Yeah, there’s a lot to talk about and now’s as good a time as any to start. Enjoy!
Yeah, there’s a lot to talk about and now’s as good a time as any to start. Enjoy!
It’s been a long day and the post I hoped to get out earlier is–well, here. Late. Crazy late. And I’m typing like made ’cause I’m on a time table. So bear with me…
I talk a lot about derby practice. I even show you video of what I do. But what does practice really look like? I mean, how does it come out in the long run? What exactly do we do when we’re in skates and geared up?
Glad you asked.
Last Wednesday I manged to get some great GoPro footage of our practice. Not just a few things here and there, but damn near the whole thing. And I thought that rather than give long explanations of what’s going on, I figured, “Why not show what I go through?”
So this is what you’re getting. Basically, this is all the practice–save for the cardio warm up, which was 40 laps and about 12 minutes of fast skating–that I experience, as seen through my eyes. You’re also going to hear what I hear and pick up on some of the instruction that’s given to help me improve. You also get to hear some of the shit we talk back and forth between us, which can be somewhat amusing.
Part of this you’re already seen. This is a long drill where we weaved up through a pack, then weaved back, then shot up the outside to return to the front. Like I said, it’s long, but then so are all these videos. This, like a lot of the things we do, is a timing drill:
You’ve also seen a little of this: the blocker/jammer pace line where one person blocks the way through the pack so the jammer (your partner) can get through. This is where I fell and someone tripped over me, but that was as shortened version of this drill. Here is the full one, and it’s–you guessed it–long:
Here we get into our blocker/jammer drills, going two-on-one and three-on-one against a jammer. This is where I’m told on several occasions about things I’m doing wrong and how to correct them. The guy giving the instruction is a ref, Ted Nuisance, and he’s really, really good at what he does. A lot of stuff happens fast–you’ll see:
This is an extension of the three-on-one drills, with us adding a pivot, who is on the same side as the jammer. The idea here is for the pivot to move blockers out of the way and help the jammer get through the pack. That’s why you’ll sometimes see a person with a stripped pantie on their helmet moving people aside.
This was something that Bi and I got into with Mary–she’s in the white helmet–explaining how bridging works and how to use it to run a jammer way back away from the pack. She wasn’t present the day we practiced bridging, so this was her chance to learn.
There you have it: quick, dirty, to the point. Don’t have to read much, just put on the video and watch me go crazy.
Or maybe you’ll feel like joining me…
Which means I’ve got video! Enjoy.
Yeah, had to get that Beatles reference in that for the title, doncha know?
Last Tuesday was my freshie practice and something of a special day. Why is it a special day? I tell you in the intro:
Now, you’ve seen push drills before, but this one I liked because I was really moving along well the whole time. I started getting a little back soreness at the end but it’s not that bad that I can’t finish what I do. While I’m not quite able to keep up with the OG, I like getting the speed on here.
The 27/5 keeps coming up from me a lot and there’s reasons for that: it’s like the Golden Fleece of the Derby World: once you do it you never have to worry about it again. Ida wanted Sam and me to skate our and while I was feeling a bit tired from the previous night’s practice, when the coach tells you to do something, you make it happen.
It was not, however, my finest hour. I start out okay and even managed to do half-ass crossovers around the track as I skate the diamond–and I was hitting it almost perfectly. It’s just that on Lap 3, as I go into Turn 3, I lose it big time. From what the video shows it looks like my leg buckled because I wasn’t maintaining a good form, and I just did a baseball slide into Turn 4. From the time I started to fall to the time I’m back on my skates is ten seconds and I figure the fall screwed by time by thirty to forty seconds. However, my time of 6:18 was good enough for almost 22 laps, which is what I’ve skated before, so I figure without the fall I’d have made 24 laps. Closer and closer every time.
Sam was up after me and as you can see, she has great form. She also skated a 5:25, so when she builds up her speed a bit and gets her form right, she’s gonna beat a 27/5 like it was committing a crime. It’s all each of us want to do.
After that skating to a back seat to rules. Registered Curse, a ref who lives nearby and comes over to help now and then, stopped by to go over some of the rules of derby. We first start out leaning about the pack: what makes one, what doesn’t, and how you can find your zone of engagement. This is important because it lets you know when and where you can score and hit people. It also lets you know why, when you go to a bout, refs are yelling, “No Pack” and “Pack is Here”. This is why.
