We wanted to share with everyone what our team rider Pavey got up to last year. To get an insiders look at what it takes to be a high-level Derby player and general all-round lovely person! We asked Pavey to write in her own words about her year and we are pleased to share it here.... a big thanks to Pavey for doing this :)
"After a smashing 2019 roller derby season it’s been refreshing to relax and reflect on what has happened throughout the 2019 year."
Photographer - Marko Niemela
Starting from January 2019 I worked with a new group of Strength and Conditioning trainers (Absolute Health and Performance) that helped me to level up my physicality. In February I started a 10-week intensive; changing my diet, gym training mindset and day to day life habits to stay healthier and for optimal performance.
Quick wins that I learnt:
- Eat carbs before training - Yes this is an obvious choice but sometimes eating pasta just before training is too heavy. You can sub out a big meal for a mini meal before training and then have a large meal after training if that works better for your schedule. Now I eat banana bread or pancakes on my way to training and that keeps my brain running throughout the whole session.
- Weightlifting isn’t scary - Women can lift and it’s super fun! I didn’t even know how to begin with the technique when I began, but 12 months in I can now confidently and beautifully snatch, deadlift and squat correctly including how to correct myself for technique.
- What you do in the toilet matters - If you aren’t drinking enough or you’re not well hydrated you can very easily tell by how often you’re going to the bathroom and what colour your pee is. When you do high intensity exercise your body encourages you to go to the bathroom to reduce your water weight. Hence the nervous bathroom trips before games.
- Long gym sessions do not always give you the best results - Prior to getting more scientific help, my gym sessions lasted well over an hour sometimes up to 2. I didn’t know what to cover so I was doing everything I could. Now that I know how to structure and focus my workouts I can be in and out between 45 to 75 minutes while still seeing the impact it’s having on my body.
2019 was the season of ticking off bucket list items with attending RollerCon 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The VRDL All-Stars also visited Montreal, Canada twice as both Georgia W Tush and WFTDA Championships were held there. I had never had the opportunity to visit Canada yet so seeing it both in the sunshine and snow was incredible. Some of my key highlights to mention for the season are:
Photographer - Marko Niemela
- Increasing my power and physicality dramatically.
By picking up a strength and conditioning coach in 2019 I was able to clean up my eating habits and understand more about using gym equipment. This increased my overall physicality in a really positive environment. It was great to be acknowledged by the Apex for my hard work too, being nominated for the Most Improved Player award on Flat Track Roller Derby which I think is due to this change in my training programme.
- Learning how to jam skate
While at RollerCon 2019 I got the pleasure of jam skating alongside Nox which was mega fun! Learning a new roller skating skill made me understand more how fluid rolling on wheels can be. Jam skaters are very creative in how they move and flow with their skates and it is inspiring to see that any skating you do can translate to it.
- Skating at the East vs West game at RollerCon 2019
With votes coming in from the public I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to skate at the most popular game of RollerCon the East vs West game. There was so much happening due to so many talented skaters across many high-level leagues in roller derby who were working together for a common goal that the experience was filled with love and admiration.
Photographer - 2 steps ahead
- Sharing my roller derby knowledge globally
Coaching on and off skates classes throughout the season with many new leagues, friends, teams and fellow skaters has been invigorating. So many people found new perspectives on how to skate, engage a wall and use their own body and skills against their opponents. I feel so blessed to be able to share that with them through my classes. It’s very cool to see more people utilising their one hand to the floor, hit walls at different angles and communicate effectively with their offensive blockers.
Roller Con Paverobics class - shot by Pavey
- Falling in snow
Growing up we never really had a lot of snow so it was really cool to see snow regularly in Montreal over November. Quite often I would frolic in the park or belly flop into a big pile of snow. We’re all still children after all right?
- Watching footage in slow motion
Youtube’s slow-motion feature is changing my life. Being able to watch derby in slow motion for particular strategies and movements has really opened my eyes to some skaters techniques… including my own with some really cool footwork clips! \
- Tough times
Throughout the season there have been lows as well and it’s important to share some of those with you to understand that skating high-level roller derby can be hard too.
Running… and running …. And running
Mentally it’s very challenging for me to push my body in cardio work. It’s been a journey in 2019 to push my body past what it thinks it can do to get the most out of my energy and stamina. I know there are lots of other people out there that hate cardio whether it’s running, jump rope, swimming or cycling. The results you get are worth it… but it will take showing up and doing the work!
- Victoria v Gotham at Championships 2019
This game was tight throughout most of the time. If you haven’t seen it you should as there are many twists and turns inside it. During the first 10 minutes of the game I suffered a few very large hits both in the gut and around the head for many consequential reasons. The experience really caught me to get distressed for a few moments mentally. I am thankful that with the meditation I had done throughout the year I was able to acknowledge and surpass my stress and build a place of comfort to get back out there and play my hardest. Watching back on that game now I know I did everything I could to get to the final result. Without the training, it may have taken me some time to get my head back in the game. Never underestimate mental toughness and training the mind.
Photographer - Marko Niemela
- Uniform thief
After a tough game with Gotham I went out to dinner with a friend in Montreal and my uniform was stolen outside of the car alongside a few other miscellaneous things. Not knowing if I’d be accepted to play Arch Rival the next day I walked the dark streets of the city in the snow with a torch hoping the thief had smelt how bad they were and dump them. Luckily for me they had dumped the uniform a few cables and other miscellaneous items. I did however never find my underwear or pants… I’ll forever wonder if they found a safe home…
- Ankle injuries can be scary
In the lead up to Thin Air Throwdown, I rolled my ankle on skates during a training session. There’s a common misconception that your calendar suddenly becomes free as an athlete when you are injured. However, this made my schedule busier, I was going to physiotherapy appointments, myotherapy sessions, meditating for longer periods to overcome my fear of rolling it again, having acupuncture on my ankle and daily rehabilitation exercises to get it to a champs ready state.
Photographer - Marko Niemela
To up my game and also learn more about roller derby I had some great AHA! moments:
- Discovering Olympic weightlifting was an amazing experience and now I can’t stop! Look out here comes another woman who can lift heavy weights!
- Power and speed are hard to train together but important in roller derby. There is a direct correlation in skating with how much power you can input to execute how much speed you can get. Keep in mind, to be really fast you have to compromise your control and accuracy. Our sport requires you to push your wheels off with power to get speed than with the speed you need to control your movements with your muscles and tendons elasticity to give and sustain hits.
- I depend on my team and they depend on me. The relationships and bonds that I share with my team are very important. Over the years I have laughed, cried, hugged and hi-fived many of my teammates and showed them my vulnerabilities. To be able to open with your team will establish more trust to make risky decisions, be creative with skill and strategy as well as to give and receive feedback on your performance. Without my team I wouldn’t be skating at the level I am today. *Blessed*.