Here's to the COACHES!

Coaches in derby walk a fine line of being tough, supportive, knowledgeable, and most of all flexible. Likely they are stars on the leagues' travel team, members of the board, and committee heads, in addition to having personal lives (when?). Without them we couldn’t teach new skaters to keep our leagues alive, enhance our skills as skaters, or safely recover from and prevent injury. Coaches fill so many roles in a league that I thought we should dedicate a post just to them.

Coaches provide a service to the players that moves well beyond helping us to skate more effectively. They act as filters and motivators to keep talented skaters stretching themselves as well as being cheerleaders to those of us that…..well….. kinda suck.

Ability versus Commitment 

Great coaches seem to have a skill to identify early on those who really care from those who may be talented but won’t contribute in other ways to the league. While ability is helpful to score points and wins games, it does’t make sure that flyers get distributed or help to sell tickets. Skill is lovely but without commitment to the league it seems to mean very little. 

These are personal attributes that could be the best and worst in people and are often the things that segregate skaters in most leagues. Natural talent comes in handy, but more often than not it is those that work at their skills that become players in travel teams and compete at a national and regional levels. 

It’s also those that give up their personal time to fundraise and organize their fellow skaters that keep the machinery moving. When those with natural talent mix their skills with dedication, magic happens, but more often than not it’s the sweat of practice and herding cats skaters that puts points on the scoreboard.

Its the coaching team that take the time to understand the need for all types of people that make up a league and create the environment that keeps them engaged. Their talents go so much farther than just breaking down drills and driving practices.

The Pet

Every coach seems to have one. A skater that while not naturally talented, has the heart it takes to be an asset on their team. This is the skater that works the drills with determination, asks for feedback at every turn, and works to actually apply it in their day to day practices. Coaches take these hard working ladies and gents under their wing and help them to improve and celebrate their wins.

The other day I was speaking to a skater that has some fantastic skills. She talked about being the weakest link in her Fresh Meat intake, but told me how the head coach spent time upskilling her. She probably would have quit early on when her skills weren’t at the same level as her peers were it not for this coach.

This happens everyday and should not be overlooked. Without the extra attention someone who makes a massive commitment to making our league a fun and profitable thing to be a part of might have been lost.

It takes a great coach to prevent that loss. 

So, if you are a coach be it senior or junior, know that while we may not say it we appreciate that you are the glue that holds leagues together. 

Thank You Coaches!

Personal thanks to my coaches new and old: Terror Satana, Ruby Knuckles, LEE-thal Weapon, Sugar Hit, Machete Confetti, Flyin’ Brian, Kid Vicious, Coup De’Talia, Myrtle Kombat, Skate the Muss, Tutan Karnage and Lady Trample. 

Additional credit also goes out to all of the skaters and NSO’s in Pirate City Rollers that take the time to keep the league running, break down a drill, let me test my skills on them; and help remind me to get low, bend my knees, and practice my ass off.

About The Author

DOB: 11/1/1977

Skate. Sleep. Eat. Repeat.

Swerving around on the track or at the rink leaves me smiling in a way few things ever have. Because of this I made the decision to put my skates back on after an almost two-year hiatus and started skating in Auckland New Zealand with the Pirate City Rollers.


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