Have you ever attempted to look like a roller derby pro in front of a panel from London Brawling? I have. It’s terrifying, but I survived.
I can still remember trying out for London Rollergirls main league. I’d overcome numerous hurdles from broken limbs to an innate inability to do any sport effectively by the time I had my chance to see if I could make the cut.
When the time rolled around I was hungry for the high level of competition and steep learning curve LRG promised and was scratching at the door, desperate for entry. I remember I struggled to keep down a power breakfast that morning and agonised over all the advice I’d been given by my friends, which seemed at once obvious and unfathomable.
Communicate…edges…dig…offer to jam even if you don’t want to…stick out (but not for the wrong reasons)…and so it went on.
The try out process can be incredibly daunting, the simple knowledge that you are required to demonstrate skills on demand and are being assessed by people you’ve watched play at Champs can ruffle even the coolest cucumber. LRG is a competitive league with many people keen to train with us. Entry is by no means easy and even once in, the demands on your time, body and mental toughness are significant. The try outs are really just the beginning of a hard but rewarding journey.
Setting that aside, I can confirm the coaches at LRG were all once rookies themselves, so contrary to popular belief they can relate to your struggle. The skills required for main league are clearly set out so skaters are equipped for what they need to achieve on the day (I recommend you read these!) – and even if you aren’t successful in your first attempt, you’ll gain experience and some feedback for the next attempt.
I think if I could offer one piece of advice to people trying out for main league this August, I’d recommend not letting your head be your enemy. Sometimes the pressure of these situations can be overwhelming, but the noticeable improvement I saw in myself as a prospective teammate came when I focused on believing in what I could do and approaching everything with a positive mindset, rather than dwelling on the skills I felt to be my weaker ones. I might not be able to nail a hockey stop like Juke Boxx, but I realised if I showed the coaches a drive, hustle and willingness to accept feedback and face the challenges head on, I’d be a much more valuable member of the league than if I was defeatist.
But why take it from me, the aforementioned Lexi Lightspeed and Juke Boxx offered the following pieces of advice, which I urge you to keep in your pocket for try outs –
“Don’t be afraid if you fall and someone sees it. It happens to everyone sometimes” – Juke
“Skate like you want it! Skaters who have hustle (quickly make effort to get into the position needed, or chase a jammer, or reform a wall) when they skate definitely stand out.” – Lexi
Oh.. and communicate. They said that twice.
Considering I was once someone who bunked PE at school and didn’t own sportswear til I was in my mid-20s, I am reluctant to stray too far into aspirational sports analogies, but I would say the try outs present a great opportunity to show LRG and yourself what you’re made of. So with that in mind, remember to eat a good breakfast, stay hydrated, nail your stops and I hope to see you on the track with us one day!
Find out about our next main league try out.
And check out the journey of other skaters through LRG main league try outs.
Photo credit: Andy Sainter
Main Photo: Roller Derby on Film