What To Expect When You’re Minimum Skills Testing

Minimum skills testing can be a nerve-wracking time. Our Crucibelles share some of the tips that got them through their mins.

Take it away, Belles!

Photo by Roller Derby on Film

For those on their first time of testing:

You’ll be put in a group of 2-5 to be marked by the same person, who you might not have met before: “Expect there to be quite a lot of people at the session that you’ve never seen – this can seem intimidating until you remember that they have all been in your position before, and are there to help, not judge you” – WickHit

– There will be a demonstration of the skill you’re about to do, then a bit of practice time, then your marker will watch you try the skill and record whether you’ve nailed it, or still have a bit of work to do.

– Make sure you use the practice time to actually practice the skill, rather than talking about it: there’ll be loads of time for chats at the end of the session (and at post-testing burritos!)

– “Try everything! My first time around I didn’t even attempt 27/5, T stop and laterals. So I didn’t get any feedback and that’s why they were some of the last things I passed. Give it a go and then your marker can give you some tips!” – WildKat

– Don’t expect to pass everything this time around: look at the session as a chance for a bit of one-on-one feedback about your progress. No one expects you to pass everything first time; it nearly always takes people AT LEAST two rounds of testing before they pass everything. Try to think of the session as a review, rather than a test: a chance for you to yourself and everyone else show how far you’ve come.

– “Hustle. If the coach says sit then sit, if she says get in a circle you huddle like you mean it, if she says get on track you sprint on to the track. There’s lots to fit in and lots of markers to organise and if you get through everything there’s time for sock derby!” – WildKat

– “Just remember that 3 months ago you couldn’t do any of the things, and look at you now!” – WickHit.

– “I like to remember that the only way I could stop when I first started was to roll into the nearest wall, and that my first try at backwards skating involved clutching at someone’s hands until we both fell over” – TL;DR

– “Don’t compare yourself to other people on track. As you skate around as a group demonstrating a skill, when your marker is happy they’ve seen enough you’ll be called off the track. If you’re still left on track after everyone else has been called off, it doesn’t mean you’ve done badly, just that your marker was busy watching someone else first, or couldn’t see you behind the pack of people” – WickHit

– There will be some skills that will become your nemeses (“180 TRANSITIONS Y U FORSAKE ME” – TL;DR). Try not to get fixated on them: with time, they will come. Promise.

For those about to pass everything:

– “Anything that takes you longer to pass isn’t a reflection on you as a person, or your potential, or us saying that you aren’t trying hard enough: it means that we like your body unbroken and don’t want to send you off to team training before you’re ready” – TL;DR

– “Make use of practice time for the things you haven’t passed and don’t be afraid to ask other people for feedback or help” – WickHit

– Remember there will be other chances to pass things soon so if you miss one, don’t panic.

– “I know it’s really hard and I’m a massive hypocrite but try not to stress about that one skill you think you’ll never pass in a million years (bloody 27/5). You WILL get there” – WildKat

– “If it helps you focus, make a list of the last things you have left to pass so as you pass them and cross them off, you can see your progress” – WickHit

– “Extra practice is super helpful! Try to go to a post-mins session to watch a scrim as that’ll help you know what to expect when you transition to playing with the big girls” – WildKat

For everyone:

– Make sure you’re super hydrated – it’s hot in the hall, and you’ll be working even harder than usual. If you aren’t hydrated enough everything will seem much more difficult, physically and mentally. Ideally start upping your water intake the night before; if you’re chugging litres too soon before the session you’ll be spending most of the time in the loo, or feeling quite sick.

– Mins testing is a really good chance to cheer on your fellow pre-mins (especially if they’re really close to passing). Giving people support and encouragement will give them a boost, and create a positive environment for everyone.

GOOD LUCK!

Want to see if roller derby is for you? Come along to one of our meet and greets! No equipment or experience necessary, just turn up and have a chat with us about all things roller derby.

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