Photo courtesy Pamela Wade Photography.
I coach a fresh meat session, I love to cap off with a goofy game. After two hours
of sweat, new skills, and structured drills, everyone deserves some light-hearted fun. Sore muscles and lingering worries melt away. The night ends on a high note, punctuated by shrieks and hysterical giggles.
Games are also incredibly powerful training
tools, particularly in fresh meat. They solidify new skills, reduce inhibitions, and put skaters in
a mindset where they simply do rather than try. I’ve seen a game of tag
transform a group of shy wallflowers
into fleet-footed mountain goats: leaping, juking, laughing, and - wow, was that a hockey stop?!
Here are a couple of my favourites:
Hot Dog Tag
Rules: One or two people are “it”. The rest of the
group works as a team to stay free. When tagged, a player must lie
down on the floor as a “hot dog”. To be freed, two team mates must lie alongside
the hot dog as “buns”. All players skaters can now stand up and keep skating. The
game ends when all players are stuck on the ground, or when time runs out.
This fun tag variation is useful in helping new skaters grow
accustomed to the floor. Plus, getting up and down over and over works wonders in terms of endurance.
Source: A common elementary school game. I first saw it
applied to derby at All Derby Drills.
The Chocolate Game
Rules: Each skater is given a few individually-wrapped
chocolates or pieces of candy on a paper plate. The skater holds these out in
front of his/herself. The chocolates must be kept in view, in front of each
player at all times (no obscuring them with a hand, or putting them in
pockets, or waving the plate around, or raising it up to the ceiling). On the
whistle, the game starts. Players skate around and attempt to steal
chocolates from each other. Fallen chocolates may be picked up by anyone and
added to their own plate. The winner
is whoever collects the most chocolates after a set length of time.
This is a tasty way to celebrate birthdays or the end of fresh meat. Recommended for intermediate skaters, due to tripping
hazards and a tendency for the game to get very competitive! Use paper plates; plastic plates can break and form sharp edges.
Source: Originally created by Tim Wheals of Eastbourne Skate
game transforms your internal struggles into external objectives. Instead
of being caught up in the technical details of a particular skill, you’re
concentrating on an overarching goal. You do a four-point fall because your friend
is languishing on the floor and you need to be her bun, not
because your coach is asking you to four-point fall. You juke because your precious
chocolate hoard is under threat, not because the coach is asking you to juke. Your body moves naturally and responds instinctively.
Instead of hesitating, you throw
yourself forward. Instead of reaching for the wall, you skilfully slow
yourself down. Because for
the next three minutes, you are not a bewildered fresh meat skater. You are a
hot dog. A hot dog
that can hockey stop.