Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It's not just you: getting your spark back

It's the new year, and everyone is excited about derby and the new season, right?  Except, this is your third, fourth, fifth, seventeenth season, and you're just not feeling it the way everyone else seems to be. 

Well, I'm here to tell you that it's not just you; a lot of vets tend to find their Get Up and Go has Gotten Up Left, especially after a couple of seasons under your derby belt.  Let's face it, when you're a newbie, you really don't know what to expect with derby.  You have no idea how much work is ahead of you, in practices, committee work, and away games.  Everything is new and exciting; derby is the unknown and newbies are just happy to be there experiencing it!

As a vet, you know how painful derby can be; squats, falls, suicides, endurance, and off skates drills can really make walking difficult for the first month of derby.  Unlike the pain of childbirth, most derby vets remember the agony of planks and suicides.  Then there's the mental agony of worrying about roster placement, volunteer hours, learning the new rule set, etc etc; no wonder some vets are feeling motivationally deficient.

To keep yourself motivated, you can follow these suggestions; they may not answer every need, but if you can get over the hump of your lack of motivation, that would be great, right?

1.  Acknowledge that you're just not feeling it right now.  You don't have to wallow in it, but admitting you have a problem is the first step in dealing with it.  Some people suggest you "fake it until you make it" but with motivation, denial is rarely the answer.

2.  Talk to a teammate.  Once you sat down with yourself and admitted you're feeling this way, talk to someone you trust and figure out exactly what is draining your enthusiasm.  Is it the endurance?  Ask your teammate to be your endurance buddy.  Is it a skills problem?  Work with someone who can help you.  Talking to someone can help pinpoint the exact issue.

3.  Talk to your coaches.  If you are losing your motivation because you're worried about your spot on the roster, ask your coaches for feedback.  Don't approach them while they're slammed at practice, but write an email before practice and ask if they can give you some specific things to work on. The key word is specific.  "You need to work on your aggression" is not specific feedback. 

4.  Look outside of yourself.  Watch the newbies get excited about derby, and use their enthusiasm to help fuel yours.  There's always a skater who smiles and is just excited about being on wheels; go stand next to her and soak in some of that positive energy.

Me trying something new last season.
5.  Try something new.   If you are in a rut, you're not going to be excited by the notion of derby.  Try a new committee, try leading a drill or a practice, try and learn something crazy, like jam skating! 

6.  Keep track of the small successes you achieve.  Even if you're not motivated, if you're going to practice, you will getting better.  Maybe you managed to get through endurance without feeling like you're going to puke, or maybe you made one of your stops tighter.  You might be the only one who notices your success at the time, but after you start accumulating them, others will notice too.

If none of this works, you really need to sit down and make a list of the reasons why you enjoy derby, and why you're having motivational issues.  If your list of negatives is longer and more serious than your positives, you might not be in a slump; it might be time to take a break.  Give yourself some time and space away from derby, and you might find that you missed it, or you might find out it's time to hang up your skates and try something else.  Yes, there is life outside of derby.


  1. Thanks for this Q. I'm approaching my 5th season and I know how hard it can be to keep pushing yourself in derby, especially when you are pushing yourself in all the other aspects of your life too.