Friday, 13 June 2014

Week 48: Level 2 Sign Offs - Take 1 P.t 1

It only feels like yesterday when I started Level 2, and with the break I had, it may well as have been! We were told it was going to be a very casual sign offs, though. Most of us were new and, because of the new level arrangements, there was no pressure on anyone passing everything. We were just there to have fun and see what happens.
Even though it was casual, I still felt a little tense. It was sign offs, and any kind of assessment puts me on edge. We started with the simple stuff - stance, stride and crossovers. This was fine. I don't know how, or if, it is assessed different at Level 2, but I felt like I couldn't go wrong. Derby stance had been drilled into me, as it should, so I managed that. Stride, no problem. Crossovers, easy. Although, I do still have problems doing a whole lap of them. After these, we then moved onto laterals. These are when you move from one side of the track to the other, using quite sharp cuts. You have to be able to do 3 turns on the corners and 4 on the straights. When you're on the track, it looks huge and it looks like it should be easy. However, it is not. I decided to pick up speed to keep myself going through them, but ended up falling over right on my first turn. Doh! I picked myself up and gave it a damn good try, but it seemed like an impossible feat, and soon the whistle was blown and we had to come off the track.

After this, we were grouped up into packs. There has been a lot of focus on pack skating in Level 2, so it was good to get assessed on it. We started with pack speed and stopping in a pack. We had to concentrate on recycling, etc, and then when a whistle was blown, we would have to do a plough stop. This wasn't too bad, although I'm pretty sure I used the people in front of me to stop. However, when I was at the front of the pack, I did manage to stop. So who knows? We also did pack speed where we had to speed up and slow down together. More things were thrown in like falling in a pack and pack avoidance, which was as fun as it usually is. We then had interesting bit of wheel locking. An all-star skater would be given a number and they had to come over and lock wheels with us to see if we can keep skating despite it. I was terrified, but I did surprisingly well! We were told we had all passed that block, but our speed wasn't quite up to scratch so we would have to work on that.
Next, was speed laps and speed stops. This is basically skating one lap in 16 seconds, from standstill,  and then coming to a stop within 4 seconds. I found this hilarious as I knew I wouldn't achieve that! I can't even do a sprint start - toe stops terrify me, and my duck runs aren't that great - let alone stop from that pace in 4 seconds! Ha! We were put into pairs and had to line up on the track and then go on the whistle. I kept laughing and asking myself why I was even bothering. My partner also seemed to feel the same. Our first lap had to end with a plough stop. The whistle went and I tried, got to the point where I had to stop, and went into a plough...that went on for at least quarter of the track. "Nailed it!!" I cheered sarcastically, and hi-fived my partner who's plough was pretty much the same. We then had to do it again with t-stops. This didn't actually go too bad, and I t-stopped pretty much in time. I came off the track smiling, knowing that I hadn't done it, but I had fun. However, after all the pairs had been, my number was called up again, along with my partner from the laps, and one of my wives. "You were just ever so slightly off your time. Your stops were good, but you just need to get that lap a little faster" Seriously?! Wow. This time I really tried. I gave it my all. And I bloody done it! No way?! I was convinced there was no way I could have done that. Shows what I know.

Up next on the list was weaving. At Level 2, you have to be able to weave through a line of moving skaters and through a line of cones (not at the same time. Could you imagine?!) I was a little nervous, as we all know how weaving isn't my strong point, but I actually enjoy weaving through a pace line, so I was up for it. It didn't actually go too badly. However, my number was called out at the end for me to go again. I was a little confused as to why, I thought I did fine. Although, I did notice that a lot of the skaters were telling the pace-line their position (outside/inside) but I hadn't done that at all, so I included that in my second go, just in case. My coach seemed happy with that, and called us off the track. Sorted. On to cones. Ergh. You have to be able to get through 10 cones in 8 seconds. I had a little practice and knew I wasn't fast enough. Got to the main cones, got half way through, missed one. Balls. I was expecting to get another try, but we were called off the track and that was that.
Unfortunately, that was the end of our track time, so we moved over to the end to have a go at some more skills. First up was stepping. Now, I used to dislike stepping at Level 1. I can do it fine, now, but I used to find it so tricky and frustrating. Level 2 stepping is so much more interesting and fun! Grapevine was the first one, and I do find this one quite tricky. I can put my leg behind me, and putting my right leg over my left is fine, I'm used to doing that with crossovers. However, switch to left over right and I start to freak out. It's so unnatural but I persevered. Unfortunately, I didn't pass this one. I think it was because I was leaning too far forward and I just wasn't particularly stable. That's fine, annoying but understandable. Next was galloping. Woohoo! I do love a good gallop. I did have to do this twice, again, I think it was to do with my stance, but I managed to pass it. Yay! Last was quick step. This is just like running on the spot on skates. It makes your feet and calves hurt like hell. But it is quite fun! And I also passed this one!

After all the stepping fun, we moved on to 30 second balance. I don't think I've practised this since Level 1 sign offs, but I gave it all. I don't know if I've told you guys about my technique for this. I pick a hole or mark on the wall and stay transfixed. I lift my foot up before the whistle blows, to settle my balance, and I then put one arm down by my side, and I put my other hand on my belly button. It works, I swear. Well, it must, as I passed it! Woohoo!
Last, but not least, was jumping and stepping over an object. I mentioned in my earlier post about how I managed to get up the courage to step over the bar, and today I was determined to get signed off on it. We were given a decent run up but, unfortunately, it seemed far too close to the wall for us to stop in time. So we requested the bar to be moved closer to us. It was then too close for any of us to get up enough speed for us to be signed off on it. Stepping over an object was, therefore, cancelled for this sign offs. To finish it all off, we did jumping on the spot. This is essentially picking up both feet at the same time and landing, without falling over or losing your balance. Got that one ticked off too!
So the first week of sign offs hadn't gone too badly. I was happy that I even got signed off on anything and I was excited to see what I might pass the next week.


  1. Loving your blog and how honest it is about the ups and downs of Derby. I'm only one week in to just starting out so it is encouraging to read about your progress throughout the weeks!

    1. Hey Heather!
      Awh thank you. I'm glad it's helping, it's really just me rambling! hehe. :)

      I hope your training is going well!

      Derby love,