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Midyear can be a difficult time for roller derby skaters. Most leagues take a break, and all the post DerbyFest enthusiasm of the last six months can take a toll on our bodies. As skaters, if we don’t take time to reflect, we might slip into bad habits and start to undo all our hard work. Now is a good time to look back on the goals we set in January, check-in with ourselves, and look forward to the remainder of the year.

Most of us set our goals based on a tournament or milestone at the end of the season, which means we are now around the half way mark. Your goal might be chasing down the Hydra, it might be a placing at State or regional championships, or it might just be gearing up to your first bout or scrim. No matter where you’re at, take the time to reflect, reset and reconfigure your expectations to help you cross the line in great form.

Photo © Richard Tompsett

Ideally, at the start of each season, we should spend some time setting goals that help us to measure our progress over the year. It is easy as a skater to think that we have plateaued or stagnated, but these goals help us to look at how far we’ve come. Personally, I stumbled across Sandrine Rangeon’s goal setting pyramid in my first season and have used it ever since.

In this model, goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound.) For example, it is fine to say I want to be faster, but how will I know when I have reached that milestone? A SMART goal would be: I want to be able to skate 30 laps in five minutes by September. Each of us knows what is achievable for our minds and bodies, so ultimately we want to make our goals a challenge, but something that is within our reach. The pyramid helps us to do this. Rangeon’s goal pyramid is broken into 3 layers, made up of of short term process goals (ST), midterm performance goals (MT) and long term outcome performance goals (LT).

So, now that we are about to hit July, even if you didn’t set your goals this way, think about what your goals were. What did you want to achieve this year? Jot down some notes about what you have done so far to achieve these results, what could have been done differently? Don’t be hard on yourself, be fair and realistic about the life you juggle outside of derby. Commend yourself for every bit of progress you have made, and remember where you started.

Once we have looked at our goals and thought about what we could be doing better, we will most likely want to dash down to the local gym, throw out all the junk food in our cupboards and put on the skates NOW! However, if your league has given you a break, use it! That doesn’t mean we should become sloths in front of the latest hit on Netflix 24-7, but reset your body so that you can come back recharged when training recommences.

Photo © Richard Tompsett

Now might be a good time to do some yoga, stretch and feel out where the aches are so that we can spend some time strengthening. The mid-year break is a great time to devise a plan for how we are going to make it through the next six months. You might put together an eating plan, you might take up jogging to improve your cardio, you might see a physio or therapist to correct an injury you have been nursing. Whatever you do, remember there is no reset without REST.

Now the break is over it is time to pull out our goals pyramid again, and if you don’t have one, it is time to get out the pencil and ruler. Did we achieve the goals we set for the first half of the year? If so, where to next? If not, how are we going to stay on track to ensure we do? Do we still want the same things

The middle of the year sees the largest drop off in skater numbers due to fatigue and burn out. Remember, we do this sport because we love it. If something has made you lose that love, is it because your goals are no longer aligned with your passion?

If you set a goal to be on the travel team but the trainings required and the strain on your body is pushing you too far, and the glory of winning that big tournament is no longer a motivator, reconfigure your goals to align with what you really want. Maybe you are now more interested in skating on the B-Team and coaching the less experienced skaters to increase the success of the club as a whole. Or, if you still want what you set your eyes on, visualise that goal and the happiness it will bring every time you put your skates.

Derby is an amazing community, so there are always people and opportunities that will help you reach your goals no matter where you are at. Talk to your coach and team mates about your goals, set goals collectively, and support each other.

Remember, Derby Fest West is fast approaching and might give you a fresh perspective to help take you to the next level!