Regular readers of this blog will know that I totes think you could be awesome at Roller Derby. Yes, you. I believe from the bottom of my happy derby heart that there are ways to train smart and hard and use goals and deliberate practice to unlock your Derby Dreams. I’m nerdy about this stuff (and I know a lot of you are too). With commitment and persistence and over time you will do things on track that you thought were beyond you.
I also see us sometimes mentally punishing ourselves for not hitting targets, or for things that are outside of our control. Not just being sad, that something didn’t happen, but berating ourselves for not being ‘good’ enough.
It’s an insidious little habit where we move from a helpful observation to adding an unhelpful judgement about ourselves onto the end of it. Let’s break it down:
- Goal: keep hips forwards in scrimmage. (cool. we like specific goals)
- Observation: oops, did not keep my hips forwards as much as I needed to. (cool. we like specific observations)
- Depressing Self Judgement: because I am crap at Roller Derby. (whoah. nope. not the step three we were looking for).
Look how sad it makes this puppy:
Goals and observations are awesome! They give you achievable destinations and feedback to help get you get there. And feedback is, like the oxygen of champions. Yeah – I see you breathing that feedback-rich air champ.
But we have to think about a different step three. Because berating ourselves for not being ‘good’ enough, for not making a team or roster pick, for not nailing that skill exactly on the schedule you planned – doesn’t help. Don’t confuse it with being honest with yourself. Honesty is awesome. But honesty is step 2.
We need to be gentler with our battered derby brains. We always strap a helmet on to keep our brain safe from the outside. It’s time to use some gentle and keep it safe from the inside.
Invest in the dreams and the goals and the deliberate practice. But understand which bits of derby those things can change and which bits they can’t. You can work your behind off, but Bonnie Thunders transfers to your league and snags that remaining roster spot – well, there’s not much you can do about that in the short term. Commit to the things you can control – what you put into training, how you watch footage. Do not berate yourself for the things outside of your control and decide it’s because you are not good enough.
Replace step three with:
3. So I will….
Didn’t keep your hips forward in scrimmage? ‘So I will…’ make that a focus for drills next session and ask my team mate to keep reminding me. Didn’t make that roster spot? ‘So I will….’ ask my Captain for feedback on what I can work on and how best to do it.
Be gentle with yourself. Not being able to do a skill or having a shitty training session doesn’t make you crap at derby, or life. I one hundred percent believe that you can nail that skill, and that next trainig session will be better. And by skipping the bit where you are mean to yourself and moving to the bit where you just pick the next action you are going to take, you can make sad puppy so happy:
I know this is so much easier said than done. Try thinking about your favourite team mate. Now imagine telling them ‘ Oh? You are struggling with apex jumps? Yeah – that’s just because you are a bit crap.’
Eeeek – I just imagined it. It’s HIDEOUS. You would NEVER talk to another skater that way. Not least, because it’s not true. Now imagine what you would actually say ‘Oh? You are struggling with apex jumps? Try spring loading your leg more’.
See the difference? Remember – you are one of your team mates too! Treat yourself with the same respect that you always dole out to the rest of the league. Your deserve it.