Roller derby is filled with skaters of all different ability levels and experience, yet some skaters seem to just pick up new skills more easily than others. After several years of skating, I have realized that there is always another level and a way to improve my own skating performance.
The most important thing you can do to overcome your fear, may be the hardest step for a lot of skaters. This is identifying your fear and admitting it to yourself, and then admitting it to someone else. Talking about your fears makes them less scary and will do much for helping you to overcome the feeling that may be significantly holding you back from attempting something new. Try to identify the specific fear. For example, after I experienced a back injury from a car accident, I was scared to get back into contact drills. I took time off from derby, and when I finally went back, felt nothing but sheer panic. Once I admitted this to myself and to my team mates, I realized how silly my fear was and with the help and support of my team, was able to get back in there.
The next step in overcoming the fear that holds you back from pushing to the next level is setting a goal. Goal setting gets dismissed by many, yet all the best athletes set goals for themselves. Even Michael Phelps, after years of breaking world record swim times, still sets goals to push him forward and keep him motivated in his trainings. This can be an overwhelming step if you are unaware of what a realistic goal is. Talk with your coach and team mates that you trust, and set goals for yourself today.
Once you have identified and admitted your fear and set a realistic and measurable goal, you are ready to start working towards accomplishing it. Make sure to include your goal in your training sessions and practices, and use your team mates as a support system. For example, if you are afraid to jump, set the goal of practicing one leg glides and steps and then move into leaps and small jumps. Work to strengthen your leg muscles and increase your core stability, and before long a long or high jump will seem natural.
Don’t make your fear into a taboo subject. Approach it head on and work towards getting mentally and physically ready to tackle it head on. Your goals can and will become reality if you simply work for them. No one becomes great by not trying, and the more effort you put in, the better your results will be. You will be rewarded by reaching your goal, and then moving towards the next one.
Visualize your goal and then imagine yourself reaching it. Picture what a perfect execution of the skill would look like, and imagine yourself in that perfect form. Visualize it over and over and as you prepare to accomplish it, know you can and will complete it. The more you visualize the task, the easier it will be to reach.
Another great way to overcome your fear is to find a person who has already mastered the skill you are working on. Whether it is something basic or more advanced, the best way to learn proper technique and get familiar with what you are attempting, is through observation.
Fear is just an attitude, and you have the ability to control your attitude. Give yourself credit for all the small successes along the way, and never let fear keep you from reaching your goals.