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25

Apr

Structured Team Footage Reviews

I posted something about how much I enjoy Brawling’s structured way of reviewing our game footage, and had a request to elaborate on it. 

Watching footage of a bout as a team can be really beneficial…it’s social cohesion, it gets skaters who ordinarily just don’t prioritise footage watching to make sure they do, you’re all there in the same room watching the same thing. BUT in my personal experience, often it ends up being like you’re at the movies…you’re watching but possibly in a disengaged way while sinking beers and getting into the salsa and corn chips, cheering at good bits, groaning at the bad bits, commenting on that ‘terrible ref call’. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with snacks, however the whole experience is not perhaps the most effective for ‘reviewing’ and then setting team and individual goals.

Or you could be a team who doesn’t tend to do footage watching as a team. Brawling never really had a formalised process for team footage watching, if it happened, it was rarely—- it was expected that you would watch the games on your own, and that leadership would compile notes and set training goals. My team-mate Kami  wrote a blog a while back about How To Watch Footage on your own, here’s a link:

http://www.kamikazekitten.co.uk/wordpress/?p=702

I am not sure how it came about, but our Bench Coach, Ballistic (Balls) was chatting with the coaches at Dynamic Sports Academy (the guys that do our fitness program, and also our mental conditioning sessions) about reviewing games as a team, and they suggested a more formal structure. We started doing this after the West Coast Tour we did last year when Olivia and Kami were Captains, so total props to the previous leadership team!

The idea was that Leadership will have reviewed the footage and noted down 6 things that the team did well (whether that be consistently, or a one off that we should explore further, individually, or as a pack, things we nailed that we had been specifically trying to work on) and 6 things we could improve on (again, either consistently, a one off example of dealing with a particular passage of play, individually, as a pack, things we didn’t nail that we had wanted to focus on). Then when we got together, the idea was to have timestamped those moments and to only show those passages of play, rather than watching the whole game. Often I think when you watch the whole game, you can get caught up in the many things happening and it gives you too much of a broad focus.

DSA had suggested quite a formal presentation, where it would almost be in a classroom setting with the coach sitting at the front on a higher level than the team. The idea being that the coach was TELLING the players how it was rather than it being a discussion or suggestion.

(We tried it this way the first time and it was ok, but subsequently we have done it at Kami’s place with Balls sitting at the back and just narrating what we were about to see)

By just watching specific passages of play, it narrows the wandering mind to really specific instances of the good and the bad. A key element to success is accountability, and we didn’t want to pussyfoot around our weaknesses. So being able to point out areas we could improve on in a public setting held everyone accountable.

Balls is extremely thoughtful in the way he presents the information and the language he uses. Before showing the particular passage of play, he will say whether it is a good thing (YAY) or ‘something to improve’ and then go on to describe the situation. Mostly he will refer to us, not by name, but by ‘The Player in Lane 1’ or whatever. What this does is shift the notion of finger pointing at specific players. I mean, we obviously know who it is doing what, but it never sounds like he is saying: ”Right here, Kitty did something shit”. It is always backed up by a recommendation of what we SHOULD be doing or something we could perhaps try instead, and often leads back to referencing past training focuses.

The rules of the review is that it is not a discussion. It IS a presentation of information. Sometimes we will ask questions if we are not 100% sure about what is being said, but it’s not the time to give your reason for why you did what you did, or for it to be an all-in discussion about what we’re seeing.

And of course the important part is the training goals we then set as coaches for the team and following that up with individual feedback to players.

I feel like this kind of more formal process is one way to encourage maturity and accountability within the team mentality and also with individuals. I can see that some players may be really uncomfortable with having their faults pointed out in front of the team, but that really needs to be transcended (it’s also really important that all of your ‘need to improve’ things aren’t only of one person and that the tone of the presentation is right) in order to move forward.

I really enjoy doing the reviews this way, our strengths and weaknesses are laid bare but in a constructive way—-and now as Captain, I get to really deconstruct and watch for the timestampable moments too! The process was definitely something that helped us out coming into Play-Offs knowing we had to face Rose AGAIN after just losing to them by 45-odd points. We watched the game we played against them in this way and it really helped to focus on those key moments where we were able to hold their jammers (What were we doing, and how can we do more of that?) and what errors were we making against that particular opponent that we needed to tighten up? It’s just a really effective way of using your time. After the get-together, a spreadsheet is posted on the forum with the timestamps, the description of the passage of play and then notes as to why it was good or how it can be improved. That way, team members who weren’t there or who want to be able to go over it with a fine toothed comb in a private setting can do so.

And even though it is a more formalised process, we still manage time for jokes. And snacks.

