Summer break! Haven’t we earned it? Training every weekend, all those home games, travelling, committee work and planning. Phew. While I LOVE the idea of the next few Fridays off, I find myself looking back over the year so far, thinking about what I’ve got better at and can’t do yet, and wanting to use the summer to improve on a few things. I find I have even written myself a (short) list of goals and a (rough) training plan for the summer…

I blame this thinking on The Books. I’ve been reading about sports psychology and the ideas that keep coming up are all about a) reflecting on your performance and b) goal setting. In particular, that it’s more motivating and effective to take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and focus on a few key skills/issues, than just work really hard on everything. So, summer break feels like a perfect space to try this out. While I was thinking about my goals I found a few blogs with suggestions for using a break from derby in a positive way. Here’s a round-up!

Work on your fitness

Simple and vital. An active summer will leave you in good shape to enjoy training and avoid injury in the autumn. Lots of blogs point out that a break from just skating is GOOD. Getting ut I natur to swim, walk, run, skip, hula-hoop whatever… Training off skates is especially important in derby considering all the one-way skating we do… which leads to the next one…


Deal with minor injuries/ physical issues

Derby can make you fit but also create some weird imbalances and cause injury. Luludemon warned me about this, as she developed super-strong back muscles on one side, and has to train to get balanced out. Anyway, the summer provides a five or six week period which is pretty perfect for a focused effort on specific areas or re-building after minor injuries (for serious ones follow medical advice, obv.). Not enough core strength? Planks for a month! Losing hip flexibility? YOGA! Want better derby stance? Low squats for as long as you can every day! Regular, targeted training for 5-6 weeks can do wonders.


Crack tricky skills

Sometimes skills just won’t ‘click’ at training. Picking one or two tricky skills to focus on this summer means you can make the most of the chance to go over things in your own time, in a more relaxed way and get skills into your muscle memory. But, The Books say don’t pick too many at once. Also, if you’re skating outside watch out for skills that need a slide if you’re skating on tarmac e.g. plows/ hocky stops.


Learn to *really* watch games

You hate sun and want to stay in? You live in Norway and it rains all summer? Fine! Watching games and learning to analyse can revolutionise how you feel in scrimmages and games. Read this and watch a recent (post 2013 rule change) game, or one of the ORD bouts! (


Remember why you do this

Sometimes, when you work hard at something, the fun fizzles out. If you’re burned out and this list leaves you thinking ‘more bloody challenges’ then take a flippin’ holiday. Your goal can be to switch off or just skate for fun and remember how great that is (like this?!


So, if you are wondering how this summer can make the Autumn even better, the wisdom of the books and derby blogs seems to be: think now about what you want to achieve, decide on a few specific things to focus on, and then do it and feel good about it. Finally, The Books have shown me that every piece of sports writing needs an inspirational quote. So:

«The elevator to success is out of order, but the stairs are always open.»
—Zig Ziglar

Have a very happy summer!

Xx Rach Against the Machine

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