Mind Games

September 17th, 2013 | 0 comments
Belmont Bruisers

Mental toughness is key to performing well in a bout | Photo courtesy of Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

Roller Derby is a sport that requires focus, adrenaline, and a keen eye. To step onto the track with all three of these, players often need to take the proper steps. It’s easier when we’re at home on our own turf. With our fans cheering in the background, we automatically hone in on the proper skills. When we’re going to an away bout, however, it can be trickier. Every player needs to focus differently.

Personally, I prepare for a bout by taking the day to prepare myself. After I wake up, I drink my coffee in front of the mirror, armed with bright eyeshadow and lipstick, hand gripping my glitter eyeliner. I read a quote once that called eyeliner the “warpaint of roller derby.” I loved it, and it comes to mind every time I put on my bout-day face.

Before I get in the car for the journey, I watch a the “Under Armour Women: I Will” commercial on YouTube. Something about it just gets my blood pumping. I’ve often found myself looking at my jammer and thinking “I will protect this house.”

Running high school Cross Country and Track races trained me that game day meant a peanut butter and jelly for lunch. When I’m heading to an away bout, I pack my sandwich in a lunchbox and eat it on the way. I spend the next hours with my team, laughing off my nerves and discussing strategy. By the time I line up for my first jam, my nerves are gone, my heart is pumping, and I am ready. If I am chosen as jammer, our bench manager, Maid Carrion, knows what to do. She looks me in the eye and says, “Though you be but little…” and I shout back, “I AM FIERCE!” Shakespeare would be proud.

Others take a less nerdy approach. River Styx Phoenix also has a full-day routine. She says:

“I wake up. I have my coffee – no cream, no sugar; just black, please.

I meditate on what’s to come. I predict my potential challenges, while also keeping in mind that there are so many more things that I cannot anticipate.

Unicorn Roar

The “Unicorns” challenge bout team gets pumped by doing a “Unicorn Roar” cheer at Virginia is for Shovers 2013 | Photo courtesy of Dan “Jugglenaut” Purdy

I focus on a few things that I want to do during the bout:

First and foremost, I want to have fun with my team. Secondly, I want to do my best, and push myself harder. I want to test the limits. ‘What are my weaknesses, and how can I fix them?’ This question frequently runs through my mind; however, I’m not scared to ask myself this question, because it lets me ruminate on things that I need to work on, and I become excited by the challenge.

The song, ‘300 Violin Orchestra,’ by Jorge Quintero, runs through my mind. It’s actually quite dramatic, but it boosts my motivation. Similar to Slam’s methods, I practice fierce faces in my mirror, and imagine how terrifying I could possibly look to the other team’s players. I hope they are at least mildly intimidated.

I put on my lucky underwear, and the rest of my attire. And let my mind go blank until an hour before the bout. I repeat my meditation, and remind myself of my personal goals.”

For Nacho Baby, preparation involves one simple thing: staying calm. “I basically focus more on quelling anxiety and calming down as opposed to trying to get amped up. I meditate, and visualize being an agile, solid blocker.”

Crashiopeia uses a similar positive visualization method. She say that she watches videos of the other team online, and then visualizes herself knocking them down on bout day. She adds that checking in with her teammates helps to get her amped up to play.

Five40 vs BB

Come out and support the Belmont Bruisers as they take on the Five40 Roller Girls this Saturday!

Whatever our methods, we all agree that nothing gets the blood pumping like some live roller derby action! If you want to help us get pumped up to play, or if you’re just looking to get your own pulse up, you can come out and watch the Belmont Bruisers play the Five40 roller girls this weekend! The bout is only an hour away, and we’d love to see some friendly faces in the crowd.


Post by Slam Gamgee

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