Here is us at the review the other night:

brawlingfootage.tl2 from Kamikaze Kitten on Vimeo.

20

Apr

What Does It Take #5: Group Dynamics: Positive Peer Pressure, Collaboration, Leadership.

To be successful, you gotta have the right people. Simple as that. 

Ha! Yeah. Simple. I mean, what does ‘right people’ even mean? And where do you get them? 

Well my friend, the ‘right people’ are those zanily ambitious weirdos who have an insatiable obsession to be the very best at roller derby (in whatever role they have: skater, ref, NSO, committee member, etc) and actually truly in all of their actions, seek to do so. No excuses.  And you can’t just have one or two of those, you need everyone on board the Zany Train for it to work.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it ;)

However if you feel like reading on you can hear some anecdotes and other such ramblings about Group Dynamics and shizz.

  • Positive Peer Pressure AKA: Inspiring your Team-mates and Creating the Competitive Cauldron environment

I do think from very early on, LRG wanted to be ‘the best’…I can’t really remember what that meant at the time, but we were always just really driven to continue to excel, whether that be athletically, organisationally or landmark setting-wise. When I say you need the ‘right people’, this is a complete mix: of personalities, backgrounds, thoughts and ideas, but somehow it all has to meld together. And most importantly for there to be respectful discussion and maturity when it doesn’t.

If your league is stuck in petty personality conflict, perceived power battles or has actual drama about which socks to wear for your uniform (TAKE IT FROM ME, DO NOT TRY TO FORCE EVERYONE TO WEAR THE SAME SOCKS. JUST DON’T), it can be very tricky to get on with the business of actually playing roller derby.

When I started with LRG, our goal was to recruit and train ourselves up enough to be able to put on our first bout (which was to become the first bout in the UK in September 2007). Same as any new league. Here is some footage if you feel like a trip down Memory Lane:

We went through the same growing pains as every other league out there. The one thing that we were committed to and believed in was the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. We may have only started out with one or two athletically minded individuals or organisationally ambitious people, and a quite a lot of others who seemed to be able to make the photoshoots (Gosh there seemed to be a LOT of photoshoots back then…!) but never make training. But the way my memory serves me (and I could be totally wrong!), is that we thought we were a pretty bad ass bunch of women and we wanted to be bad ass at roller derby. As time wore on, and we introduced an attendance policy and a rule where you had to wear your helmet at training (!!), we left many people behind. This was probably the start of the cries of ‘Roller Derby isn’t fun anymore!!!!’ Yep, sorry, you can blame LRG for taking the ‘fun’ out of roller derby. I don’t mind ;)

 The kinds of people who wanted to join us became more athletically or organisationally driven. There was just an unspoken understanding that we were always aiming for bigger and better and that our league decision making would be based around that. We HAD to aim for that…because there was no real benchmark at that point in time, so we just wanted to get to whatever the next ‘level’ was (and that has never diminished). We didn’t really have anyone to compare ourselves to so we just kept forging ahead.

A handful of these ambitious skaters eventually became a dozen, a dozen became double that, and now we find ourselves where we are today: a league that is competitive not just with our 3 teams (Brawling, Brawl Saints and Batter C) but also internally; try-outs into Main League are really tough, our 3 monthly team selections are always extremely tough to do, our scrimmages kick our collective arses every week, as well as being a league  who continues to pull off massive adventures like U.S trips, bringing over U.S teams….though still not one with our own warehouse to train in—-WHERE IS OUR BENEVOLENT BENEFACTOR?!)

In the beginning, no-one really did off skates training, then a couple of people started working out, then others saw the benefit, and now pretty much every LRG skater does some form of strength and conditioning. You have to…or training just really isn’t very fun ;)

I can’t say it is easy, and I know a lot of our skaters feel the pressure of having to keep up with the Joneses at times. The idea though is that you want to INSPIRE skaters to become the best they can be (rather than beat them over the head with it). And even those who are totally inspired have days where they really can’t be bothered—-but they do it anyway. If we are talking purely about wanting to be the absolute best (and I have no idea if that is something your league wants), then it’s going to mean hard work and cultivating skaters who really, truly are hungry for it. We never shied away from tough decisions.

