1. When is practice over? or It’s time for practice to end. These statements indicate you would rather be somewhere else. If you would rather be somewhere else, maybe you should be there instead. Your coaches take the time to prepare practice and often give up time in their busy lives to teach you. Your progress and skills improvement is something that they take seriously. You should be focused on what is being taught, not watching the clock.
2. I don’t get it. This is a terrible and unintelligent question. Be specific about what you don’t understand. Do you need to the demo again? Do you need the breakdown of the skill into basic parts? Do you not understand the correction? Be specific and your coach will be more than happy to help you.
3. Am I doing this right? If you were doing it wrong, your coach would tell you.
4. Watch me. The coach is trying to watch all the skaters in her group. She will watch you all equally and yes, some of your best moments may be missed. Take pride in knowing you did them well even if there were no witnesses.
5. When can I move up? or When do I get to play? When your coach thinks you are ready, she will let you know. These questions are not going to make your coaches look at you and say, ‘Oh my goodness, I totally forgot. I meant to do that three weeks ago! Thanks for reminding me!’ You’re more likely to get, ‘When you have mastered your basic skills.’
6. What do I need to work on? Many skaters and parents think this is a great question to ask and it makes most coaches cringe. You should know exactly what you need to work on if you are paying attention. Being reminded not to slam down on your controlled falls? Perhaps that is an area you need to improve on. You should know the corrections you get often and the general corrections given for the entire groups benefit. A much better conversation would be, ‘These are the things I think I really need to work on. Am I on the right track? Can you give me any pointers on how to improve in those areas?’
7. Can we do ______ today? Fill in the blank. So this is a hard one for a coach to deal with. We certainly don’t want to squelch your enthusiasm, but we do not appreciate being treated like a call-in-request radio show either. The best coaches come in with a very clear agenda and lesson plan of what they would like to cover during practice. A better way would be to come to the coach after practice and say something like, ‘I’m worried about passing plow stops on my skills test. Could you maybe work on those sometime at practice or work with me some other time to get me more comfortable with them?’
8. I’m tired. This is especially bad when you’re whining. You don’t think your coach is tired? She would never dream of complaining to you about it. They came to practice with a job to do and so did you. Besides, it’s not a very inspiring thing to hear from a skater and it doesn’t motivate the coach to work with you if you announce to them that you’d rather be home in bed.
9. Do we have to? Yes, yes you do. Practices are planned based on the areas of improvement that the group needs. Roller Derby is a constantly evolving sport. It is highly unlikely you have mastered the skill to perfection. If it is too easy, challenge yourself. Get lower, stop faster or work on form. Basics are important for everyone to work on, weather you’ve been skating for 10 days, 10 months or 10 years.
10. I can’t. Never say it! This phrase is code for one of three things: I don’t want to, I don’t have the courage to try, or I haven’t figured out how yet. When skaters say ‘I can’t,’ it’s more than just verbal, it’s mental. As a skater, if you tell yourself, ‘I can’t,’ then quite literally you won’t. You are limiting your own potential when you use this phrase and I will never ever accept that. Roller Derby is about pushing your limits and doing things that you never realized you could