Making The Most of Your Injury
Being hurt and sidelined from derby sucks. You'll think about derby before you go to bed and wake up to visions of running on your toe stops. You'll twitch, without realizing it, when you watch someone blocking. It's a jones that can drive a woman to drink. So, you can cozy up to the whiskey in misery or you can use this time to get better at derby. There are plenty of great blogs about how to manage your injury. This isn't one of them, but you're invited to check out these links:
The rest of what you're about to read is about making the most of your down time in order to improve your performance when you return. Here are five ways to become a better derby player and teammate when injured.
1. DON'T DISAPPEAR.
If you're physically out from two weeks to two months, or longer, and you plan to return, examine your league's attendance requirements, and not just because it's the right thing to do. Your by-lays will outline attendance requirement for voting and playing. Don't expect to show up after months of being absent and keep or be given a prime spot in play rotation...that is rude and disrespectful to those who've put in the time. If you're bedridden, vomiting, or otherwise without the ability to walk, then of course that's a different story. If you're mobile, you should still be a mandatory practices. Be a leader. If you have a hurt knee or hip, for example, you can still participate in some team conditioning (planks, pushups). No matter who you are, you can benefit from more core work. Do what you can within the limits of your injury to keep your core strong and ready for play. Set the example.
2. PICK UP THE SLACK.
Let's assume your practice location rotates and you don't have a permanent track, as is the case with my league. We rotate between 3-4 floors. We have to set and remove the track for each practice. Regardless of the surface, it needs to be swept before practice. Pick the slack for your head of training and get on the broom to get that shit done. If you've never set up a track, this is your time to learn. The point is there is plenty of work to do that has otherwise been done by someone else. Use this time to lessen the work load for someone else. Maintain attendance records, manage the clock for laps and record times, pick up the track while everyone else is getting out of gear or volunteer to wash those panties.
3. CONSIDER COACHING.
You likely have all levels of skaters in your league. Your head of training or coach for new skaters could probably use a break, or at the very least, some help. Volunteer to plan and conduct a practice for your new skaters.
4. WATCH YOUR SCRIMMAGERS.
Pay attention when your scrimmagers are on the floor. You can learn a great deal by watching what your teammates and coaches do...you'll learn where the holes are, what needs to improve, and what could've been done differently. Begin thinking about how you will fill those holes. Don't underestimate the power of observation. It can keep you motivated, but educated at the same time.
This is my least favorite. Refereeing stresses me out, but the more you know what back blocking looks like, the less likely you are (hopefully) to do it. Track cuts, elbows, directional play, failure to reform...knowing it when you see it will help you avoid it. AND since you'll want to call insubordination penalties on any player who gives you lip, you'll develop a healthy respect for those who choose to ref.
Being out doesn't have to mean being down. Grab a broom, grab a whistle, or ask what people need. You'll learn a hell of a lot in the process of healing.
Dawn of the Dead - Aroostock Roller Derb