You’ll need to listen closely: I didn’t mic Curse and we have to deal with open spaces and background sounds. But you can hear her.
Part Two of Registered Curse’s Rules of Derby involved going over where you can hit another place and what parts of your body you can use to hit. She also goes over what constitutes a cut track and how to get a misconduct call made again you, which I help out with from off-camera. We had to deal with a lot of background sounds here as the men’s roller hockey was on the track and they were being supper loud with their slap shots.
Lastly we go off-skates and Curse shows us the ins and outs of block, starting off with something I’m bad at doing–as she points out–the clockwise block. She also shows a stop block and tells out the quickest ways of getting kicked the hell off the track, which does happen from time to time.
There you go: nine freshie practices, nine different things going on each time. The next one, next Tuesday, is my tenth, which means I’ll have twenty weeks of freshie practice under my belt.
It won’t be long before six months done is here–
Which means if there are questions, there must be answers. And they are in this video! Enjoy!
In the parlance of a time gone by, I am burning the candle at both ends. As of last night I’d attended five practices in six nights and last night I felt it all: no energy, no strength, no nothing. I made it through the evening, but only by doing simple stuff I need to develop for certification. No shame there: it happens.
One of the reasons for feeling this way has to do with the practices I attended on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Video is coming for Tuesday night, but today you get a real good first person look at my Monday night practice, because I had the GoPro fired up and sitting pretty on the helmet.
Let me take you though an evening…
First up is cardio. I edited this video as cardio lasted 12 minutes. What we did was this– First, it was skate 5 laps, then stop and do 5 push ups, then follow that with 5 squats. And when you finished the squats, repeat the whole sequence until the 12 minutes were up. For the record I did 21 laps, 20 push ups, 20 squats, all of which you get to see from my point of view, including the floor going up and down as I do push ups.
This is the longest of the videos here because this was one of two pace lines I did that night. It runs long because we skated about 30 laps, or just a little more than a mile. Since we did two of these that means we skated two miles, and when you add in the cardio laps the total comes closer to 2.75 miles. I think with all the skating we were pretty close to three miles on Monday night.
You’ll see me get knocked out of line at least once: that’s because I took a good hit and was sent flying. It happens to a couple of other people, too, and it’s one of the reasons I was sore on Tuesday and unable to go to work. That and the videos that follow this one.
You’ll also hear a lot of calling out and talking, because that’s how we’re supposed to be when we’re in a bout: shouting out instructions to our teammates. While skating and pushing. And while you have a mouth guard in place. Yeah, easy as pie.
This was the only video that survived the line spin/apex jump part of the drill. Unfortunately I can’t see if I’m recording or now, so I have to hope I have the camera in record mode. The only thing that survived was this spin where I go between the outside line and a cone and spin around the moment I reach the cone. Later I actually managed to cancel out the spin and skate away backwards, but not in this video. I also didn’t show an apex jump, which involves jumping over the inside line in order to get away from blockers on the inside line. Maybe next time.
Now we come to the blocking and jamming. This video shows an example of how this drill should go, as I was standing on the inside of the track watching this go down. What my teammates do when they come back towards me is known as bridging and designed to keep people in contact with the pack while, at the same time, forcing the jammer to run way back from where they were knocked out and return to the track. (In the rules the jammer has to return to the track behind the player who knocked her out. If that player is forty feet away, they have to skate back in the out-of-bounds area forty feet before reentering the track. Otherwise the jammer gets a cut track penalty and spends 30 seconds in the penalty box.)
Then I go up, as jammer, against a block. Most of what I do is push them down the track before going out, but afterwords Mary, Panzer, Smack (the women from left to right), and I discuss what happened and discuss a little of what to do and what not to do–like, don’t grab an arm, because it can lead to a penalty and other things…
And here are those “other things”… this is what my arm looks like after the Wednesday night practice, showing what happens when you grab:
Lastly I went out and jammed again three experienced players, aka the OG. As you see they spend time knocking me out and forcing me to come at them again, but eventually the drill is called and we go back to let another group try. While inside my coach Blade comes over to talk about what I’m doing. She told me Wednesday night she thinks I’ll eventually take over her position on the team, being the one who is big and has the power to hold a block and jam through one if necessary. Considering she’s retiring at the end of this season, she probably believes I’ll do this next season, and really, I hope that happens…
Now you know why I’m tired and sore. And tomorrow you get to watch me crash and burn…
Which is another way of saying I have video! Enjoy!