Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Week 34: Level 1 Sign Offs - Take 4

So Sign Offs had come round again. As everyone now knows, I've been desperately trying to crack plough stops and this has also included a few wheel switches - I am currently skating on 6 x 88a Radars with 2 x Sweet n Lows as my pushers. In my head they seem to help, however, my head didn't help much on Sign Offs.

I only had two blocks left to pass before I could go up to Level 2. These blocks were stops (t-stop, plough stop, right & left foot glides) and 15 second balance & lateral hops. Now, I was pretty confident with t-stops, my one foot glides and my lateral hops. 15 second balance I was okay with if I focused but I knew it would take some divine intervention for me to get plough stops. I really wanted to pass at least one block, so I put my hopes on the balance and hops block.
The first block that came up was the stops. We started with balances but by the time I got on the track my legs were shaking so badly! I felt so confident when I arrived; calm yet ready to get on with it, however fear had creeped up in to my mind. Right foot glides were first, the first attempt I failed, the second I looked like I was going to cut the apex so I panicked and put my foot down, the third I did cut the apex. Bollocks. Left foot glides were fine. I could do them til the cows came home. Next, t-stops. I tried, I really tried. However, my legs were so shakey that I just couldn't. My body refused to turn, my wheels refused to stay down, at one point I even put my toe-stop down which I have never, ever done before! Crap. Finally, plough stops. I felt like I tried, but I knew I didn't. I was pretty pissed off and decided to turn in to that sulky skater. I lay down on my back, arms across my chest, eyes closed and didn't really acknowledge anyone.
I wasn't the only one who had let nerves get the better of me. One of my fellow skaters even burst into tears before she'd even started, and one of my wives is notorious for having slight panic attacks before Sign Offs and it got me thinking...why do we put so much pressure on ourselves?

Some people blame that doing it on the whistle is the problem. It catches you out and makes you panic. However, we've done drills of skills on the whistle and they've been fine. So I don't think it's that. It must be the fact that these are the ones that count. You can probably do the skills absolutely fine, but if you don't get them right today, if you slip up, make a mistake, then that might prevent you from passing the block. But why is that so important?

I think numbers play a big part. Numbers are always used as a ranking system. "The average time people take to get fully signed off is...months", "I have...blocks left to pass", "I need to get...laps in 5 minutes". These numbers get stuck in our head and if we don't reach them, then we're disappointed in ourselves. It's not uncommon to hear "I'm so annoyed. Yeah, I got a personal best, but I didn't pass the block" and I think that's sad. I've seen people cry over numbers. Hell, I've cried over numbers. But they shouldn't matter. I saw a quote recently that stuck with me:

"Some people quit due to slow progress. Never realising that slow progress...

....is progress."

And it's so true! 8 months ago, I started skating and ever so slowly I have improved. Some days I feel like I've hit a wall. Some days I do get really upset. But if I look back, I have improved. Before Christmas, I couldn't skate on one foot for a second let alone go round half the track on one foot! Before Christmas, I was convinced that I would be in level one forever and that I would never leave as I couldn't stop and I couldn't glide. But one day it clicked and now I can glide! So who knows what I might be able to do in the next six weeks? Even if I don't get it, that isn't the end all. I can just wait another six weeks and try again, and then another, and then another. This might not be true for all leagues and we might be lucky, but the fact is that you can just practice, practice, practice until you get it. No one is going to tell you to quit. You are the only one responsible for quitting and if you love it enough then you will put in that effort.
In the end, I passed one block - 15 second balance and lateral hops. In my notes, the things I had to improve on were plough stops, t-stops and right foot glides. I was very pleased and now I have a new goal, so I just need to practice but remember that goal is not the only rung on my ladder.

No comments:

Post a Comment