Going Mental

 Posted by at 12:00 pm  1 Response »
Apr 212010
 

Professor X says: It's all in your mind

In my last post, I talked a little bit about the importance of setting concrete physical goals and using them as benchmarks to evaluate your performance. We’ll be going back to that next week, but right now we’re going to discuss another important goal all derby girls should have: Keeping your focus. Specifically, keeping your focus when life outside of the track turns to shit. It’s easy to stay focused when life is running smoothly, but when things start to get bumpy it can be a completely different story. And sooner or later, real life (or rather, the sucky parts of real life) will start challenging your focus.

This was definitely NOT ME on Saturday. You got it? NOT ME. PS I hope you get eaten by a shark, dude.

Maybe you’re having trouble at work, and you’re spending more time at practice mentally going over your latest encounter with the boss than working on your can opener. Maybe you just found out that a loved one is very ill and you’re having a hard enough time just making it to practice, let alone actually focusing on the drills you are participating in. Maybe the guy that you had the gut wrenching breakup with a mere two or three weeks ago comes to your bout, stands directly next to your bench, and puts the full court press on some random girl with big knockers and indie rock glasses while you tear up on said bench like a 5 year old girl who just discovered that My Little Ponies aren’t real (not that I’m speaking from blisteringly painful and extremely recent experience or anything).

These are all examples of things that can split your attention, demotivate you, and keep you from performing at your highest level. So how do we deal with external mental and emotional duress? How do we push past all of the outside crap and focus on kicking ass and taking names, derby style?

Destroy, my bitches! DESTROY!!!

Purposefully try to check your issues at the door: Acknowledge when you’re being distracted by personal issues and make a conscious decision to set them aside. This isn’t always easy, but it’s always helpful.

Take it one drill at a time: So, now that you’ve decided that you’re not going to let Crappy Circumstance X distract you, try to give your complete focus to every derby task as it comes up. Not thinking about Crappy Circumstance X for two hours might seem like an impossible task, but not thinking about it for a ten minute drill is doable, right? And when you keep focusing on tasks that take up smaller amounts of time, they magically add up to great big chunks of time. It’s kind of awesome.

When in doubt, hit a bitch:We are lucky enough to have a built in outlet for all of our frustrations and inner turmoil. Channel all of that aggression into the physical aspects of our sport. Don’t think, just do. Exhaust yourself if you have to.

Keeping your head in the game: priceless


These are things that help me when life starts getting in the way. What helps you? How often do you find yourself struggling to maintain your focus? Discuss this in the commments or hit me up at blammeration@gmail.com

Photo credits: newsarama. com, Jill Greenberg, Toho Co. Ltd, Ben Loveridge

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Apr 142010
 

RSRD was rolling out to Texas in order to take on the Psych Ward Sirens of Houston Roller Derby in their season opener. As far as I was concerned, this particular bout was a Bigger Deal Than Most. I mean, EVERY bout is a big deal, but the Houston girls are AMAZING. Their rep is solid gold, and there is more than one girl on the Psych Ward roster that I consider a personal hero. I am in awe of these women; they leave me in a state of fawning fan-girly squee.

Clearly, I wished to savage and destroy them.

Nope, no ego here!

I will never admit to this outside of this blog, but the thought of playing HRD was like playing a boogeyman made of awesome: It was just a little intimidating. However, the Heidi in me refuses to DO intimidated and thus began non-stop trumpeting “I WILL END YOU, HOUSTON” whenever I even began to think about the approaching bout. While this kind of can-do (and potentially delusional) attitude is essential in derby, I find that a better way of dealing with pre-bout jitters is to lay down a few clearly defined goals beforehand. As long as I have goals to meet, I worry less and work more efficiently out on the track (bonus: I have something to measure my performance against after the fact). And so I sat down and put together Heidi Volatile’s Game Day Goals (HRD Edition):

Competent playing: Always

Lead Jammer: Oh god please let this happen or my team will disown me

Penalty Box parties: 0

Number of dry humpings on the jam line: 5 minimum

Power hits: 3

Improvement in lateral movement: Noticeable

Bones broken: 0

These seemed like fairly reasonable, meetable goals. By focusing on accomplishing these few items I knew I could hopefully reign in the adrenaline and do the best possible job for my team. That’s really what was most important to me: Not letting down the girls that I sweat, swear, and bleed with two or three times a week during what was basically our biggest game of the season. Next in importance would be not sucking a bag of dicks, followed closely by not humiliating myself in front of mother lovin’ Houston.

Go team!

Setting goals for yourself is probably the most important thing you can do in derby, and those goals can’t just be “win,” “win,” and “oh yeah, win.” You have to honestly look at what you need to improve (and no matter how awesome you are, you ALWAYS have things that you need to improve), and you have to be realistic about how much improvement you can affect in a given amount of time. You have to be ready to measure your performance. This is how you keep your focus and move forward.

So how did I measure up? Let’s break it down:

Competent playing: I think I mostly played a solid game, but there was a moment after I passed the star where I kind of lost the plot. In the future, I need to make sure that I’m always playing WITH my team, and not just pinballing off solo.

Lead Jammer: Check! However, I’d have been happier if I’d done it a few more times.

Penalty Box Parties: 0! The Mighty Elbows of Discontent did not flair out!

You can't hump that. Not comfortably.

Number of dry humpings on the jam line: 0. What can I say, even I am not invulnerable to awe and hero worship. Also, a lot of the Houston girls do this nifty squatting, sprinter-esque start on the jam line, and dry humping that would only lead to awkwardness and skates in uncomfortable place. And, more importantly, a slow start off of the line.

Power hits: While I didn’t pull off what I would consider a power hit, I did hit consistently while blocking. Definitely something to continue working on.

Improvement in lateral movement: While I do believe that my lateral movement improved visibly, I still feel that it’s not quite where I need it to be.

Bones broken: I didn’t break any bones, but I did ding up my ankle pretty badly in the first period. Note to self: Work on falling smaller.

So obviously, I didn’t meet every goal this time around. However, I can definitely see where I’m improving, and more importantly, I can see where I need to be in relation to where I am. And that’s why I believe that, in order to be the best player you can be, you ALWAYS need to be setting goals. So what are some of your goals? What are your goals for your next practice, your next week, your next bout? How do you hold yourself accountable for your progress? Let’s set some goals together and get to work!

Photo credits: Wreckx-n-FX, RM Photography

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