Thursday, January 26, 2012

Knock Knock... Who's There? My Knees....

I got a follow-up email about a previous blog I wrote, where a skater asked about overcoming knock-kneed stuff. I've gotta be honest with you, I didn't do right by my body with that, my first.... 8 years of roller derby...

But I am now!

Did you know you can actually train a lot of that knocked-ness out?? I know, blew my mind. Here's some recommended links:


Videos below to go with this article:

For those Pilates inclined:

Side Lunges

Side Step Ups

Hip Abduction

With A Big Blue Ball

Wall Sits

I can be seen doing these exercises during warm ups, on the side, and in between drills in a city near you! After years of being a good skater, I'm now learning to be the good athlete I wish I'd been before. 

If you have an area to improve on, go ahead and get started on that. You'll be glad you did when you feel stronger and can go for longer without pain, or even remembering what nature gave you to start with!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Injury Fear Monster

Last year I wrote a blog about Derby Mental Injuries. Another aspect to this is Physical Fear.

It's something I know all about. My first bout I did something dumb that caused a sprained neck. Did you know you could sprain a neck?? It's a lot like a sprained ankle, but you can't turn your head for 6 weeks.

When I came back to the game, there was a physical fear that was in my body. Not just my mind, but my body itself was now afraid of roller derby.

The good news is that I went on to play for many years after that, getting better every year!
The unfortunate truth is that shaking off that fear takes patience w/yourself.

Here's my advice on making your big comeback, and shaking the fear from an old injury out of your body:

1) Take healing seriously.
If immobility is what you need: be immobile.
If tedious-terrible-annoying physio exercises are what you need: do them.
If yoga /stretching/strength training, acupuncture, or massage are what you need: do it.

Whatever it is you need to heal, do exactly that. Mentally, and physically, the conscious choice to heal correctly is an important part of the process, because it gives you time to do just that: process. Injuries can be kind of shocking.

So while you're healing you get time to get over that shock. And while you're rehabbing, you're shaking the shock out out of the body. One grueling exercise at a time.

2) Skate alone, and start anew.
Alone time on your skates is one of the most valuable tools in skating. Even in a team sport, you and your skates need to have a special relationship. That means you'll need alone time.

Going over basic skills, skating outside, or just wearing them in the house on your day off. The skates need to feel like an extension of your foot, and not the scary monsters in the closet that made you get hurt.

Have some fun on your skates, alone, and take your league's most beginner classes, before you're throwing yourself back into pack play situations. Just to get reacquainted.

3) Fall down. Get back up. A lot.
Falling down and getting back up can be either a scary, or empowering situation. Depending on where you're at mentally. I like to throw myself on the ground tell myself to get back up before anyone else gets the chance to. Especially before a returning practice/bout.

That way the ground/track don't feel like a foreign, scary place to end up. It's just part of a good, committed warm up. I still do this sometimes, even coaching, if I'm having an off say on my skates. Just to feel like a boss.

4) Write some new goals and affirmations.

Injuries feel like they're taking you back to where you used to be, but they're not. You'll never be the skater you used to be, you'll always be the new you.

The new you is forced to take the time to work his/her way back up. So... maybe the new you makes/takes the time to become an even more skilled, strong and athletic person than the old you ever bothered to be? Writing some new goals, and coming to new resolves will help you be the new person.

Let the old you go, that version of you is in the past. Who do you want to be now??

I've seen so many skaters COME BACK be better skaters than they EVER were before, (including myself, and I did it several times) by taking the time to do it right. Just tell yourself that you're one of those, if you want to shake off the fear monster and play as a better version of you than the world has ever seen!

Just take the time, and be patient with yourself. You can totally do it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Philosophy And Roller Derby

"Easy is right. Begin right
And you are easy.
Continue easy and you are right.
The right way to go is easy"

~ Chuang Tzu ~

This is one of my favorite quotes, that I really aim to live by. I know how quotes can be just kind of a flowery mash of words if skipped over too quickly, so if you're in the mood for philosophy and roller derby... Let's get into it.

This particular quote really altered my entire process of decision making in roller derby. Younger Bonnie's decision making came from asking myself, "Is this the right thing to do?

Which became a real mind fuck a few years later, when I started to wrap my head around more philosophical concepts like... Maybe there's some right and wrong. Or maybe it's all subjective and there is no real "right or wrong"???

You can see how being a young philosopher, and trying to do the "right" thing all the time got to be kind of at odds with each other. I felt like I was judging myself all the time, before anyone else would have a chance to, I guess. 
It's very hard to be genuine and be "right" all at the same time. 

And that's when I found this quote, and thought... Shazaam! Now my decision making more often comes from a place of  "Does this feel right?"

And usually when things feel right, there's a certain easiness there. When things feel arduous, tedious or strained, it's time to ask "What needs to change to make things feel right again?"  

For example: 

When I first started driving to Los Angeles for roller derby, it was actually really easy for me to do! Sometimes the "rush hour" traffic would make the trip 3 hours long. But I had music and my imagination, and time just flew right by.

A couple years later, when I no longer had a truck to drive there, things were really hard. Nothing was really working, and it was time to make change. 

Out of that need for change, San Diego Derby Dolls came to be. And you know what? Getting that league started was one of the easiest, most invigorating, exciting things I've ever done to this day! Ever since then, and even just today, I've been making choices based on this philosophy. 

Because even a shitload of hard work can still feel easy if the energy's right.


Why would a modern day, tattooed, foul mouthed roller derby coach from California would be so enamored with the work of a 4th century BC, Chinese philosopher...  How did that happen?! No clue. But it feels right, and easy. xoxo