Now that I am back at school and have access to a computer, I will be posting on this blog. During my hiatus from blogging, I was still writing in my journal and I’ve wanted to share so many things with the derby community. I find myself learning new things from roller derby daily.
People are very often praised for remaining strong in their convictions. Many pride themselves on remaining unchanging because they think that a change in beliefs shows weakness. In reality, we should be ashamed if we are the same as we were a year ago- or even a day ago. The tendency to say “but I’ve always done…” or “I never did…” is understandable. Once we have progressed, it is hard for us to imagine how we may have done something differently. I can hear myself saying “I’ve always been fit,” but in reality I have become more and more fit over time. If you were to compare my scrawny 16 year old quads with my now buff 20 year old quads, there is an immense difference. The point is that change is good. That change is called progress and without it we digress.
Change, or progress, comes from challenging yourself and setting new goals. In order to achieve what we you want and to grow- you have to set goals. Goals provide you with direction. If you know where you want to be in the future, then you will know what you really want to be doing in the present. It seems like it would be easy to do what you want, but it isn’t always that simple. For example, my goal is to have 8 pack abs. One day someone offers me a donut that sounds appealing at the moment. Keeping my goal in mind, I can say no because I know that it won’t get me what I truly want. Distractions are simply excuses and vice versa. When I was setting my goals I didn’t make my goal to enjoy saturated fats. That is not depriving yourself; it is understanding what you really want and maintaining focus.
I understand and embrace the mentality that life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. But where will you journey? Will you just go as the wind blows you, or will you decide where you want to go and get there?
As individual players we should be setting goals and constantly challenging ourselves to be the best athletes we can. We should evaluate our performances, highlight our positives and determine areas for improvement. I am a constant self-improver. That does not mean that I am not proud of what I have accomplished, it simply means that I will not coast on what I have accomplished. If I decide my goal for that month is to skate 13 miles in one hour and I accomplish that, then it is time to do 14 miles in one hour. If I don’t accomplish it, that’s okay too. That just means my goal for next month is still to skate 13 miles in one hour.
I believe in setting big, arduous goals- because the only thing that is certain is that if you don’t try it, you won’t accomplish it. So how do we go about setting goals as individuals?
Determine your values. What matters to you? How do you enjoy spending your time?
Look at what you would truly want in an ideal world- with no limiting factors.
Set your goals.
I set one, five, and 10 year goals for derby, health, personal, and education/career. I based my goal setting worksheet off of one that I found here: http://www.lululemon.com/education/goalsetting. I start at 10 years, and then do 5, and then one so that I can direct my shorter term goals based on my long term vision. I also set monthly, weekly, and daily goals that work towards my ultimate goals.
Here is one of my goals, “I reach five year remission (cure) by 2016.” This one is a little trickier than others because obviously I did not choose to get cancer to begin with. However, this remains a goal of mine- in an ideal world that is what I would like. Knowing this, I can make decisions that work towards my goal.
So I set the goal: “I skate a marathon in 2 hours by September 2011.” That works towards my ultimate goal (as well as many of my other long term goals related to skating) by contributing to my health.
To accomplish that I set a goal: “I skate 50 miles per week outside of practice by August 2011.”
Today I set a goal to skate 10 miles, which I will do as soon as I finish typing this.
You get the picture.
The point is to progress and live your life with direction. But I’m not done yet. You see, that is pretty easy for us to do as individuals… but we’re members of a team. Our personal goals differ to the goals of the team. Or better yet, should be a direct reflection of the goals of the team. A good team is full of players who set goals, but a great team is a unit working towards the same goals.
The direction of your team should come from the leaders and the leaders should provide direction that reflects the goals of each teammate. It has to work both ways. As a leader, I listen to the goals of my teammates and then help them work towards the goals we’ve established. Our goal is to compete in eastern regionals by 2015. When the league was established, it was with a competitive direction. As coaches, we meet with the girls to find out their individual goals and then lay out our goals for practices based on what they want. But the most important thing is that everyone in the team is united in their direction. Everyone MUST realize the goals of the team and make contributions towards those goals. That is what a team is. I cannot compete in regionals by myself. A team makes possible what is impossible to do by yourself.
You may have a goal to be the top jammer, but that goal may not be team oriented. If someone transfers who scores more points than you do- then you should be stoaked to have them! It should motivate you to make improvements and contribute to your team, but if your motivation is selfish than you are not being a good teammate. If I want to score more points, it is not because I want to score more than my other teammate; it is because I want to contribute to the score of my team.
Watching eastern regionals this past weekend I saw teams that operated as a unit. The best teams were those who communicated effectively and worked together towards a common goal on the track. They were not trying to block for glory. They were each contributing 110% and working together. That is a team. When I’m blocking, I’m a point- but so is each other member of my pack. I do not want the jammer to get around me, but if in my quest to lay the jammer on her ass- she ends up getting around my teammate, then what good have I done?
Wolves (bear with me) hunt together. Each wolf is hungry, but they understand that in order to eat as individuals, they must hunt together. They are a pack, and in roller derby- so are we.