Hurray! It’s the off season. Well, it is for some of us. This down time is a chance to rest and prepare for the next season. It does not mean you get to eat ALL the bad things and stop exercising. Now is the time to set your goals for next season and create a plan to get there.
1. Identify your goal. Do you want to skate faster? Need to improve footwork? Learn to take hits better? What one thing do you feel held you back this last season? Figure out what it is and write it down.
2. Make your plan. If you want to skate faster, try taking speed classes. No speed classes in your area? Then have a friend video you skating around the track. Analyze your stance and compare it to video of jammers you admire. Work on getting lower, improving your crossover, and swinging your arms more effectively. Keep videotaping your progress.
Improving footwork and agility can be done both on and off skates. Plyometrics will help you with lateral movement and apex jumps. There are tons of exercise videos and how-to articles that can help you. I enjoy using the P90X Plyo video for my off-skates footwork training. On skates, you can work with your coach or training committee to put together footwork lesson plans for the whole team. A quick search for agility drills on All Derby Drills brought up these.
Hitting seems like a pretty basic skill, but if you find yourself making friends with the floor all the time, it means you need to improve your core strength. A strong core will keep you from getting knocked to the ground when taking a hit and keep you from losing your balance when you give a hit. You can’t get a strong core from sit-ups alone. Your core includes your abs and your back, so whatever resources you chose to use, make sure it is strengthening all the muscles. From my own experience, I know Pilates and yoga build core strength and help with endurance.
3. Set your schedule. Knowing what you want to improve and how to improve it is great, but you can’t work those things every day. Muscles need rest. Don’t neglect other areas of your body. If you’re concentrating on your legs, choose days to work on core and arm strength.
Also, be forgiving. Sometimes your schedule gets messed up. You may miss a day or possibly a week. Don’t panic. Just start over.
Booty Quake of Roller Derby Athletics offers some great workouts for the off season, including core, agility and leg strength training. Seriously, I can’t recommend Booty enough.
Also, my sister is a coach for Team BeachBody, the company behind P90X and Insanity, If you need a little motivation, I highly recommend her. (She’s not paying me to write this, unless sending me cute pictures of my niece counts as payment.)
Coming next week: how to train during an injury.