  • Collaboration

I firmly believe in the power of collaboration to get the best results, rather than a top down approach. I don’t mean collaboration for everything and including everyone in every single decision (or nothing would ever get done). Here are a few examples of ways to collaborate:

Coaching: We don’t have one ‘coach’ or even one ‘head coach’. We have always had a coaching committee made up of 5+ coaches, and we then have 3 Heads of Training who get to do all the exciting admin work ;)

There is no ONE person making training decisions. WHY? Because derby is such a multi-layered sport, why WOULDN’T you tap into as many brains as possible? I don’t buy the excuse of ‘but we don’t have anyone who has coached before’ or ‘but we’re a new league, no-one knows what they’re doing, we need someone with experience’……LEARN and pull in as many resources as possible. (***more on that in the final installment about Training)

Brawling Stuff: For Brawling, we now have a Leadership Group: Myself as Captain, Kami and Stef as Co-Captains, Balls as Bench Coach, Rob as Line-Up Manager and then separately to that, Killian/Mr. Furieux as Jammer Coach. This is a fairly new concept to have SO many people involved, for Brawling (as it was when we introduced it in VRDL).

It is so great to be able to hear eachother’s differing opinions and come up with a solution. I can’t tell you how many times we might come to the table separately thinking one thing but come away with another better solution. If there is only one Captain or Coach making these calls, what variety of things are you missing out on because you only have one perspective? I know I am a subscriber to the skill of Critical Thinking and so I really appreciate someone playing Devil’s Advocate (or me being able to do the same) in order to come to a solution. And then secondarily to that, we are also very much led by team input too. What works for one pack may not work for another, and we all have nuggets of wisdom to share. I can understand that there is the potential for it to get out of hand, with everyone feeling like they want to have an opinion, but strong leadership will create ways for this to happen effectively, and good leaders will be able to take those millions of opinions and still make a decision. If you are a really great leader, your team will respect your decisions regardless of whether they agree with or not.

  • Effective Leadership

 This is a subject that I have spent a lot of time learning about over the last few years. And I believe it is absolutely critical for a successful league. Notice I say ‘Effective’…I don’t say ‘Dictatorial’ or ‘Martyr-like’. No-one likes a martyr: ‘I have so much work to do! Why doesn’t anyone else do anything? No one works as hard as me!’ and no-one feels particularly inspired by a Dictator: ”DO THIS OR ELSE!!!’. Learn how to be an effective leader, whether that be as a Director, a captain, a coach or a committee head. Consider HOW you deliver information, not just the information itself. It’s a whole other level of decision making…nothing is accidental. It is all very carefully considered.

Taking the time to understand how people work, and what people need to achieve success will absolutely make a difference (more on this really interesting topic in a future blog I think). Effective leadership doesn’t mean being infallible…it is a constant learning process and one that can be really rewarding if you have a team who understands that. The best leaders I have experienced are ones who inspire me to want to be better, try harder, do more or think about things in a different way.

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Group Dynamics are ultimately about how we work with and around eachother; pulling in the skills and ideas of everyone involved. A true team possesses a common identity, has shared goals and objectives, exhibits structured patterns of interaction and communication, and most importantly consider themselves to be a ‘team’. You can have different backgrounds, different personalities, likes and dislikes, but there is a common purpose when you come together. Derby can often be seen as a sport that encourages individuality, which is pretty awesome! However in order to perform at the highest level of the sport, paradoxically we need those ‘right people’ I mentioned at the beginning of this rather long blog, to transcend into something more than the sum of their parts, we need SYNERGY!

(like these weirdos below)

image

Photo by Rebecca Cornford.

06

Dec

Recently Lost and Found: My Self-Belief

I have always been a fairly confident person when it comes to roller derby. And by this I mean I have always been confident that I could work on my weaknesses to improve, and always had a positive mindset. I also used to have a steely resolve when it came to games, and often thrived in those down to the wire games. 

For some reason I lost that on LRG’s West Coast Tour earlier in the year until about 3 days before Brawling set off to Play-Offs, and it’s one of those things that I didn’t realise it had ebbed away until I suddenly found it again. Phew! I am so glad I realised though!

I think a combination of things caused it: being away for the 2 weeks prior to the WCT with Southern Discomfort at The Big O, so missing those crucial last few sessions with the team (won’t be doing that ever again!), skating on awful sports court which I was really surprised just how much it affected my style, then putting a lot of pressure on myself to tweak a few things in my game, feeling frustrated at training when that didn’t happen, my pack-mates looking and seeming obviously a bit down about how we were working together (for some reason, something was just not clicking). I began to wonder if perhaps this was it for me, that I had reached my limit and perhaps the game was better left for the younger kids coming up. It was weird, because I have never felt like that before, so having these thoughts creep in after 6 years of always feeling like I was on an upward trajectory, made me believe these negative thoughts  might just be true.

I had always managed to problem solve and pinpoint where things weren’t quite working (as a coach it is something I pride myself in) however I couldn’t quite grasp it this time. It seemed like we were all overcompensating and trying so hard that it just wasn’t improving.

