Our first skill of the day was pushes. I have never actually done pushes but they covered them the week before, so I was in good hands. They are exactly as they sound. You skate up behind someone, get nice and close, and then give you them a good steady push which should result in them picking up speed, and you coming to a stop. The initial increase in speed took me by surprise, but I soon got used to it. Derby stance is definitely key, though, as occasionally I would lose my balance a little bit and wobble before skating out of the push. I also never knew if I was pushing enough. I came to a stop, and the person I was pushing built up speed, but it never felt like I was actually putting any kind of force into it. It was very frustrating but I was reassured that I was pushing.
It turned out a lot of people had this issue, so we had a weird little paceline where we ended up practising the correct stance and doing slo-mo whips. It was really helpful but it must have looked so bizarre to an outsider! After doing this for a while and giving outside whips another go, we moved onto inside whips and were introduced to the "boob tray" or "boob shelf".
After whips, we had a quick go at toe-stop runs. I am terrified of toestop runs. It makes absolutely no sense to put all your faith in a tiny bit of rubber. I'm also scared that I'll fall either flat on my face, or flat on my arse. I'm not gonna look at my feet while I'm running so I'm scared I'm going to over-shoot it, miss the toe stop completely and break my ankle, or I'm going to undershoot it, land on my wheels and fall backwards. There was a quick demo and then speed laps were done. I completely wimped out of that and pottered about in the middle of the track. I was told that you should lean more forward than back, so at least you can fall on your knees, and that the lower you get the easier it is. I tried it for a little bit, but I still found it scary.
We then moved on to practice skills like transitions and stepping. I even got to demonstrate 180 degree knee slides, which I haven't done for ages. We learnt them really early on in Level 1 but I so wanted to see if I could still do them so I offered to demonstrate and totally nailed it! I was so chuffed! Maybe a little too cocky, though, because after a few more, I ended up pulling a muscle in my thigh. I tried to skate through it, but knee slides were out of the question, so I ended the session being taught derby stops (where you transition to backwards skating and then stop on your toe stops. It looks awesome. If only I was good at transitions...) and I had another little go at walking on my toe stops and then I called it a day and stretched.