I’ve recently transferred to a new team which has meant that I’m no longer head coach of the Wrecking Brawls at Leeds Roller Dolls. This was tough. I tried to hang on. I love coaching and I love the Brawls.
The Brawls offered something different in roller derby, a chance to be recreational, to just come and skate and not get bogged down in admin and attendance requirements. Because skaters chose to be there and would move into the competitive league if they wanted a more serious experience, it meant that all the skaters in there accepted each other’s goals and respected the time they had to give. It meant there was less of the politics and less resentment. It meant it was an amazing place to coach (I wrote a bit about that in my post about why I coached recreational).
Logistics and concerns about non-member coaches having access to training plans meant that it didn’t really work out. I couldn’t coach anymore. I was welcome as a trainer, rocking up and running skills and drills that were handed to me on a bit of A4 before the session, but I wasn’t involved anymore. I didn’t have a voice in the development or the vision for the league. I didn’t have sight of changes that were impacting the skaters. I was a helpful stop gap in the coaching rotation and a familiar face, but I wasn’t coaching. Not the elements that I value in being a coach, at any rate.
While I sort through my next steps, I worry that I might become deskilled in coaching. I feel like I climbed such a steep learning curve when I took on the role of Head Coach and threw every ounce of energy and know-how into it in order to get to feeling like a confident and effective coach. Will I just tumble right back down that hill?
At the moment, I’m a coach without a team. If a coach has no team, are they still a coach?
Bio: “I’m an American transplant in the UK. I’ve had quite a few years to try quite a few sports. The sports that I find myself in love with, I have been coaching in varying capacities over the last 10 years. I started by herding 5 year olds through a capoeira roda, got my Level 2 in coaching rowing, and now I coach roller derby. I love roller derby because there is no standard skater. The women who are successful in roller derby today do not fit into one age bracket or size bracket or body shape bracket, even as the sport athleticizes itself away from the traditional counter culture of its original revival.
I started as the Head Coach of the only recreational roller derby league in Yorkshire with Leeds Roller Dolls in 2014 and am now setting out to contribute to the roller derby community by supporting coaches of new and developing clubs with practical resources, coach mentoring, and networks for development. ”