Posts tagged #I Am Not a Natural

I Am Not a Natural, Pt. 4

This is the fourth post in a series by Brawlstar skater Slamuel L. Jackson, continuing in the upcoming weeks here in the A2D2 blog. 

Photo by John Mosher

So what is it that drives you? What amount of time and effort can you allow yourself to put forth? Are you willing to put in that time and effort? What words do you draw power from? What type of motivation do you respond to best? The answers will vary from each person.

If you do not put in the effort, you will not receive the results. Your effort must be reflected in your own motivation. It may waver at times, everyone’s does, but it should not completely disconnect. If you feel disconnected from your motivation, it may mean it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate your goals.

Staying motivated can be difficult at times. Results will not be instant. Sometimes results take a very long time. It depends on your goal and the work it will take to achieve it. Sometimes it’s hard to notice any change at all along the way. That’s a big reason I suggest keeping notes on little accomplishments as well as compliments. All the work it takes to achieve your goal will not always feel fun. It will be tedious, and at times, unpleasant. Especially if you are not much of a natural, it can seem even more overwhelming. Stick with it. Find what you really want and push yourself.

Photo by John Mosher

Personally, what drives me includes a few different things. I want to be a double threat. I don’t just want to be a jammer; I want to be an effective blocker as well. I want to be a solid member of the charter team. I want to improve, regularly. I want a lot out of roller derby, but in exchange I know I have to sacrifice a lot (mostly free time).

Different people respond to different types of motivation. Our personalities vary and in turn our motivation style will. I need positive motivation to keep myself going. I need to have a strong desire to achieve my goals. I need to feel self-improvement. I really like recognition, but it is not a requirement. Others respond to negative motivation. Some people need fear (ex: If I don’t get up and run today, I will be penalized in some way).  Some people want to prove others wrong. Whatever it is that lights the fire within you, use it.

Lastly, when I cross train or find myself frustrated while trying over and over and over… I use a power word. I constantly remind myself of my end goal. I wanted to skate for the charter team. So in my head when I wanted to quit I would remind myself,  “BRAWLSTAR!” Even now that I’m on the team, I know that I have to work hard to stay on the team. I want to be a valuable member, so my power word hasn’t changed. It’s still the prominent thought in my mind when working hard.

On that note, I owe a lot of my progression to cross training. I will share more about that with you next week.

I am Slamuel L. Jackson. I'm 3/4 jammer and 1/4 blocker for the Brawlstars, as well as A2D2's meme master. I like animals, energy drinks, and Netflix binges.

Posted on April 21, 2015 .

I Am Not a Natural, Pt. 3

This is the third in a series by Brawlstar skater Slamuel L. Jackson, continuing in the upcoming weeks here in the A2D2 blog. 

“The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.”
— Michael Jordan

In the recipe for being successful and improving, having goals is the ingredient that every single person shares. There are different levels to goals. It’s kind of similar to how some foods you can choose between mild, hot, or extra hot. You can have a goal be, “Have a good time while being safe” and/or a goal like, “Become an all star jammer for Team USA.”

Goals are what keep you focused. You wouldn’t pass boot camp and skate at all, if you were completely without goals. They motivate you and most importantly allow you to measure your progress.

I said it when I wrote about positivity, and I will say it again: you should probably invest in a notebook. It is much easier to keep track of any and all goals when they are written. Written goals will also hold you more accountable and give you a better sense of what you have done, what you need to do, and how long it took to get there (date those accomplishments). It also makes this next step possible.

Break them down! Big, long term goals are scary and daunting. Take your bigger goals and divide them into smaller short-term goals. This way you can see your progress and feel like the bigger goal is within reach.

A small example:

  • Spinning out of hits (semi-effortlessly)
  • Turn around toe stop to inside
  • Turn around toe stop to outside
  • Transition comfortably to inside
  • Transition comfortably to outside
  •  Mohawking
  • Extra stretching daily.

Sometimes you will find more mini goals that apply to your larger goal and should definitely add them in. For my “making charter team roster” goal, I was constantly adding lots of little goals and also some accomplishments I/other people noticed.

In my notebook I also keep my skills assessment results. I am able to look back each time I have taken the assessment and see how I have improved without necessarily realizing it. I feel like I barely scraped by in January of 2013, but by December 2013 things were starting to come together for me.

Outside of your goal notebook, it’s good to set PRACTICE, SCRIMMAGE, and BOUT goals. I wouldn’t try more than three at a time for any of these settings, less if you want. If you have too many you will lose focus and struggle to notice any improvement. Your goals could look like, “jam at least 3 times during scrimmage,” “get lower,” or “controlled positional blocking rather than swooping hits.”

Give yourself time. You will not become a charter team member overnight. You will not be able to jam every other jam without the work it takes to get your endurance there. Remember that everyone is going to meet their goals differently and at different speeds and that is okay. Allow yourself flexibility. Newfound obstacles might appear, but if it’s something you truly want, you will keep pushing forward.

If you have the drive, you can most definitely meet your goals, no matter the size. I will elaborate on that soon.

I am Slamuel L. Jackson. I'm 3/4 jammer and 1/4 blocker for the Brawlstars, as well as A2D2's meme master. I like animals, energy drinks, and Netflix binges.

Posted on April 1, 2015 .

I Am Not a Natural, Pt. 2

This is the second in a series by Brawlstar skater Slamuel L. Jackson, continuing in the upcoming weeks here in the A2D2 blog.

Photo by Bernie Laframboise

Roller derby is just as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. Your attitude can make or break your momentum and progress.

