What makes a skater worthy of being placed on a travel roster? Sometimes, it's about timing, and sometimes it's about the skill level that is available in your league. Derby is hard. There is no fast and steady rule about what makes a great derby player and sometimes it just depends who happens to be in your league at the time. Can you increase your chances of making a roster? Yes, but it's not going to happen because you wish it so. If you're being passed over for making a travel roster and you can't figure out why, then maybe you can ask yourself these questions.
1. Are your skills in great shape? Seriously, are they? I'm not talking about them being ok, I'm talking about them being in great shape. How is your backwards skating? How are your stops? How are your transitions? Are they stellar? A lot of skaters feel like their skills are "good enough" but that attitude will most likely not get you placed on your travel roster. Woodshed. You need to work on your skills; hone them, and show that you have more than a mastery on the finer points of skating.
2. Have you shown you're ready for a more competitive level of play. Are you training like you're on the travel team already? Generally, if you're going to be on the travel team, you have to put extra time in skating, watching footage, cross training and skating as much as you possibly can. Are you willing to work like you've already made it? If not, then how do you think you're going to be able to suddenly switch it on after you've made it?
3. Are you trainable? Before you answer "Oh of course I am, Q!" really think about that question. Trainable means different things on different levels of derby. Most derby players are trainable, otherwise they would never get past the fresh meat stage. You learned to skate, and you learned to play derby, so yes, you're trainable. But being on a travel team means you have to be more trainable than that. Can you learn strategy? Are you able to learn strategy quickly? Are you able to implement said strategy in real time? Being trainable is the number one quality many coaches look for in players, so I ask you again, are you trainable?
4. Are you a supportive teammate? A lot of people join derby without having any prior experience as a team player, and sometimes that lack of teamwork can really bite them in the ass. Travel teams don't necessarily want super stars out there on the track; they want teammates. They want people who can stay in their walls, bridge for their teammates, and not take that big hit because they're supporting their pack members. If you're looking for your shining sparkling moment in the sun, then maybe you should rethink your motivation of being on the travel team.
5. Are you willing to make mistakes and learn from them? This kind of goes back to being trainable. Some players don't ever want to make a mistake or be humiliated, so they never take a risk and grow from it. Push yourself and take some risks, otherwise you will stagnate and nobody wants that.
Now, sometimes and in some seriously damaged leagues, getting to be on the travel team is usually done through some form of favoritism, but for the most part, healthy leagues have sane and sensible criteria for being placed on the travel roster. The question is, are you being honest with yourself about how hard you've been training?