Here are my roller derby transfer tips
Okay, okay! So I’ve only transferred to one league that one time. And since then I can’t really shut up about it but let’s be honest I’m roller derby obsessed. The likelihood is you are to, that’s why you’re reading this blog, and well it is an adventure.
That aside I’ve also dealt with my fair share of transfer skaters. I coached the Lincolnshire Bombers for about four years and in the last two was the co-head of the coaching committee, where part of my responsibilities were assessing and welcoming transfers.
So here are my roller derby transfer tips.
Let go of your expectations
It’s so easy to make yourself feel anxious before your first and subsequent practices when you’re a transfer. Part of this is the expectation of what is about to come or how you’ll interact with people or what they’ll think of you (I speak from experience). But it is such an unhealthy mindset to have and is really counterproductive to playing roller derby. Letting go of your expectations in this respect can really help with the transfer process. Embracing a small bit of surprise and chaos can actually be empowering and allow you to experience the moment around you, rather than anticipating the change and unfamiliarity to come. Expectations have a habit of leading to negative emotions.
Especially when you arrive with expectations of where you’ll enter the league. This is literally the biggest frustration I had with transfers as a coach. That meant I was super cautious of my own mindset before transferring myself. In all honesty it was easy for me. Since my knee injury and because of the league I was transferring in I literally had no expectations of where I’d enter. In fact I had anxious expectations of being asked to leave…
Thankfully that didn’t happen. But seriously a roller derby transfer tip is to let go of what you think will happen, or what you think you deserve. Just turn up, skate and enjoy the experience. Your common ground is roller derby… Why make it more complicated than that by expecting more?
Adopt a growth mindset and accept feedback
It’s easy to feel like we know what we’re doing and that way works. Often that makes us question why we’d change something. Or in some cases (I hope rare within roller derby) makes us question why we need to work on it.
It’s easy to be stuck in this mindset, but this is really counter productive to learning and to roller derby in general.
Transferring to a new league is a challenge. Everything is new. Sometimes the most experienced skaters will get feedback contrary to what they agree with. It’s how we deal with this that makes us a success.
Adopting a growth mindset is a one of biggest roller derby transfer tips I could give. It accepts that things will be difficult, criticism will come and so will challenges and teaches you to use them to grow. The alternative is remaining the same level you’ve always been and being the transfer that nobody can feed back to.
You have no idea how many transfers struggle in their new league because they won’t accept feedback on how the league works and how their team works.
The above being said you should definitely try to resist paranoia and accept that people probably are not as critical as you think they might. It’s easy to slip back into first day of school mindset and it is super easy to feel like the sore thumb with no nail next to nicely manicured fingers. I think I took that metaphor too far. But the point stands. Nobody really watches with that intensity or is waiting for you to fuck up.
Instead they’re probably happy to see a new face. Or looking at you with curiosity of what kind of person you are, what position you play in or why you’ve transferred. At least that’s what fleeting thoughts I had as the coach at my old league (some people may think differently).
Prepare yourself for it like you would a game
My final roller derby transfer tip is to prepare yourself for transferring like you would a game. My thoughts behind this are:
A couple of years ago my old team played Royal Windsor Roller Girls and we literally had our best game. We lost by 4 points in the end but everything felt amazing. We’d given our all. We’d worked hard and our teamwork really showed. When we reflected back at the end of the season, after a couple of awful games played in quick succession, we came to the conclusion that the reason we’d played so well was because it was our first game of the season. We had literally spent over 6 months preparing for that game, unintentionally.
I use this to prepare mentally before games. I make sure in the lead up to a season I am feeling prepared. This means for me having worked out regularly, watched roller derby and recapped the rules.
It’s likely before you transfer you’ll be anxious, despite dropping your expectations. You’ll want to put your best foot forward. So why treat it any differently than you would a game?
Hope these roller derby transfer tips help & I’d be interested to here yours (if you have any).
Photos courtesy of Peter Worth Photography