Negative self-talk will slow you down. Comparing yourself to others will cripple you.

These are easy habits to get into. Especially when you are starting. Especially when you are skating practices with people of various skill levels. These habits are something you need to throw in the garbage disposal and annihilate as soon as possible.

Stop telling yourself that you cannot, or you will not.

For the longest time I thought I “would never” learn a skill or ability. Specific to my own skating abilities, transitions and mohawking were my nemesis for what seemed like the longest time. Months after my fellow skaters in boot camp had learned and executed these abilities just fine I was still struggling. I was convinced it just wouldn’t happen for me. I couldn’t and didn’t give up, though. If I wanted to continue to progress I had to set goals and avidly work towards them. I spent my down time at practice trying the skills I was struggling with. I went to open skates. I spent some nights in my driveway practicing. I stretched more. I researched. Eventually at practice it happened. Not once, but many times. Today these are two of my favorite skills and the foundation in my jamming arsenal. If you catch yourself saying that you cannot, correct yourself and if you have to say something… say that you are working on it.

Never, never, never give up.
— Winston Churchill

It’s hard when you feel like your progress isn’t happening as quickly as it should. It’s hard to watch people learn at different rates. But, it happens and it will continue to happen your entire derby career. It’s not just happening to you though. Everyone has felt this way about people in their lives at some point. Some people can watch a drill once and flawlessly execute it on their first try. Most can’t. Even those people you idolize mess. things. up. Those skaters do struggle and have struggled just like you!

No good will come from comparing yourself to others.

It will not help you accomplish your goals. In fact, it can damage your self worth and your progression. Look to yourself instead. Compare this practice to the last. Compare this month to the previous. Look at how far you’ve come! Remember when you could barely cross over? Remember when you couldn’t pick your leg up during stretches, or else you would fall? Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Did you increase your 27 in 5 time by a few seconds? Great! Did you not fall when one of the hardest hitters on your team tried to knock you down? Heck yeah! Did you ALMOST land an apex jump? Awesome! You tried something a lot of people wouldn’t have the guts to do. (My first attempted apex jump went horribly awry, but NO ONE cared it went wrong except ME. Every time I do happen to land one my league mates cheer and it feels great and I wouldn’t get those amazing feelings if I didn’t try it despite past failures.) Celebrate it all.

My favorite way to stay on the positivity track is to keep a notebook.

When another person compliments you, ACCEPT THE COMPLIMENT (very important), and write it down. Try to keep the exact phrasing if you can remember. You can date it too, if you’d like. I actually kept mine dated so I could see the progress and changes I was making through other’s eyes. When you accomplish something big or small, write it down too. This will serve as proof when you feel like things are too difficult or like you are unaccomplished. Celebrate yourself frequently and all the things you’ve done and will continue to do.

Positivity has such a huge impact that I think a lot of people fail to notice, or don’t notice quickly enough. When you are in a positive mental space, it’s easier to learn and it’s easier to achieve. If you start to feel yourself get frustrated and slip, give yourself a moment, shake it off (if you practice with me, you will see me literally stop during a drill, shake my head, my arms, my legs, take a deep breath, and then try again) and start anew.  

If you decide to keep a notebook, you don’t have to use it JUST for compliments. You can use it for goals as well! We can talk more about that next week, friends.

I am Slamuel L. Jackson. I'm 3/4 jammer and 1/4 blocker for the Brawlstars, as well as A2D2's meme master. I like animals, energy drinks, and Netflix binges.

Posted on March 25, 2015 .

I Am Not a Natural, Pt. 1

Photo by Cinnamon Challenge

Photo by Cinnamon Challenge

This is the first in a series by Brawlstar skater Slamuel L. Jackson, continuing in the upcoming weeks here in the A2D2 blog. 

Athleticism was never really my forte. I ran cross country and track in high school because it was something to do to get me off of the computer. It got my body moving and required minimal teamwork and social interaction. Those were also two sports that I could participate in without pressure. Yeah, I can jog 3.1 miles. Slowly enough that I will not be a deciding factor in my team doing well, too. The only person I had to complete with was my own personal records and myself.

I did NOT join roller derby to become athletic. I joined roller derby for the camaraderie. After watching roller derby just once I felt a sense of, "These are my people. This is where I belong." Morphing into an athletic person has been a result of the combined desire, as well as effort, to improve and accomplish goals to further my derby career.

Morphing into an athletic person has been a result of the combined desire, as well as effort, to improve and accomplish goals to further my derby career.

I would like to make a note that everyone I know loves roller derby differently. I happen to love roller derby in an all-consuming matter. This sport and this community have given me so much more than I could have ever imagined. That being said, the recipe I use for improvement probably won't be the exact recipe that works for you. We will likely use some of the same or similar ingredients, but what we are cooking is a bit different.

So, how does one improve when they feel like they are struggling, not catching on, or just regularly beating themselves up about not seeing instant results? Or maybe you feel like, taking an excerpt from my fresh meat journal, "sometimes it is sink or swim and I feel like I'm sinking rather quickly."

 My personal list of ingredients includes:

  • Positivity
  • Goals
  • Drive
  • Cross Training

Each ingredient is more complicated than just a word. They are all full of many layers; like an onion, lasagna, or ice cream cake... You get my drift (I really like food). So I would like to take time to focus and elaborate on each and every ingredient within its own post.

See you next week to focus on some delicious positivity!

I am Slamuel L. Jackson. I'm 3/4 jammer and 1/4 blocker for the Brawlstars, as well as A2D2's meme master. I like animals, energy drinks, and Netflix binges.

Posted on March 18, 2015 .