I did it! Yesterday I finally got scrim passed!
So I can’t celebrate too much as I’m still not minimum skills passed but I’m almost there. To be scrim passed with my league you have to have passed section 5 on the WFTDA minimum skills, passed the rules test and have 80% passed overall.
Last night I just hit the 80% mark which meant that today I actually got to scrim with everyone else. Although the scrim felt pretty similar to other scrims I’d done, there was definitely less hitting than usual but still as confusing as I remember. I didn’t find it as scary as some of the drills that we do where someone barrels straight into you because technically I could do scrim drills before I was scrim passed but I couldn’t scrim. It was always confusing because drills can be scarier than scrimming (in my opinion anyway). The others were grinning like crazy though at the prospect of hitting me with their full force (and a few hits did knock me over spectacularly) but I sort of got the feeling that they were being a little easier on me than usual (which was fine because I’m recovering from a cold so wasn’t ready for full-on scrimming).
I had two skills that needed passing before I was scrim passed, and I chose backwards skating and giving inside whips. I’d tried the inside whip one before but failed because my arm basically collapsed and caused me to lose my balance. This time I got the team skaters to break it down (really break it down) and get them to show me how it’s done (although inside whips aren’t used as often as outside ones we all agreed). Then I added some speed and got passed! Backwards skating was something I had been meaning to pass for awhile as I’ve probably had my laps under 20 seconds for at least a month, maybe more but the last time we did testing I was so tired that I couldn’t do them which was really frustrating. The second time I tried to test them they didn’t count as I needed 2 testers but only had 1 even though everyone knew at that point that I could do it (like my freaking transitions which I did fine for 2 hours of free skating until someone looked at me and then I fell over. Didn’t pass those for another week)
I’m still a pre-mins which means I can’t play in games and stuff like that but that’s fine (for now) as I can at least scrim and practise some jamming/blocking/anything in a sort of game environment. The only other one who is left is Crusher but she has around half of her skills to do and she’s super close to finishing section 5 so hopefully she’ll be passed soon.
Now to finish the last few skills!
To be able to actually scrim at full contact/eventually be considered for a spot on the team, I have to pass the minimum skills that the WFDTA dictate (hence being called pre mins since I’m ‘pre minimum skills’).
Each league does the testing differently, mine does testing twice a month on Saturdays with the possibility of getting more ticked off at a different session depending on the number of pre mins at that session/if there’s something you’ve wanted to tick off for awhile but haven’t had the chance to.
I’ve only passed a handful so far (the super easy ones, like skullcrushers and skating with ‘good form’) but am working my way up to some of the harder ones and the pack section too (which requires other people to participate).
At training last night I learnt how to do a T stop (required but I’d never had it broken down before) and then we were also taught how to derby stop (not required but useful to know) and then at the end the pre mins had to show off their derby stop to the team skaters (I fell, by the way) but one of them said they liked my jump and I don’t really know how I jumped but it must have been when I was transitioning round. Anyway, it made me feel a bit better, even if I did fall over because I’d been afraid to use my toe stops up until then and I’m still not 100% confident at using them (toe stop run, anyone?).
I might take a long time to pass my minimum skills, but learning new things and being able to tick off a few at a time is enough for now (until I have more time and can practise more).
The final block of fresh meat involved more blocking and learning more about the rules of roller derby, as the scrims are so fast that we don’t really have time to process what happened and the skaters are too busy switching roles to explain it to us (sometimes they can but that depends on how many people there are).
We did more pace line drills, but making the gap between each person smaller so you had to really focus on actually weaving around the people and not just blindly skating through. We usually had two pace lines (one for fresh meat and one for team skaters) and we also had to avoid crashing into the other pace line which was harder than we all expected. We did pace line races too (who could get through the line the fastest).
Our final fresh meat session included transitions which we hadn’t done much of before. I’m okay going one way around but going the other way is almost impossible at the moment as I end up just falling over for some reason but it’s mostly likely due to me not being balanced. We did a jump transition which I wasn’t good at on either side but again I think that’s due to my lack of balance as I can’t land on my skates very well (I recently lowered my toe stops so I’ll see how that goes with stopping as I’ve not been using them that much so far).
We had a few practice scrims too, where the team skaters would mix in with the fresh meat and guide us through strategy and how to block better (stay low, hips and shoulders together…) and a few times we got to watch the team skaters do an actual scrim and they’re so fast it’s amazing (and they also know what they’re doing too).
That’s it for fresh meat! It felt like it wasn’t that long but my house mates kept saying that it’s 12 weeks which is a long time. I think it did give me the foundations though, I still can’t do crossovers but it gave me an idea of what it’ll be like if I carried on (I’m still skating so that’s a good sign :D)
I’m meant to be uploading another post about the second block of Fresh Meat but I just got back from today’s session and I’m still pretty buzzed from actually doing something (sort of well) today 😀
We were practising transitions, I don’t know the exact name for this one but it’s where you pivot on your front wheels and then skate backwards after. It was hard to not jump and do it since jumping wastes quite a bit of energy and I fell over at least half a dozen times. It was easier when I was moving though, doing it standing still was really hard and I barely moved at all. I wasn’t sure if I felt stable enough to actually do it but I managed it a few times, although I did have to practise going up on my front wheels to get used to the feeling.
The last twenty minutes were full of scrimmage drills. Only the team skaters can do actual scrimmages but we can do drills, which seem very similar but not at the same time, if that makes sense? We were split up into two teams (white and black, half team skaters and half pre-mins) and had 10 on each team so we could split into two groups each time. I was in the second set and put myself forward to jam (I’m usually one of the first to put myself forward even though I’m still pretty bad but I want to get better and the only way to do that is to actually throw myself into it, not literally, of course).
Jammers had two options for this drill, to transition on the edge of the track around a blocker or to push them out of the way. I don’t have enough strength (or anger) to push anyone, I could barely push two blockers in an earlier drill, so attempting to get past four was not going to happen. So I opted for the transition instead. And I actually did it. It’s a small thing, I know but I felt like I’ve achieved something. I couldn’t do the transition in the normal drill but throw me the star and somehow I can transition around a blocker (although I did fall over after and have to do it again since one blocker got in front and I for some reason assumed I’d have to do it again when I could have just skated around normally) but the fact that I actually did it made me so happy. I was so not expecting to get around the blocker to be honest, figuring that I would need a few attempts but somehow I found a gap and took advantage of it. Everyone seemed impressed (and equally surprised) that I did it and it felt so awesome to have the team skaters say that I did something well (even though they probably find it super easy).
It’s just a minor thing, but it makes me feel like I’m progressing and actually getting somewhere with my skating, even though there’s a long way to go.