Some may remember the “I want Wednesday” post I wrote, requesting one ticket to the Bonnie D’Stroir Bootcamp put on by Rolling Star Derby. Well the derby Gods were looking out for me, and after a little magic worked I secured a ticket and attended it on the Saturday just gone!
To my non-derby friends who may not know who Bonnie is, she’s a legend in the game. Bonnie is the founder of the San Diego Derby Dolls, was MVP for the San Diego Derby Dolls 2008, 2009, 2010, Highest Scoring Jammer for the Derby Dolls 2010, Battle On the Bank Tournament MVP 2009, 2011, and most recently was World Cup Champions (Team USA) Assistant Coach. She is the World’s first full-time roller derby coach and has just come out of (a short) skating retirement to skate once again for the San Diego Derby Dolls.
All these things are highly impressive. She is an inspiration to a lot of skaters out there, not just for her skills but for her positive attitude towards the future of roller derby and her extensive knowledge and philosophy of the game.
I came away from this bootcamp on such a high, with so much information that I was trying to process in my little brain and with a greater positive outlook on my future derby experiences.
There was A LOT to take in that day. Bonnie would demonstrate a drill, breaking it down and introducing segments, building up to the full concept of the drill. We’d execute these then stop for a moment to take notes and interpret what we just did in our own words, how we felt about things and how we understood it – it was a great way to automatically reflect on what we’d done.
After lunch we had a little huddle with Bonnie in the middle of the track to listen to her speak about Magic + Roller Derby – ‘Write it down and make it Happen’. She spoke about goal setting and accomplishing these. How to deal with your inner dialogue, convincing yourself you are magic and getting what you want. I think I’ll do a follow up post about this whole subject as there was some fantastic points to share!
We continued on with more drills focussing on partner blocking techniques and jammer (or caught blocker) strategies. There was some really cool moments when she was explaining drills and it actually felt like a light-bulb was going off in my head, and I was standing there nodding along dumb-founded going “Wow! that’s fricken Awesome! We should ALL be doing that on the track”.
We ended the day with a black and white scrimmage. There was so much that we learnt that day that I was still “unpacking” it all and there was no chance I could even contemplate applying it in a jam (just yet). It’s definitely a great experience being able to scrimmage with skaters from other leagues. It forces you adapt your skills and even your mental strategies to work with players you’re not familiar with. It really helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses in terms of team work.
A massive High-Five to Rolling Star Derby for organising the bootcamp. A HUGE High-Five to Bonnie for being such an amazing trainer and a real inspiration. Thank You for your time and energy it was a fantastic derby day!!
PS: Visit Bonnie’s (newer) blog HERE (she has some cool instructional videos on the site) or visit her older blog reflecting on her 8 years in roller derby (it has some great stories and lessons learnt).