Does your league do one on one skater evaluations with the coach? If not they should! Here’s why:

I’m not a confident person. I tend to be shy, slightly socially awkward, and I don’t always think the best of myself. While derby has given me a lot of confidence, inside I don’t always feel as good about myself as I probably should.

For our league, there is no set “team” for the season. There’s a charter which changes every few months, with our top 20 skaters. Out of those top 20 the top 14 get picked to skate in a bout.

I have never, ever not been picked. I’ve been one of the top 14 skaters since day one. That should give me a lot of confidence right? Not really. I still feel my heart in my throat when I look at the roster and search for my name. I never felt like my spot was secure, in all the years I’ve done this. Which I KNOW is crazy, since I’m a good skater, I’m smart in the pack, I know the plays, I know what I’m doing out there, in reality I know that I’ll make the roster. But still, I lack that confidence in myself, since I never ever know if our coach sees those things about me. What if she only catches when I miss the jammer, and not when I hand out the perfect whip or call a great play?

Which is why this year, when our coaches announced that they would be doing individual skater evaluations, I had no idea what to expect. She sat me down to go over my strengths and weaknesses and I was really happy to see that she thought a lot better about me than I think about myself sometimes! She recognized everything that I’ve been working so hard on, told me the weaknesses she saw, asked what I wanted to work on, etc.

So at the next practice, we had a bench of Sirens (the “A” team I play for) and a bench of Belles (our “B” team). We had the Belles scrimmage for 2 jams, then the Sirens scrimmage for 2 jams. Coach asked me to go pivot for the Belles for the first two jams.

Before the evaluation, I would have been having an internal panic attack. “Oh crap! She wants to take me off the Sirens and put me on Belles”!!!

Since this was after the evaluation, I saw it for what it was. a) I had asked her to try my hand at being pivot, and she wanted to see how I did running plays with some of our newer skaters. I played pivot for 2 jams, had a hell of a lot of fun, worked with some of the newer girls, and was a successful pivot. b) We were short on skaters for the scrimmage, and she knows my endurance is really good, and that she could skate me as pivot for Belles, then as a blocker for the Sirens without needing a break. I don’t get tired in derby. Ever. I get this crazed euphoric high when I skate! I have played every single jam in a 1 hour scrimmage before and crashed after, but during wasn’t even out of breath!

So if your league doesn’t do skater/coach evaluations, they should! Having a clear idea of where I am, what is expected of me, what my goals are; this is valuable stuff!


photo by Dr. X

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