Shaking off the RUST
Have you been off skates for a while?
Has your team/league been on hiatus for a bit (AKA "off season")?
Is it time to put your skates back on and hit the track?
Awesome. Wicked. AmAHzing.
Now, picture a parent making that "I know better than you," face that you SUPER LOVE seeing (like when you drink straight from the carton, while leaving the fridge door open).
It's important to remember that when your body is taking a break from this sport, EVEN IF YOU'VE BEEN WORKING OUT, that it takes a few practices to retune your body's and your mind's reflexes and that wild suckage may occur.
Here are some things you might want to keep in mind during periods of EXTREME SUCKAGE.
SUCKAGE IS NORMAL
Wild suckage is perfectly normal. It doesn't mean you've forgotten how to play, or that you shoulder check timing will never come back. It just means that you need to ease yourself back in and give yourself the freedom to make mistakes you're not used to making.
If you get all caught up in the things you can't do as well FOR THE MOMENT, it's gonna be a long, hard climb. Accept that your derby awesomeness was simply put on hold, which doesn't mean CANCELLED.
Focus on the Positives
When you get back to those first practices, focus on the stuff that you're still awesome at. For example, it might be wicked comforting to know that while your endurance has suffered, you can still sprint five laps without breaking a sweat, or that you've done so many transitions that no matter how long you're off skates, you'll never forget how to execute them beautifully.
The most important thing to focus on is your attitude. If you take a positive approach to even those skills which clearly suffered while off skates, as you redevelop those skills, you'll learn more about them and possibly wind up better at them than you ever were before.
Getting Into the Swing of Things
While focusing on the positives is important to keep you working, it's also important to identify the skills that are taking longer to come back. For example, if your hip check timing is off, you might abstain from transitioning and trying a backwards hipcheck on the apex during your first scrimmages. You might focus on getting your timing back before levelling up.
Building back up, step-by-step, will prevent injuries, both physical and emotional. Emotional injuries can take longer to overcome than sprained ankles.
Don't be hard on yourself if you feel like you remastered a skill one practice, only to have it let you down at your next practice. It takes time for your muscles to get into instant recall mode. Remember the Little Engine that Could? Well, that's you, Little Engine. If you think you can, eventually you will.