Monday, March 5, 2012

Jamnesia: Forgive yourself and move on

After coming back from Bonnie D. Stroia's boot camp, I had a lot of pondering to do about derby.  Her training session was great by the way, and I suggest that if you get the chance to go to one of her sessions, DO IT!  She went over strategy, technique, and shared her insights about the sport of derby after playing it for eight years.  I love being around people who really get philosophical about derby, because that's what I tend to do as well.  It's exciting to talk to vets like Bonnie, because she's willing to share her ideas and encourages people to do the same.

The one thing that I really came away with from the training camp (other than the obvious awesomeness) was the point that most derby girls really beat themselves up when they don't perform perfectly.  Read that again please.  Are you one of the derby girls who is a closet perfectionist?  When Bonnie asked our group that question, almost everyone had her hand up.  Are you shocked?  I wasn't.  I have been one of the perfectionists who sometimes beat the crap out of myself in my head because I screwed up on the track.  I felt like I let myself down, and worse yet, I let my team down.
I didn't get lead!  Life is over!

 It's not been an easy road for me to try and change that kind of self abuse.  I would watch video of games I was in and cringe every time I saw myself stupid, passive, or oblivious.  Even when someone told me I was being effective, I'd still be thinking "Yeah, but the jammer got around me two seconds later."  Do you say things like that to yourself?  When you start thinking like that, you tend to not see the good things you are doing on the track, and your game can go downhill fast.  You can become paralyzed and hesitant to commit to an action because you're afraid of screwing things up, so you end up doing nothing.

 During my rookie year, I was really fighting my nerves and the urge to beat myself up, when I heard one of the girls in the previous jam come off of the floor and say to the other one, "It's ok, next jam will be yours!  Jamnesia!"  Jamnesia!  It felt like a light was glowing over my head, but I'm pretty sure it was just the disco ball at the Skate Ranch.  I loved the idea of jamnesia immediately because almost everyone I know has to be reminded that it was just one jam out of the whole game/practice/scrimmage!  Figure out what you need to change, and do better in the next jam!  Forget the self-abusive thinking and move on!
I wish I could give someone credit for this, but I really can't remember who said it first at our practice.

Think about it, you're in a group of five women who are all on wheels.  People will fall, get distracted, make bad decisions and foolish hits.  Nobody is perfect, and what right do you have for demanding perfection from yourself?  Stop being your biggest critic!  Repeat after me, "Jamnesia!  I will move on and refocus on my game!"  I know the phrase "Push through it!" is bantered about a lot in derby, but we all have to push through our self doubts and let ourselves have permission to be successful on the track!



6 comments:

  1. As a rookie, I really needed to hear this. I am perfectionist in everything I do...no closet here! I am having a hard time not beating myself up over every. little. thing. If I chant "Jamnesia" to myself over and over again, maybe it'll sink in.

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  2. I personally think that derby is one of the most complicated sports I've ever played. It takes a while to get comfortable with switching back and forth from offense and defense at the drop of a hat. Keep at it and you will get through it!

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    Replies
    1. I feel like derby can be as complicated as you want to make it. And yeah, at the competitive level, there's all kinds of strategy and you have to pay attention to so much and switch back and forth and so on. But when you're just starting out? Focus on a few simple things, keep your expectations low, and as you get better at the basics, you'll be able to add more stuff in. It's so much more effective to just try to do well at really basic things ("get in front of her and slow down" gets you pretty far as a blocker) than flailing around trying to do everything and not doing very well at any of it.

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