Monday, July 15, 2013

What's Next? After you've had your "oh shit" moment on the track.

We all have "oh shit" moments on the track.  We give up the inside line to the opposing jammer, we cut the track when we jam, we back block the living hell out of the wall, and we all think, "Oh shit!  Why did I do that?" 
What just happened? Photo by Joshua R. Craig

You did that because it's derby.  Derby is a game in which the team that makes the least amount of errors wins; it's sad but true, and nobody is perfect.  Even Bonnie Thunders, that demigoddess of derby, has to pass the panty once in a while!  So, the first thing you need to do is allow yourself to screw up.  You're going to screw up on the track, and the sooner you accept it, the better your game is going to be, both mentally and physically.

So what do you do after you have an "oh shit" moment on the track?  Do you wallow in your mistake?  Do you take time to "show the world I screwed up", shrug your shoulders, make a face, or do you try to figure out what you can do next to make it better?  My personal mantra on the track is "What's next?"  What's next keeps me from getting into my own head and getting down about my errors.  It also keeps me engaged in the game, and I tend to be able to switch quicker from defense to offense and vice versa.  I can anticipate what the other team might do and because I'm thinking "What's next" sometimes I can do something about it.  Sometimes I pick the wrong thing to do, but you always have another chance to do the right thing.  If our sport is one where the team who makes the least amount of errors wins, it's also a sport where you can have a second, third or fourth chance, and that's pretty great.

I see so many people afraid to take risks at practice.  They're afraid that people are judging them, and nobody wants to be seen as anything but a badass on the track.  We all love our teammates, but we're also competing against them, and nobody wants look like weak sauce in front of the competition.  Don't get all bound up in not making mistakes, how else are you supposed to learn?  So what if you screw up?  Have your "Oh shit" moment in the safety of practice, not at a game, if you can help it.  Remember, you're not the only one out there trying to play a game, so if you screw up, your teammates have your back!  Most of the time, they're not counting your mistakes!


  1. "What's next?" Love it....that's a great mantra to keep you out of your head. I'm going to keep that in mind!

  2. I just played in my 2nd bout on Saturday. It was a tough team, a slippery floor and we played short. I spent night Saturday and Sunday morning replaying all of my "mistakes" in my head. Then I realized that the only way to feel better was to focus on my next practice, my next off skates workout, my next street skate. Thank you for giving me a mantra to hear in my head. Love your blog...

  3. I love this!!! "What's next?" will totally be something I share with my team. As an insider tip... coaches also want to see how you handle that "Oh Shit!" moment. Agility applies to the mental game as well as the physical one. Bonus points from a good coaching staff for being able to handle the good AND the bad!