5 Things I Learned at Fresh Meat Bootcamp

Last month four of us freshies from DRD decided to go to a pre-minimum skills bootcamp with RCRG in Oldham. Elizabeth drove Katie, Shannon and myself down there and back for a whole day of practicing minimum skills from one of the best packs, alongside other relative newbies to roller derby.

The others were really excited for the day, but I have found my progress on skates to be slow and scary, so I was going with a tummy full of trepidation! Here are the top 5 things I feel I left the bootcamp with that day.

1. Every floor is different: When we first arrived what surprised us most I think is the unusual venue the Rainy City girls have. The Thunderdome’s track had been created from what felt to me like temporary ice rink plastic jigsaw flooring.

I had not even considered skating on a floor that was different from our sports hall, and after my first lap I decided that today was not going to go well and that I couldn't roll as far or as fast and I really did not like the lumps and bumps.

I learned then that I would become more adaptable if I practiced on different surfaces. During the session I even found I was able to do moves I could not do on the sports hall floor: the slower speed gave me the confidence to succeed at T-stops for the first time.

2. Looks can be deceiving: Often the moves that look simple leave me feeling like Bambi on skates. I know what I want my limbs to do but they won’t co-operate!

I found during the bootcamp that the reverse can also sometimes be true, and what is hard to someone may be easier for someone else. Skating backwards, although a bit daunting, looks like something I should be able to do, but it was not happening! I will blame the floor for now, but I could not get myself moving facing the wrong way.

When we tried laterals, however, a few people groaned and complained. We had not tried these yet in our DRD training sessions, so I was pleasantly surprised when I took to them quicker than I expected. We’ve all got strengths in different areas, so don’t let yourself be put off if someone else tells you a move is difficult!

3. There are muscles in my legs: This sounds an obvious, and yes I was aware before bootcamp!

I didn’t, however, realise all of the muscles that are in my legs, or have felt them burn..! It was tough keeping going for a full day, working the muscles, but it’s definitely worth it. I am stronger in my legs now than I have ever been, and it’s building me a stronger core which is making me better at pretty much everything!

4. Everyone wants you to do well: It must have been the term ‘bootcamp’ that had made me feel like the Rainy City girls would be bullying us into working hard and pushing ourselves all day. It was gruelling and they did expect us to try our hardest, but they really did want us to succeed.

It wasn’t just the trackside pros that were supportive- everyone we met at the session was helpful, not competitive, and we assisted each other with tips and encouragement all day. No one was going to laugh if we didn’t quite succeed, because everyone wanted to improve. It was a great atmosphere!

5. The only thing stopping you is you: The biggest thing I took away was definitely to battle through my mental barriers.

Most of the reasons why I personally am not racing around the track doing perfect crossovers is because I am afraid! I am scared of falling and injury, but perhaps more significantly I am scared of failure, and trying something that I find I can’t do. 
It’s hard to fight what your brain is telling you, but just because you can’t pick something up on your first, second or tenth try, doesn’t mean you will never be able to do it. Telling yourself that you can’t only makes that worse, so tell yourself that you can!

The only person stopping you from really going for it and pushing outside your comfort zone is you; so stay positive and keep trying!
Written by: Erica Macleod DRD Freshmeat

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