Today I coached my first All Star practice back after the off season and we held our interest meeting for skaters wanting to join the team. Practice was great, it was a perfect blend of skills to knock off the cobwebs and brush up on some basics while breaking a sweat. I decided to run today’s practice similar to our couple of practices after the WFTDA Championships, heavy on footwork, edges and blocking technique. I also threw in some endurance and a bunch of plow and hockey stops. I’m still not blocking, waiting on the clearance from my Dr., so I participated in the footwork, endurance and stops and helped give feedback on the blocking and edge work. We had a huge turnout since this Sunday practice was labeled “advance skills” and opened up to the league and the skaters really pushed themselves. I see a huge drive this season from vets and All Stars alike to improve their individual game, something that hasn’t been so prevalent. Most of our skaters aren’t comfortable just staying at the same level anymore and I love it when I see them pushing themselves to try new things and those light bulbs going off in their heads when something clicks. I skirt a fine line in my coaching philosophy between making people just DO IT and getting them to think about the technical aspects of how they’re undertaking a skill, to improve efficiency. All in all, many blisters were earned and everyone looked genuinely happy to be back and be pushed.
Following the practice we had a lengthy information meeting for the 2013 season, that included current All Stars and interested parties. Both Pain, my co-captain, and myself were really taken aback by the sheer turnout of skaters who wanted to be a part of the team. In the past we’ve had a lot of mixed emotions about working hard, playing competitive and being a part of the team. In fact, not once did we actually PICK a roster for our All Star games, any of them! That’s a funny and scary tid-bid. But our skaters seem generally stoked on stepping up their game. It’s going to be a great season, I can’t wait!