Monday, May 21, 2012

What is the Ultimate Super Power in Derby?

Best 1970's super hero evar..with skates!  Image found here

I'm a nerd, there's no escaping that conclusion; I read comic books and watch nerdy movies.  Often, my friends and I will talk about silly things like "If you could have a super power, what would it be?"  Some of our answers in the past have been "Telekinesis, so I could sit on my butt and change the channel without a remote."  "Teleportation, so I can stop paying for gasoline."  But, when it comes to derby, the ultimate super power really has to be patience.  This is a lesson I keep learning day after day.

First of all you have to be patient with your own development.  I think there is a lot of frustration in derby because skaters become impatient with their ability to hit, or juke, or jam.  Plateauing is a natural part of skills development; at the beginning, skaters seem to be learning at leaps and bounds, but as your skills get better, you make less noticeable headway.  Stay patient, and keep working on your skills, you will begin to notice the improvement, slowly.

On this note, you have to be patient with your fellow teammates.  Not everyone is a born Suzy Hotrod, and you need to remember that no matter how talented people are as skaters, they still need to learn the basics of the game of derby.  Be patient with your teammates; if they don't understand a new strategy right away, don't roll your eyes at them or get disgusted.  Taking the time to help them learn will make your team stronger.

Be patient with new strategies.  Sometimes it's so easy to discount a new strategy because it feels awkward or strange and uncomfortable.  You can almost physically feel the frustration people are dealing with when things aren't working, but it takes patience and perseverance to stay with the strategy and give it a chance.  I've seen it happen again and again, and because I'm NOT a naturally patient person, I have to remind myself to take deep breaths and give the strategy a chance!  It's almost always been worth the time and frustration.

Patience is key when jamming as well; if you don't calm yourself and be patient, waiting for the most opportune time to strike, you can find yourself charging ahead and getting nowhere fast.  I don't know how many times I've been blocking for someone, and I'm yelling 'Just wait one second' while I'm clearing a wall for them.  I think jammers get that fight or flight syndrome when they're running.  They forget that other people are out there trying to help them get through and they panic.  If you can control your urgency, and follow your blockers through the pack, you might be more successful, which leads to less jammer panic.  I'm a humongous fan of less jammer panic...unless I happen to be blocking you.

Patience is not as flashy as super strength, or heat vision, but when it comes to derby, I'm striving to turn it into my superpower.  

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