If the last few years of being filmed and filming myself has taught me anything it’s that footage of yourself is super useful.
Roller derby footage
The first game I ever was recorded playing was about my 2nd or 3rd bout so I was still pretty Fresh. In my head, I was in The Zone. I felt I played like a Gotham blocker, laying big hits and trapping jammers like Mick Swagger.
When I watched the game back, my heart sunk. I looked like some n00b who’d only put skates on 8 months earlier! I was slow and unaware and I couldn’t plow for shit. I felt deflated, my little derby bubble had been burst.
I’d totally forgotten that I actually was a total n00b who’d only put a pair of skates on 8 months previously. And that actually, for a total n00b, I did really well. I did hit some people, I did stop some jammers, I was a useful member of the team.
By the time we’d had another game filmed, I’d almost gotten over the cringe factor of seeing my knees not bending enough and my weird “jazz hands” that I always have. This time though, I was looking at it from a different perspective.
I was actively looking for things that had worked, what I did well but also what I did wrong. Not in a “God I SUCK!” kind of way but in a way that was looking for clues as to what I need to work on. Answer: Plow stops (always improve plow stops), sticking in my lane, getting lower….
Watching footage is instant feedback that you can watch over and over and over and over…
I also started looking at what we did well as a team. It’s weirdly hard not to focus on yourself (we are all narcissistic, vain, egomaniacs so don’t pretend you aren’t too!), but once I could see past my own awesomeness (lolz), I could see what tactics worked for us, what didn’t and what tactics the other team were using that worked well and didn’t. It also gave me the opportunity to see really cool things my teammates did that I now want to be able to do – apex jumps anyone? So jel.
From a coaching point of view, dissecting footage of the team can be a great tool for tailoring sessions to work on specific drills. Sometimes, training sessions can feel random or like you’re going in blind. Going in with a specific plan and an idea of how it should progress will really help the team improve. If you have watched yourself on film and though “holy crap my derby stops on the inside line are weak” TELL YOUR COACH! Ask if they could incorporate some derby stop drills in the next session. This is not selfish as I bet £10000 you will not be the only one that needs to work on your “wrong way” derby stops.
If you have no footage of yourself or the team, whip out your phone and hit record!
How to watch yourself doing derby
- Look for errors – not mistakes or failures or times you sucked – just things that you could do better
- Take notes – write down those things you need to work on, failure is feedback
- Think about why things went wrong – maybe it’s not your skill but knowledge of the game
- Look for stuff you did well – what are your strengths?
- Look at the line up as a whole, how did that work? See any successful patterns i.e “when I worked with X we kicked ass.”
- If there’s a person(s) you didn’t work well with, make a note & figure out why
- Look at the game as a whole – can you see the strategies being used? Did they work?
- Look at how the other team effect you, your line up and your team
- Make a plan of how to improve your weak areas – talk to your coach, google stuff, ask questions
- Break everything down into small chunks – not just “MUST GET BETTER AT ROLLER DERBY!”
- Compare new footage to old footage and she what’s improved & what new things you need to work on
Filming yourself doing other stuff
Now I’ve got a little mini iPhone tripod I’m a bit obsessed with filming myself in the gym! I’m sure the other gym-goers think i’m weird but I don’t care. I do it for two reasons:
1. To check my form; how stuff feels is usually very different from how it looks! I think I’m squatting low but….nope!
2. To share my workouts with my blog readers and Instagram followers to give them ideas and inspiration to workout.
Number 1 is really useful for me, bad form can make the exercise inefficient or even dangerous. Sometimes it can be a really good confidence boost if I think I actually look quite buff!
So film yourself working out, whether it’s lifting weights or doing bodyweight stuff, you might be surprised by your form or actually how hench you are.
You don’t need to limit filming yourself to workouts either. You could film yourself doing anything that you want to improve on – dancing, singing, baking, flying, painting…. the list is endless. Film, look for errors, correct them, film again, compare, improve! Or laugh at the bloopers or save it so you can look back on day and think, “GODDAMN I was awesome!”
Now go grab your camera & hit record!
Bonus: Sharing your videos with other people
This was the most scary thing for me when I first started posting videos of myself on the internet. I was terrified people would take the piss out of me, think I wasn’t skinny enough to be doing workout videos (which is silly as we know, you can’t see fitness). But actually the response has been really positive and I think people appreciate seeing something besides crop tops and rippling abs. I still see all the wobbily bits and cringe and my funny legs and hands but I upload the videos anyway because, why should I ashamed of how I look!!?
My next challenge is to do a video in which I actually TALK. I’m pooping myself because I HATE my voice and my accent. You know how in our heads, our voices all sound way sexier..?
So my point is, share your videos, let people see them and fuck the haters. Putting yourself out there and realising that you don’t actually look/sound as bad as you think and that most people actually think you look/sound great (or at the very least, normal) is a great confidence boost. I want to see all shapes, ages and sizes doing all sorts of shit that they love!!
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