March 28, 2013

Investing in Yourself

Earlier this year, I promised myself that instead of making excuses for myself and just "going through the motions" at practice, that I would make this year the year.  I would do all of the things I've never done; like the Apex Jump, be a lead jammer in a WFTDA sanctioned bout, play in a tournament, and become the jukey little monster I've always wanted to be. I meant it.  I've been making huge changes in my eating and workout habits, so why do I feel like I've plateaued?  Why do I feel like I haven't done anything productive since October?

Well, you might say, "Skank, it's only been a few weeks since you've made these changes, and results don't happen overnight."  This is true, and I expect that these changes will start taking hold in a couple of months, but the real reason why I think I haven't been improving is because I'm simply not taking the risks.  I come to practice, work hard, but I'm really not forcing myself to try the things I've never done before.  I'm not breaking through my reservations and fears.  So what if I don't pull off the 360 degree turn to avoid a hit?  So what if I get my ass plowed to the ground?  If I do it over and over again then someday I will pull it off and it will all have been worth it.

So how do you keep from plateauing?  How do we keep from just 'staying the course?'  I feel like as fresh meat and veterans we are constantly worried about sinking into a rut.

1.You have to work out outside of roller derby.  Many ladies will hear this, cringe, and immediately stop reading.  I do not care.  If you do not work out outside of roller derby you will continue to use the same muscles in the same way at the same speeds every time.  The only way to progress physically is to use different muscles in different ways at different speeds.  "But Skank," you may say, "I already dedicate too much time to derby, I can't dedicate more time to working out."  That's fine, but you probably won't improve.  It's your choice.  You can also utilize small amounts of time, like getting up 15 minutes earlier than normal and doing some pushups and burpees.  Do some oblique exercises before bed, or some core on your lunch break.  Instead of walking around your house, lunge.  Every little bit counts, and as those muscles get stronger you will be able to really start using them.  Lastly, don't think of it as losing time, think of it as an investment.  You're investing in your own body.

2. You must improve your eating habits.  I almost felt a collective "sigh" as I wrote that one down, but it's the same concept.  Food really is fuel.  Think of going to the gas station and filling up your gas tank.  Wouldn't you want to fill your car with what makes it perform the best?  If you fill it with diesel fuel; heavy foods with additives and preservatives, you're body will be slow and heavy, like a big rig.  Start treating your body like a Porsche, a tiny little sports care that explodes with speed and can corner like a dream.  This will allow your body to put on muscle and become so much more powerful than it already is.

3. Always be trying something new.  This is the one I struggle with the most.  We all have that few minutes of free skate before practice starts, the few minutes of cool down, and sometimes a little in between drills.  Utilize this time for your benefit!  These precious moments are the ones we have to work on our jumps, footwork, turns, juking, and stops.  After we feel safe, we can start using them in scrimmage, and that's when it really gets interesting.  The moment when you pull off a new skill you have never completed is so choice.  So be your own hero and become someone else's derby crush for a change.

The moral of the story is, no on can improve your game but you.  You are the only one who can push yourself to go harder, longer, and faster.  No amount of coaching, peer pressure, or captaining can make you a better skater, the choice has always been, and always will be, yours.  It's hard to take accountability for myself when I already feel sleep deprived and short on time, but if I really want to become a person that I can be proud of, I need to start investing, and stop paying the minimum amount on my credit card.  I hope you'll join me.



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