accelerometers) are purchased from other manufacturers. This means that the sensitivity and longevity of the accelerometers has been tested by them. The sensitivity of the sensor does not degrade with time, but rather with the types of accelerations that the sensor experiences. The sensor is rated at 200 g's. To put this in perspective the acceleration experienced by the astronauts on the space shuttle is 3g's, so one would need some very special equipment to cause the sensor to exceed its ratings. 
TL;DR: You'd have to try very hard to cause the sensors to exceed their capacity which is what causes their readings to degrade. And they do not need to be recalibrated.

What is considered "potentially dangerous" and who did they work with to set that standard?:
Again this is a bit technical, but we use software to calculate the Head Injury Criterion (HIC) of any given impact (you can find the details here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_injury_criterion) Essentially this takes into account the type of acceleration experienced by the head over time. This is important because a big acceleration over a very short period of time isn't necessarily as dangerous as a lower acceleration that lasts a while. This metric was originally developed as a means to test automotive safety and is used in sports as well.

How would this clip inside helmets like the Triple 8 brainsaver, S1 lifer, etc? (we use these brands of helmets, plus hockey helmets in derby):
For these helmets the sensor clips onto some type of headband/bandana underneath the helmet. I went to a bout 2 days ago to see how it would fit on skaters and different helmets. Here's a picture of a skater with it clipped on to her bandana (just above her ear), but any sort of headband underneath the helmet will do. For hockey helmets it clips on to the hard plastic ring near the ear.

Who has access to this info? How long does it stay on file?:
The information for an individual user is only accessible by the person that purchased the sensor and setup their account through our app. They can manage this data as they see fit. We will also be anonymizing and aggregating data from users. This means that impact and cognitive data will have all identifying information removed and will be combined together. The reason for doing this is to gain a better understanding of how various types of impacts and impact histories related with changes in cognitive scores. This is helpful both in tweaking our detection algorithms as well as adjusting policies to improve athlete safety. For example if we see that across all users that play soccer, impacts of a certain type (let's say headers) are highly correlated with cognitive issues, then we will be able to say with some certainty that this type of impact is dangerous and should be avoided. Privacy is extremely important to us and as I mentioned earlier, no data that we have will be specific to any individual, but rather an aggregate of many users.

What brought your attention to roller derby? Granted, we are dealing with a lot of head injuries because of how our game play has changed, but what specifically got your attention about our sport?:
Not a particularly exciting story, but we had a few people see the website and Kickstarter and email us asking if it could be used in derby. I got on the phone with them, learned about the sport and its concussion risks, and decided to pursue it. I went to my first bout last night and it was really fun (and much more exciting than watching youtube derby videos). As a sport played by adults with jobs, skaters seem to be much more concerned with their personal safety than kids playing sports, because their livelihood and career are dependent on maintaining good health. So, we've found skaters particularly receptive to the technology.

Would you be looking for test leagues for this device?:
Yes. Part of our Kickstarter campaign allows bakers to contribute by "giving a sensor," where we will manufacture a sensor and give it to an athlete at risk of a concussion. We are holding a twitter/facebook voting campaign to choose teams to receive these sensors (details here: joltsensor.com/giveasensor) We will also be looking for teams in the St. Louis area to beta test the sensor. Our biggest criteria in finding teams to test with is their level of interest. If a there is a team that isn't geographically close to us but is really excited about the technology we want to talk to them. Of course at the moment we have not manufactured the production version yet so we aren't ready to begin testing with teams, but that is one of our top priorities. 

What is the price point going to be for this device?:
Our desired price point is $100 USD. This is subject to change based on supply capabilities, manufacturing costs etc. If we can we would like to bring it down even lower than that, and as we scale we believe we will be able to.

What is your time line?:
Here is the timeline we outline in the Kickstarter campaign:



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why You May Seem Uncoachable

Derby takes talent, there's no question about that. As a skater, you have to have some body awareness, balance, and fitness to be successful in this sport, at any level. But really, talent is only half the battle. I've watched many a talented skater come to derby, thinking she could dominate, only to wash out after less than a year. What caused these talented skaters to bail on derby after such a short time? I've got one, made-up but accurate word for you: Uncoachable. Being uncoachable is pretty much the worst thing you can do in any sport; the second worst thing you can do is appear to be uncoachable.

How you appear to be uncoachable

1. You refuse to self evaluate. Yes, it sucks when you have to look at your strengths and weaknesses, and realize that your weaknesses outweigh your strengths. Believe it or not, this is pretty normal in just about any sport. The more time you spend practicing and perfecting your skills, the more you realize you don't know. It's ok to admit you aren't perfect; I know it's scary for a lot of skaters to admit that they have a weakness, but if you're not willing to look at your skills and figure out where you need to wood-shop, then how are you going to take feedback from a coach?

2. You're constantly defending yourself instead of listening to feedback. Instead of taking in feedback, you're all ready to drop an excuse to why you do or don't do the skill correctly. Everyone has off days, but most coaches can overlook those issues and concentrate on the trends they see with your skating. It's important to be aware of trends in your skating style, because those mean you have habits, both good and bad. Serious athletes want to reinforce the good habits, and repurpose those bad habits, but if you're just defending why you skate that way, you seem not to be interested in changing a bad habit. The coach can't know that in your mind you feel like you suck and you're just trying to protect your ego; all she can hear is how resistant you are to feedback, and eventually, she'll stop giving you any.

3. You don't look like you're listening. This is a hard one for me because I don't like to make direct eye contact for extended periods of time because I've been told I have "aggressive resting bitchy face" and my eye contact is a little intense. There are other ways you can look like you're not listening, such as crossed arms, turning away from the coach, rolling your eyes, staring over their shoulder or keeping a smirk on your face. Some of these responses happen automatically when we get defensive, but you can control some of them. When I find that I'm crossing my arms while someone is talking to me, I try to relax my body and drop any defensive postures I have. If you're sending out physical signs that you're not open to feedback, people will stop giving it to you and you won't get a chance to improve.
This is me respectfully disagreeing with a ref call. It's not subtle.

4. You ask for skills or drills to be modified for your specific needs instead of figuring out what you have to do differently to make the skills work. It's always funny, if I'm leading a training some place and a skater comes up and says something like 'Hard plows make my ankle hurt.' and then expectantly looking at me to change the drill. I never really know what to say when it comes to this kind of situation, other than. "Ok, do what you can." That ok, do what you can never seems to make the person feel better; sometimes, when they're very wrapped up in their issues, they'll actually ask if the drill can be different, for them. Honestly, nobody is going to do the same drills the same way, and you have to make anything you learn your own. I think people who want changes made to drills generally are afraid to fail, even if it's something little like learning a new skill.

5. You drop out of drills because you're frustrated. Frustration is a natural result of being challenged for most people, but when you're challenged and your first response is to sit down, or sulk, or take your skates off, you don't seem to be coachable.

You may not even realize what kind of vibes you're putting out to your team and your coaching staff.  Try to be more aware of the vibes you're throwing out there, before you're classified as .......uncoachable.