Editor’s note: We finish off our series on WFTDA skill testing with some solid advice from TaxaMiss Prime. Keep an eye out for some the rookies who just passed: they’ll be playing in our season opener on May 12!
So we recently had our minimum skills tests here at HRDA. It is basically a test of all the fundamental derby skills. New skaters need to take it to prove they are ready to join a team. Veteran skaters need to retake it every year to prove they are maintaining their skills. I am in the new skater category, having joined fresh meat in September 2011.
It was an intense couple of days of falling, stopping, blocking, hitting, jumping and whipping…which all seems even more intimidating in print! I learned so much during this testing session, but a few things in particular will always stick in my mind. I like to think of this as my top 5 ideas I’m taking away from testing week.
5. Be honest about your derby skills.
Really. It’s easy to think that some of your skating skills are “fine” or “okay.” I’ve fallen into this trap myself plenty of times. However, this is not “okay.” Strive for better and always push yourself. Now on the flipside of the coin…
4. Don’t beat yourself up.
I will loudly admit, I failed to meet my initial 25 laps in 5 minutes requirement. That, on top of a few other areas I needed work on, was the final straw for me after testing. I was so down in the dumps. It only took a few kind words of encouragement from my league mates and I was reduced to tears. Aim for perfection, sure, but don’t punish yourself for not reaching it (because you never will.)
3. Work it at home.
Another confession: I am a lazy butt when I am at home. Not a couch potato, it’s just that I do everything but working out. After my temporary melt down, I knew that change was in order. Since then, I have joined a gym. I have gone three times within the first week and I am fighting my urge to go every day. My muscles would probably have something to say about that.
2. Bring on the derby attitude.
I was so concerned about doing the skills right that I missed the most important part: attitude. I now know that sometimes I can be too static. Real derby is very dynamic, with skaters hopping and spinning all over the place. It is filled with attitude and confidence. Watch derby on the internet to see amazing jammers who arrow straight through two blockers, or a blocker jump directly into the path of an oncoming jammer.
1. Never give up.
NEVER! I was granted another shot at my 25 laps. Somewhere near lap 10 I started feeling tired. It would have been very tempting to just quit. But I kept on doing crossovers and before I knew it I had my 25 laps. It felt so good and I am definitely proud that I tried again. It goes to show, you never gain anything by giving up.