Enter my team-mate Kamikaze Kitten with her advice from The Inner Game of Tennis which talks about how sometimes trying harder does not equate to more success.  And how Analysis Paralysis can then set in. I was sceptical because I did firmly believe that if we didn’t at least discuss what we needed to do to improve, that we would essentially be just doing the same thing incorrectly over and over. Kami disagreed and said: ”If you try and break it all down too much then you stifle your natural ability to adapt.”

It was weird though, because I would go to SDRD (Southern Discomfort Roller Derby, the Men’s team I coach) training and feel completely capable and strong against guys double my size, but then go into my own training the next day and just feel like a total klutz, often second guessing myself and what I should be doing. The obvious answer is that at the guy’s practice, I had nothing to lose and so had the freedom to ‘just play’. You also need to have a base level of confidence going into playing against and with guys who are stronger than you. ‘If only I could harness that ability with my own team training!’, I remember thinking. But then I would go into training trying TOO hard.

At the same time, about a week from Play-Offs, we got our Bench Coach Ballistic Whistle to jam against our pack. He gave us 2 vital bits of information about how our defense as a pack could improve. It was nothing complex or something unachievable requiring us to learn something completely new. We already had all the skills to achieve it. It was really quite simple.   It was what our pack had been needing the whole time. Someone from outside our bubble to just say what they saw and for us to make an easy change. It was THEN that it allowed Kami’s ‘Quitened Mind’ to function free from inner judgement or over-thinking.

It all just clicked, and then we WERE able to be dynamic and adapt during gameplay. I had felt like I wanted a ‘one size fits all’ answer to how our wall should react in any one interaction, when what I really needed was just a couple of new foundation stones which we could then build on using our instinct.

We were also doing some sessions with the Dynamic Sports Academy on Mental Toughness Conditioning, and it felt like exactly the right information I needed to hear and reminded me how I used to be. It really knocked the sense back into me.

AND THANK GOD FOR THAT! JUST IN TIME FOR PLAY-OFFS!

Now I can see the wisdom in what Kami was trying to say. I just needed to get out of my ‘judgemental head’ first. So having someone outside looking in giving us 2 simple bits of objective feedback (rather than me beating myself up for failing) was all it took to allow my body to do what it knew how to. I have always known I play best when I feel confident but I had encountered a weird glitch where I didn’t think I had the right to feel confident because I was clearly not capable. This was totally the wrong way to look at it. I also needed to take some of my own medicine and realise that Brawlgust (3 x a week Brawling Only training in August) was probably tougher than any game could ever be. Playing against ourselves, knowing all our weaknesses and how to exploit them, was so mentally and physically challenging.

So in the week before Playoffs, every time I had a little seed of doubt, I would say ‘NO’ in my head and close down the negative image or feeling, and visualise instead our wall being super strong and holding up against the Rose City Jammers’ power. I didn’t think about winning the game***, I didn’t think in ‘What Ifs’, I cleared my mind to pretty much just be this one image of our wall (and my place in it) as rock solid.

And everything about Play-Offs just suddenly FELT right. Walking into the Venue felt right. All the Backing Brawling photos people were posting felt right. From our pre-warmups with our pack, to team warmups, team meetings, to our bench communication pre-jam. It all fell into place without having to really think at all. I got over the hump, and now I feel like I am playing some of the best derby of my life. Hurrah!

I can’t WAIT for next season!

————————————————————————————————————————————(***In saying that, it was important that as a team we believed we COULD win. This was a turning point for us. Allowing ourselves to TRULY have self-belief that we could match ANY team in the World rather than just being happy to ‘get close’ to Top 10 teams.)

19

Sep

What Does It Take? Post #4

3. Commitment to Action/Accountability

The first entry I wrote about how important it was to have business structures in place to make your league run smoothly.

The next step on from that is that those structures mean nothing without a commitment to action and accountability for getting stuff done.

We all love roller derby, right? We all have a passion for it. But you’ll note I don’t include ‘passion’ as a recipe for a successful league. I believe plenty of skaters are passionate about roller derby, and their league, but it is our actions that are what turns your passion into the fruits of success.

Sure, you have to have passion to carry on even though you are tired, frustrated, annoyed-at-having-to-check-the-forum-on-a-Sunday-morning, but as this great blog entry that I literally just found, talks about, it’s the effort that counts:

http://blogmaverick.com/2012/03/18/dont-follow-your-passion-follow-your-effort/

A successful league will never say: ”But we’re just volunteers!” or use that fallback excuse of ”Well, it *is* meant to be fun after all!” when they continually lose games, if they are really wanting to improve. Absolutely, there are times when expectations warrant a ”Hey, I have a day job here, give me a break!” but the leagues that continue to build are the ones that really do just work their arses off and sacrifice their time, even when they would prefer to be doing something else.

