For the first couple of months I was in derby I didn’t go outside of my league to practice or watch derby. I was an ok skater but I wasn’t a good derby player and didn’t want to embarrass myself anymore than I was already doing. I would watch some stuff on YouTube but my personal life was kind of crazy and I didn’t have much time to even go to other bouts.
Then I went to RollerCon.
I saw players from all over the place, from leagues near where I lived but never watched and from leagues from far away places I had heard of. I was hooked and started looking up more and more games on YouTube then going to games to vend. It changed my whole perspective on the game.
Eventually I didn’t feel like I was going to have to hide my face if I played with other people.
I started off by just going to a smaller league that friends subbed in for sometimes. It grew from there and next thing I knew I was skating co-ed rec league (boys aren’t as scary to play with as you would think), then skating at a Thanksgiving scrimmage I was only planning on vending at (I was pretty sure I had to pee the whole first challenge bout). Now I’m signing up for RollerCon challenge bouts while looking for other leagues open scrimmages whenever I can fit one in.
I skate with a fairly large league and have the opportunity to skate with a lot of girls at home but there is something about skating with people you don’t normally skate with. I have learned so much from my experiences skating outside my league. Even when you travel with friends you aren’t guaranteed to skate with them some where else so sometimes you don’t know anyone in your pack with you. Which can be nerve wracking and exciting all at the same time.
All of my experiences skating with other leagues/people have been very positive, everyone seems to be just as excited to have you as you are to be there. When you travel no one knows what you do or your skill level. It gives you an opportunity to work on skating or strategy skills you may normally not feel comfortable trying in front of your teammates who have no problem giving you their opinion on how your doing.
I have gotten better as a blocker after being able to practice it more and now I feel comfortable if I am put into a pack because I have been able to spend entire scrimmages with other leagues blocking.
If you have the opportunity to visit other leagues do it!! It is a one of the best things you can to improve. Even if you don’t want to travel to play in bouts or are on a home team you will see a difference in how you play if you go stop by another local league once a month to scrimmage. You might even meet new friends or your derby wife!!