So about that first practice, and first time on skates since a birthday party when I was about 8 years old hah! I had to go straight to practice from work, which really sucks when its a recruit free skate night, and you dont have your own gear yet. I had a friend of mine grab me skates, all that were there were size 8, no 8 1/2....and I didnt ask for pads, so I ended up with a smorgisboard of peoples pads and pads from the stinky bin of "rentals". One thing I can tell you, one night with stinky falling apart pads that barely fit you and you will be instantly motivated to get your own gear ASAP!!!
Stinky too small pads aside, I laced up the tight skates and mentally prepared myself while watching all of the more experienced women zoom around the track. Which is rather intimidating at first, but all of the women were very helpful and supportive, one even stopped what she was doing to ask if I needed help....I chose to observe a bit more, and ask myself "are you friggin crazy? you cant skate!"
***A little background, I am not the most graceful of people and I am scared of falling...I think because I never really did daring things as a kid...no skateboarding or anything like that***
So, I finally decided to use the room divider next to me to pull myself up onto the skates. When I first started out I was doing the whole panic, skate with both legs moving back and forth in straight lines like a wild child....which I honestly think is more likely to make you fall! I did this a couple of times around the track, until another friend of mine zoomed up and decided I needed to learn how to fall.
Brilliant idea, that honestly saved the night...my friend even loaned me her knee pads (top of the line and very pillow like!) So I start falling on one knee, then the other...and let me tell you, once you know the proper way to fall your fear melts away! I must have practiced falling about 10 times, then we went back out on the track, I was much more confident and not nearly as horrified of falling. My friend who saved the skates for me gave me some other pointers- NEVER EVER put your hands on the floor and if you do, make a fist if you would like to keep your fingers...that makes sense...now lets just hope I can remember that when I am mid fall in the future!
I learned derby stance, which is very much like the main stance in Tai Chi. How it was explained to me "you skate like you are hovering over a public toilet" Ok, easy enough right, its like a permanent mid-squat but while rollerskating as well! I started practicing derby stance while skating, and felt a lot more stable and fluid in my motions...much less panic. It brings your center of gravity lower to the ground so you can take hits easier! After warming up, skating like a stiff board, learning to fall properly and learning derby stance...I skated around and chatted with friends and became a lot more secure in what I was doing..and you know what, all that worrying and I never fell! Not a single time (well other than when learning how to fall!)
Since Tuesday night I have been so anxious to get to practice again, I cant wait until I am advanced enough to practice with them 3 times a week! I absolutely love everything so far, even my sore thighs!
When I used to do Tai Chi, I would stand in the stance for 5 minutes, then 10 and keep going up and seeing how long I could hold it. I am going to start this for derby, standing before bed in derby stance as long as I possibly can, to build strength in my legs! I love the strength behind roller derby, and I also love that a lot of it is in the legs because I ride my bicycle a lot and I think they will compliment each other nicely!