How to have an AWESOME scrimmage

The off-season is over, and it’s time to get to work! I’ll be skating in our first bout of the season on January 26th, a “mash up” of city- and state-level skaters, and I’m pretty nervous about it. I’m working hard, though, and I’m getting super hype about the stuff I’ve been able to do!

Because I’m a data nerd and I like to analyze trends (even if they’re only from 2 practices… shhhh….), here’s why I was so excited– turns out there were only three things that turned a regular scrim into an AWESOME one. So maybe somebody else can do the same?

1. Pick one or two specific things to work on, and hit them hard

This past Sunday, I wanted to do two things:

  1. Communicate better on the track
  2. Stick with my teammates instead of falling behind in the pack

When I only focused on those things, instead of all of the OTHER things on my mental “to do” list? Turns out I was able to get it done! I could head out with my pod and say, “Hey Bow, let’s stick together!” before the jam started and make that My One Thing and make it happen. I didn’t get overwhelmed with the rest of the to-do list– using my toe stops more, pushing farther on track cuts– I could just stay with my buddy and work on that.

The power of positive thinking and focus!

2. Ask for feedback and be open to advice

I absolutely love it when my pod can do a quick recap of the jam on the way back to our bench. Usually it’s a high-five and a, “hey, that was an awesome hit!” but it’s also great when I can learn something too.

For example: my brace gave it to me frank after one jam. “Friend, you have noodly arms! I don’t have anything to push against!” She was right, I was just resting my arms against her limply and not giving any push in the tripod– probably because I was so worried about reforming and sticking with her. Didn’t occur to me to work on that!


So for the rest of the morning, every time we set our tripod at the start of the jam, I made sure to have BEEFY ARMS and I was very conscious of it. And I checked in after those jams too– “Hey, was that better?” Turns out I needed to push even harder, but eventually I got it figured out.

I figure, I’m never going to improve if I don’t know what’s wrong. So thanks, Hips, for giving to me straight and helping me out!

3. Go out there to have fun

I absolutely adore my derby family. Yes, scrimmage is an important time to get practice in, but it also gives me a chance to hang out with awesome skaters who aren’t on my team, as well as our top-notch officials and volunteers.


I got to congratulate a bunch of skaters on passing their annual MSTs, or on passing out of probation. (I know just what a big deal that is!) During our downtime, I got to chat with other friends about work, kids, dogs, and all that non-derby stuff. I got to spend time with people I genuinely care about, give a bunch of hugs as we all headed home, and help keep our practices positive. And to me, that’s more important than getting all the big hits out on the track!

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