A New Year’s Guide to Goal-Setting

With the New Year rapidly approaching and the Brewcity Bruisers’ 2015 home season beginning on January 17, it’s the perfect time to talk fitness and derby-related resolutions. As a Shevil Knevil rookie, I am happy to say that my #1 resolution for 2014 came to fruition by being drafted into BCB, and that my smaller training resolutions that got me to this point were met step by hard-fought step along the way. Looking ahead to the New Year, I thought it would be great to ask a long-time veteran skater about goal-setting tips for athletic success and plans for the 2015 season. Having survived her butt-kicking and ab-torching practices during tryouts, an obvious choice for advice is Super Hera, a powerhouse in pink and captain of Maiden Milwaukee, who takes her personal commitment to fitness and the training of her team to a truly “super” level.

Not surprisingly, Hera calls goals “the single most important factor in achieving greatness” because they “provide the focus and drive a person needs to move forward and improve.”

“Everything good in my life I have accomplished as the result of setting a goal,” she said.

Hera got serious about New Year’s goal-setting beginning in middle school, when she would write out all the things she wanted to achieve for the year in magic marker onto a piece of paper that she would tape beside her bedroom door.

“There are some ground rules in goal-setting,” she said. “The first is that the goal has to be realistic. You never want to set yourself up for failure and there are some things that no amount of hard work can reach. The sub-rule of this is making sure you set a time frame for completion. Guaranteed, you won’t get the same kind of results if you have some fluffy ‘someday’ kind of mentality.”

Many of Hera’s goals have involved fitness. Despite growing up in a small Wisconsin town where joggers were rare and gyms were few, her love of sports grew into setting and conquering athletic challenges from her teenage years onward. At first, she started small.

During her sophomore year in high school, she set a goal of participating in a run. “Distance? Unimportant. Time? Doesn’t matter. The idea was that running in a group with other runners in an organized event might be cool and I wanted to try it.”

Despite the winter cold and not being a morning person, she said she started getting up before school to run with a Walkman stuffed into the back of her sports bra playing a dubbed tape of the Rocky soundtrack.

“I came to love starting my day with a run, being outside in the cold morning air and feeling like I had this strong secret—I was doing something a lot of other people weren’t.”

And while she did not participate in an organized run that year, she said it “started something epic” for her that grew into her first 10K run, other organized races, and lots of neighborhood running that gave her the courage to participate in her first triathlon.

“I knew that if I didn’t die in the swim or kill myself on the bike, I could finish with a strong run. And I did.”

Throughout the past few years, Hera said her athletic goals have revolved around “a first.”

“First half marathon, first Olympic distance triathlon, first half Ironman, first marathon, first open-water swim in Lake Michigan, first bike ride out of the county. There is always a way to make this training session or this race the first ‘fill-in-the-blank,’ which feels much easier than seeing it merely as a stepping stone to something else.”

As for roller derby goals, Hera said that they are trickier due to the nature of derby being a team sport.

“You are not in control of your team’s success or failure: you can only do your part. Your part can be small: showing up on time, showing up with your body prepared to work at the level your team needs to succeed (conditioning in your own time!!), not being a distraction, (and) having a good attitude to contribute to a team-energy conducive to success.”

Hera said that for many years, due to school and work obligations, she had to focus primarily on these smaller goals. Now as a team captain, she said she’s “been given the opportunity and responsibility to have a larger part.”

“In addition to the ‘small’ goals, I have to think about being a good leader: I need to create and lead meaningful practices, expand my knowledge of strategy and rules, (and) be conscientious and available enough to recognize when individual skaters need some extra attention for derby or personal reasons.”

“Let’s be honest, what I want to write on my hypothetical magic marker goal list by my bedroom door is WIN THE BCB TROPHY!!!!! But, I know the best I can do is do things within my power to make myself the best teammate I can be and to create an environment for my teammates to do the same.”

Hera said her list of goals contain the following:

  • Be bout-ready by cross-training a minimum of 3 days/week and eating clean in the days leading up to the bout
  • Make practice a priority for both home and travel teams
  • Each-one, teach-one by providing quality learning opportunities through thought-out, complete practice plans that combine work and fun (with good music)
  • Show the softer side of Super Hera by making a conscious effort to reach out to skaters to show care and concern

Hera hopes her plan “leads to 2015 Maiden Milwaukee domination.” (Writer’s note to opposing teams: consider yourself warned!)

But Hera said that regardless of which team wins, “I know that this home season will leave me with lessons and memories (almost) as meaningful.”

–Pariah Carey

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