Our warm up was squats on the whistle, then normal skating, then more squats on the whistle, then another break, then more squats, then derby stance, it felt like it was never going to end and my thighs were very unforgiving! In fact, I did have to come off the track as my poor left leg was starting to hurt. However, after all these squats, a lot of progress was made! Derby shows you that squats are magical things. If you have a real issue with squats then derby may not be for you. Believe me, you do a lot of them and they work absolute wonders!
We then moved on to stops. Another nemesis! We skated round and practised t-stops. Now, I must admit, I am getting better at them. I do stop. But they are pretty shaky and I can't stay straight. But, hey, at least I stop! We then practised the pushing drill with plough stops. This is where one person gets into the plough stop position while someone pushes them. They keep adjusting their weight and feet until they can't be pushed any further! I never got to practice this as it was halted due to an unfortunate fall by a fellow skater but I got to go practice them at the end of the track, in the newbie area, as the next drill was 20 in 5 and I knew there was going to be a bit of a wait.
My plough stops started to improve while I was practising. It seems that I'm a leftie when it comes to them (I use my left leg more than my right) which I never would have guessed as my right leg always seems to to all the work! But I seemed to be able to get my left foot at the right angle to cause enough friction to stop. Now, if my right leg would at least stop with it, we'd be fine!
I was glad to get the left leg working though as I'd never been able to feel this elusive friction everyone talked about so now I know how it is meant to feel in my feet. Hopefully that will help to nail those pesky plough stops!
I never got to do my 20 in 5 as I was too busy practising my plough stops and talking to a new lady at the bottom of the track (It was her second week and she'd was getting used to some bad-ass new skates! She found them a bit too wheely to begin with and almost went back to crappy hire skates, but we managed to convince her otherwise and she thanked us for it at the end - everyone finds new skates weird. You just need to keep going and you'll get used to them!) I was a little gutted I didn't get to try my 20 in 5 again as loads of people managed to smash their personal bests and I would loved to have seen if I could beat my 20 and a half!
We then went back on the track for a cool down skate which involved a game! Yay! We had 4 whistle signals and each one was a different skill (one whistle - t-stop, two whistles - plough stop, three whistles - right foot glide, one long whistle - left foot glides.) My ploughs occasionally worked although that may have been just rolling to a stop, my t-stops were never straight and my right foot glides were pitiful but I only went and did almost half of the track on my left foot didn't I?! A corner and part of the straight! Woohoo!
I never, never, never thought there would be a day when I could do one foot glides.So we all know what the moral of this story is? Do more squats. Do all the squats!