Sunday, July 6, 2014

Be a Better Teammate

Many people come to derby as their first experience in a team sport. Team sports are their own animals, and even if people have come to derby after being involved in a more individual sport like tennis, team sports really takes the idea of all for one, and one for all kind of mentality. That means the decisions you make as an individual can and might have an impact on your team's health and survival. Whoa. Am I exaggerating? Not really.

1. When you miss practice, everyone misses you. Yes, that's the truth. When you don't come to practice, your team suffers because you are not there to make them stronger. You're not there to learn the strategies, and you're not there to work with your walls or jammers. Teamwork begins with building trust, and if you aren't there, how can you build trust? If your team is in any way competitive, you need to be at every practice possible. Now, if you're on a very non competitive team, showing up to every practice ever is your decision. It will make you a better derby player in the end.

2. Work on your weaknesses. Don't try to hide them from your teammates, but try and work on them. the best way I've ever been motivated to work on my skating flaws is holding myself accountable for them. How do I do that? I share my flaws with my teammates and tell them what I'm working on, which can be pretty terrifying. Opening up and sharing your weaknesses is a scary concept, but it will definitely keep you striving to improve those shaky skills. Hold each other accountable, and soon your whole team will be improving.

Don't be the a-hole
3. There are no super stars on teams. Of course there are very talented players, and there are amazing strategists, but everyone has a job to do on the team. Stand out on your team because you are an excellent teammate. Be supportive, be a bedrock of support to your team. Build them up, and by doing so, you can all become mighty.

4.  Cross-train. Our sport is demanding, and to be your best and strongest teammate self, you need to be working on your strength and endurance outside of derby. OUTSIDE of derby. There is not enough time to bring everyone's fitness level up to the group standard. As teammates, we have to take some responsibility for our own training. Endurance is one of those things we can do on our own time, and SHOULD do on our own time. 

5. Make smart choices in and out of derby. The thing that sets my teeth on edge is when I hear someone on a team say the following words: "I'm a grown ass woman and I can do what I want!" Usually the person who is in the middle of saying it is making a horrible decision. Like "I can trail skate without any protective gear" or "Staying up all night before a game will be fine!" People on your team are counting on you, so try not to make stupid and self centered decisions. I mean, you shouldn't be making stupid and self centered decisions in life in general, but really try not to make them when they will impact your team. In other words, consider the consequences before you make that "grown ass woman" decision. Every decision has consequences, have you considered what the consequences could be?

Finally, if you are not in junior derby, you are an adult. Adults are supposed to be able to think beyond their immediate needs; when you join a team, you need to be able to consider what impact your actions will have on your team. If you don't want that kind of responsibility in your life, maybe playing a team sport isn't your thing right now.