28 January 2016 Kat Selvocki

Are You Blocking for the Wrong Team?

Lemony Kickit and Kandy Kakes, Bronx Gridlock 2007. Photo by Asa Frye.

Lemony Kickit and Kandy Kakes, Bronx Gridlock 2007. Photo by Asa Frye.

Are you blocking for the wrong team? If you’re beating yourself up every time you make a mistake on the track, then basically: yes, you are. And taking yourself out of the game–knocking yourself down mentally and emotionally for not doing everything right–isn’t going to help your jammer or the rest of your team.

How do you respond when things don’t go the way you want, expect, or hope?

It’s important to be able to keep yourself in check mentally during a scrimmage or bout. It’s okay to have “oh shit!” moments, or to falter and feel down on yourself when you feel like you’ve screwed up on the track. It’s quite normal, in fact–as long as you don’t spend the rest of practice/the bout/the night obsessing over that one moment.

And if you do? You’re in good company. You’re not the only one who’s ever done this!

Here’s the thing: once you recognize it as a thing that you do, you’ve got the power to change it. Don’t let your mental game stop you from getting out there and doing your best. Your best isn’t going to be Scald Eagle’s best, or Bonnie Thunders’ best, or Smarty Pants’ best, and that’s PERFECT. You’re an amazing and perfectly imperfect human and skater who’s kicking ass at being YOU.

Need some ideas for how to make the shift in your mental game? Here are six!

  1. Remember that one moment (or two, or five) doesn’t make up the entirety of who you are as a skater or human being. You’re so much more than that time you let the jammer get past you, or the time you didn’t make your 27/5, or the fact that your hockey stops need work. Think of one thing (or two, or five) right now that you’ve improved or done well at practice (or in life)!
  2. Remind yourself why you started doing this thing–derby, yoga, whatever–in the first place! Sometimes you’ve got to keep coming back to those little things that you love (for me, it’s the feeling of skating fast and of friends) to get your head back into it.
  3. Check your self-talk. You don’t suck! You made a mistake. It happens. You aren’t a failure, or terrible at derby or yoga! You’re learning. There is always going to be much more to learn, and you’re doing it. Notice when thoughts like that come up, and see if you can revise them.
  4. Enlist the support of someone you trust. I recently asked some close friends to slap me from their respective corners of the globe if they here me utter the words, “I’m a failure.” It’s resulted in a number of ridiculous GIFs being sent to me of scenes from tv shows with epic slaps.

    via GIPHY
    What you need from someone for support might be different; figure out what it is and ask someone you trust. (And if you need extra encouraging messages from me, email me,¬†and I am seriously happy to send them to you. I think you’re fucking awesome, and I think you’ve got this.)
  5. Build your focus so that you don’t get so distracted by the little things. Flat Mat Mental Game is here for you with meditation mp3s and the Meditation for People Who (Think They) Hate Meditating e-book–in other words, lots of ideas for you to start incorporating more mindfulness and a stronger mental game on and off the track.
  6. When all else fails, take a little time after the moment to wallow. Set a timer, eat ice cream, cry, scream, punch a pillow or a heavy bag–and when the timer is up, have a dance party.

You get to choose how you respond. Choose to feel like you can move forward and keep working and striving. Because you? You’ve got this.

What’s one way you’re going to try to change your patterns?