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.
I wasn’t beside her when she fell…. Should I have been? Should I have noticed if the drill was too complicated? Too intense? Not appropriate for her skill level? Was she working with people who were too skilled? Not skilled enough? I refused to coach skating for months after.
Not only do they often not have the strength to perform a knee tap in the first place, they’re usually going so slowly that it becomes a static split squat on wheels. You can’t tap out of a split squat on wheels on your first day of training. What are you asking these people to do?!
New skaters, fresh meat, newbies… all these words are applied to anyone who hasn’t passed Minimum Skills. What happens when you’re four years down the line and you’ve still not got your 27 in 5? You’re not a newbie. You’re an extremely persistent individual who for whatever myriad of reasons hasn’t passed their mins.
I attended a conference last week on Physical Activity and Mental Health.
What I came away with from my day of learning wasn’t the answers to managing that skater who throws things or that one who isolates themselves or that one who only comes to training every three weeks. I didn’t learn a whole lot of new about how activity improves mental health. What I did get was space to think and listen and see the connections.
However many years of watching skaters battle their own bodies and brains, you start to figure it out, even if you can't articulate it. But I find that when I listen closely, Missy systematically removes impasses to achievement that I never even realised existed.
I really wanted to be able to support those absolute, gripping the wall, refusing to fully stand up beginners. And while it might seem simple to those of you who have done it, when first confronted with someone clutching at me in terror because her skate moved, I froze.
For other beginner-impaired coaches, here’s what you do.