It’s only for elite athletes at the top of their game, right?
Mental toughness is super important for any athlete at any level (yes, you are an athlete now, sorry to break it to you!) but especially those at the start of their journey.
If you can learn how to be mentally strong when you’re a Freshie, not only will you be a freaking pro at it by the time you reach bouting level and beyond, you’ll also find learning this sport way more fun!
Because, lets face it, roller derby is tough! Most of us not only learn to skate from scratch, we also have to learn rules, tactics, derby specific skills and how to be part of a team. We have to be tested, observed and assessed. We have to do endurance drills (puke!), off-skates training and something called jamming?!?!
Roller derby is not easy. At all! So we don’t need our brain making it harder.
Your brain can be your worst enemy or your best friend
Fear, anger, anxiety and stress are all terrible for performance. When you’re feeling any of these emotions, your muscles get stiff, your breath quickens and your mind races! None of that makes learning potentially scary new things easier.
However, if you feel relaxed, happy and excited, your body is primed for good performance! Your muscles move easy, you’re getting plenty of oxygen and you’re easily able to focus.
So you can see that it’s important to be able to control these feelings so that you can get on with learning jumps or doing your laps.
Some people think that what they feel just… happens. They have no control over it. They are stressed people or angry people or scared people and that’s that. WRONG AGAIN PAL!
You are totally in control of your emotions! If you can control your thoughts, that is.
Each thought you have has a corresponding reaction in your body, creating feelings like relaxation, stress, anxiety or excitement. So the key to feeling good is to think good! And the key to performing good is feeling good! (Performing good is a phrase ok, shh.)
There are loads of ways you can control what and how you think for the better, but they all take practice. Just like learning how to play roller derby, mental toughness is a skill – or many different skills – that you need to learn, practice and keep doing so you don’t forget how to use it!
Mental toughness off the track
You can also use all sorts of mental toughness techniques to deal with life as well as roller derby – goal setting, mindfulness, changing self-talk, reframing situations – that make everything way more enjoyable and rewarding.
Do you get road rage – you need mental toughness.
Work with douchebags – mental toughness is your friend.
Always comparing your life to others – dude, mental toughness is for you.
About to start something new and terrifying – mental toughness required.
Got exams coming up – you are clever, you already know the answer.
If you’ve got the mental tools, you can deal with setbacks, challenges and scary situations like a champ. You’ll also appreciate and enjoy the things that happen to you instead of always focusing on the negative stuff. You’ll have better self-esteem too!
So are you ready to find out how mental toughness can help you?
Derby Brain: Mental Toughness for Freshies is out now!!