Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Are you ready for 2014?

This is my second year writing this blog, and I am excited and amazed that I still have things to write about!  I'm not kidding, at one point I was worried that I would write myself dry; derby, on the other hand, said "I'll take that challenge" and still supplies me with fairly rich fodder to opine about.  Hooray!  One of my favorite moments to think about in derby, is the preparation for the new season.  Even though your league may be taking a derby break, there are a lot of things you can do to prep for 2014's fast approach.  Where does the time go?
Are you ready?

First of all, how about you really check over your gear and see what you need to replace, or maybe upgrade.  How is your velcro holding up? If you have to tape down every piece of protective gear you own, then it is time to either learn how to sew, or get new pads.  Look, I know gear is expensive, but with the amount of duct tape you're using, you're spending serious amounts of cash just to maintain something that should probably be in the garbage...or possibly an incinerator.  Protective gear companies are getting better about velcro placement, sizes, and generally just designing gear for derby. Look into some of your options and donate that crap gear to your team's "emergency" gear bag for those awful days when you flake out and forget your left wrist guard.

Now is the part of the blog where I nag you about getting a new helmet. Sometimes I fell like I'm contractually obligated to nag all of derbydom at least once a month to get a new helmet. Do you still have a crappy soft foam helmet?  Why?  Please upgrade to a hockey helmet or an S-one toute suite!  Sure, you may have never had a bad fall where you hit your head, but how many times have you accidentally dropped your helmet while loading your gear in the car. Once? Twice? Most helmets aren't rated to take too many hits, and dropping a helmet out of a car counts. Sorry, it does. Get a good helmet.  Just do it.

Psssst....your mouth guard is a swamp of bacteria. Get a new one.  Nobody wants you to be the new Typhoid Mary of Trench Mouth.

Enjoy your long and manicured nails, until the new season starts.  PLEASE TRIM YOUR NAILS!  I know, you have pretty hands, but the problem is that because people are turning around and anchoring a wall while skating backwards, you tend to get fingers and hands everywhere. Nails are becoming a problem, grabbing your teammates to keep them from getting pushed down the track results in some interesting and new cuts on arms, on necks, and heck, even through uniforms. You can have long nails until the season starts, but then trim those claws and file them smooth.  But Q, I love my nails.  Yes, and I love my skin without your claw marks in it, just sayin'.

Now that we have the physical details handled, how about we think about what our goals and plans are going to entail for next season?  I'll share my personal goal for 2014: discipline. My goal is to have discipline in all that I do in derby; call myself out on any fouls, and work on skills I suck at.  I know that my edges are getting a little sloppy with all of the toe stopping I've been doing, so I will be concentrating on NOT using my toe stops during skills practices. It's going to be hard, but that's where discipline comes in.

But wait, there's more! Discipline doesn't just impact physical aspects of derby; I have great self-motivation to get to derby practice, but discipline is really what makes me get my butt up early on a Saturday morning to go to a cold rink and do a two hour skills practice.  Discipline is what makes me go to bed early enough to be well rested for that early practice too.  Discipline makes me work on my strength training and forces me to work on my flexibility with yoga, even if I hate every minute of it.

Finally, discipline is mental. Discipline is what keeps me from watching footage as a fan, or as someone who cringes at every mistake I make on the track; it makes me keep my attention to issues like finding certain mistake patterns our team does, or consistently awesome things we do.  Discipline gets me through disappointment and frustration, and keeps me on the right path to success.

So what are your goals for this upcoming year?


  1. The men's league in our area regularly does No Toe Stop Challenges, where skaters swap their toe stops with plugs and do practice as usual. This forces them to get creative and really work on their hockey and plow stops. They've done Stoptober (October), NoStopvember (November), and are wrapping up Stopcember (December).

    Bonus: every time someone fell or was unsuccessful in stopping and crashing into something/one, everyone shouted "Yeah! STOPTOBER!"

    Very fun few months in Midwest derby.

  2. For Hockey Helmets - the Bauer IMS 7.0 is a great purchase, if a tad pricey but you've only got one head and the helmet is (IMHO) a lot more important for what it does compared to the plates of the same value. If you want to look for the exact same helmet a little cheaper, check ebay or the hockey retailers for the Cascade M11 helmet on close out. This is the exact same helmet! Bauer bought the design from Cascade.

    If you do go the bauer route - check with Bauer direct, they can do a ridiculous number of base colors on the helmets and accents on the vents.