The perception of whether or not your coaches assess consistently or have bias can be as important as whether they do or not. Perfectly lovely and logical skaters get twitchy and think that so and so only failed them on their [insert x] because they don't like them/ didn't see/ is a harder assessor than the other ones...
We want to be conscious of our position of privilege and acknowledge that others need an opportunity to be in the center. We need to do more than just prop a door open. Sometimes we need to leave the room. Or at least sit back against the wall and leave a clear the path to the buffet. This is where we are in European roller derby. This is where the thinking has got to but there’s a whole lot of “what does that look like?”
From the minute someone sets wheels on your track, I want them to be thinking for themselves. This starts with skills. Coach them to self-assess, self-correct, and innovate from how they do a better plow stop to how they get their jammer through a pack. My role is to give them the framework and the tools to sort it all out.
Let’s take a minute to talk about role definition and training.
It’s a great idea. I mean, it’s how other sports do it. It allows your players to get really strong at the skills they need for a specific role. It allows them to excel as a role. It gives players focus. It makes for straightforward lesson planning. It means you don’t really need a Line Up Manager (in the original sense of the bench role) and you can put analytical and specialised coaches on the bench.
You might think that rowing and roller derby are pretty different sports. Actually, no two ways about it, they are different sports. But there are key principles in common. These principles are probably common across other sports too, but I’ve not coached those ones, so you get to hear about rowing and roller derby.