As the awesomeness that was WFTDA Champs 2017 becomes a memory I am forced to think about what happens next. For most roller derby athletes the end of a season often blurs into the start of the next. Usually because roller derby is fun and we enjoy playing it, but playing year round might be stalling your progress!
5 ways to break through a plateau in the off season:
1. ACTUALLY TAKE AN OFFSEASON
This is something most roller derby athletes have heard of but have never done. Taking an offseason from your crazy high contact sport is good for you, and I am not talking like a 2 week winter break, I am talking about a real offseason. A full month of down time, followed by a progressive series of workouts to develop strength, speed and power which will make you more of a bad ass on the track.
Off seasons are not sit around and eat everything seasons, they are planned and targeted to help you improve your game.
2. PLAN YOUR WORKOUTS: DEVELOP YOUR STRENGTH, SPEED AND POWER
Typical Off Season should be about 3-4 months. If you are training on skates straight for 8 months, you should take a solid month of recovery time, where you chill out, stretch, relax, do some yoga, take a ballroom dancing class, etc.
The next three months need to have a plan. You should spend about 6 weeks working on strength, and then progress your workouts to speed and power. If you do not know what to do in the weight room then you need to be safe and hire a qualified personal trainer to create a workout program for you. This should be a dynamic plan that progress as the weeks move on, you would never do the same practice every single day for 3 months and expect to improve your game, the same is true for your off skates workouts! There are amazing trainers out there, some in roller derby some just at your local fitness club, check their qualifications and ask them questions before you hire them! if you have a few teammates with similar goals you could train together, making your workouts more fun and your relationships with your teammates even stronger!
3. EAT LIKE A CHAMPION
Food is fuel and if you don’t treat it that way you are gonna end up in trouble. I am not a nutritionist, but I do know that a healthy diet is important to progress. Muscles don’t grow when they are not properly nourished so take time to learn about healthy consumption of food and make good food choices during your off season AND your on season. This website can be super helpful! Need more help? Make an appointment with a registered dietician
4. WORK ON YOUR BASIC SKILLS
After you get through the first 2 months of the offseason then it is time to dust off your skates. Clean them up and get ready for some basic training. Remember how that hockey stop to the outside of the track was pitiful last season? Good, lets go work on it! Now is the time to perfect all those silly little non contact things your coach was constantly telling you to do properly last year. You are not quite ready to start hitting people, so don’t get all crazy trying to go to all the practices and hit everyone, take the time to focus on building strength, speed and power in the gym and just add a day or two of SKILLS ON SKATES. Your on skates can include, stopping, ladders, edge work, speed control, skate form, track awareness, etc. Just avoid contact for a little bit longer.
5. SPEND TIME ENJOYING NON DERBY LIFE
There are things out there that are not roller derby, friends, family, other sports, your adorable animals, and this is the time to invest in them. If you don’t put energy into them, they might not be there when you are done playing, coaching, officiating, etc this intense sport. Having a healthy and balanced life makes you a better and more focused athlete.
I have played roller derby since 2007, I played the first 5 years straight through, no rest, no offseason, just skating. I have always lifted weights and done strength work but it was never my priority. The last five years I have taken intentional offseason to train, lift, and work on my strength, speed and power as well as individual skating skills. I think the two things that have helped me step my game up and to earn a spot on the Team USA roster has been working with a sports psychologist and intentional offseason planning, management and training.
I own a gym http://www.SnohomishFitness.com , have a bachelors in exercise science, do personal training for sports performance and coach teams around the world. If you have questions about personal training, periodization, strength training or coaching please feel free to email me at GetsomeAthletics@gmail.com