So a commitment to action is not just having the big ideas, but the real, true commitment to getting it done and making it happen. Don’t just talk about it. Do it.

The next step of having a commitment to action is accountability. If we take on a task, we need to be realistic as to how much help we need with it, we need timelines and deadlines, and be able to delegate. We need to be accountable to someone/eachother. Whether it is the Board of Directors who take on tasks being accountable to the membership, or whether it is the person on Merch whose job it is to stocktake being accountable to their Committee Head, or a skater being accountable to her team by turning up to training.

What are the checks and balances in your league to make sure things get done? 

This isn’t about finger wagging and blaming people for not doing ‘enough’ work or being a martyr (”I do everything and no-one else does anything. That’s it. I am on strike!”. It’s about putting systems in place to make that work easier to achieve and taking personal responsibility.

It’s just a simple fact that if you have the people willing to put the time in to make something happen, you will see results.

28

Aug

What Does It Take? Post #3

2. Have Clear Values and Associated Behaviours as a League/Team

For me, this is actually where it all starts. All other decisions are based off of having a set of clear values and associated behaviours, as well as goals.

We talk a lot about goal setting in roller derby. So what does the ‘Values’ part mean? Values are things which are important to you. They will determine your priorities and deep down will be the things that satisfy you when they are being met.

Not having an understanding of your team/league’s values causes utter chaos.

The best way to tell this story is to give you my personal experience (the consequences of which have probably been the most rewarding and satisfying experiences as someone in a leadership position.)

Back in 2011, I became the Victorian Roller Derby League’s All Stars Captain and after having a couple of different Co-Captains, eventually Berzerker came back on board after having had a season off as Captain.

We realised we had a bit of a situation and were determined to put into place processes to change it. At the time, we had just switched to a ‘Top 30’ model where our A and B Teams trained together. The idea was that we were the Captains of the whole group of 30, and that B Team Captains would get chosen game-by-game.

We realised the huge difficulty in representing a large group of people who were on different pages. As Captains, we realised WE had assumed values that perhaps didn’t represent the whole group. For example: We wanted to be the best team in the country and play competitive WFTDA games and were willing to do whatever it took for that to happen. And we WERE winning games, however not everyone was necessarily happy with HOW we were winning them or how we trained with those goals in mind. We had skaters who thought it would be better if there was more even playing time, we had skaters untrusting of decision making processes (rosters, selection criteria, lineups, etc), we had skaters that didn’t like how ‘tough’ we were being in training. 

We realised that most, if not ALL, of our tension came from not addressing these broader issues of: ”Why are we here?” and ”What kind of team are we/do we want to be?”

People join roller derby for all sorts of reasons, and that is totally cool, but without some sort of joint understanding about the values or aims of your group, there will always be a tug of war when it comes to decision making.

So what did we do about it? We were determined to discover what the majority of the skater’s values were for our team. We were completely willing, if the majority of the team felt that way, to put aside our ambitions for the team (super competitive at a high level) if that wasn’t what the majority of our team wanted (though we secretly planned to step down as Captains if that was the case, because we knew we couldn’t Captain any other way).

Our actual process was one that was mapped out by Berzerker and I as a full on, ongoing process (that we later developed into a Seminar and Training Camp that we provided other leagues around Australia). But it started by getting the group together and deciding on our Team Values, and most importantly the ‘associated behaviours’ of these values. For example: It’s all well and good to say you value ‘Athleticism’, but that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So what does it mean to YOUR specific group? Does it mean ‘running 10kms to training and doing endurance drills with a weighted vest on’? Or ‘not being hungover at Sunday training?’ How as a group are you embodying ‘athleticism’?

Once you have your values and behaviours, you start to build a ‘culture’ around those values. It essentially allows you to say: ‘This is the kind of team/league we are!’, so then when new skaters want to join, they are fully aware of your purpose (other than just ‘playing roller derby, yay, girl power on wheels, woo!’ Everyone knows what is expected of them, including those in leadership positions. The values become your moral compass for decision making and will get you all working towards the same goals with enthusiasm and passion.

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If you would like to know more about this stuff, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. If you are interested in me coming out to your league to help you with this stuff, email me here: kitty@doublethreatskates.co.uk

19

Aug

What Does It Take? Post #2

Okaaaaaay! In my last post I talked about breaking down what I believe makes a ‘successful’ team/league. Here is the first secret:

1. Run Your League Like a Business

Here are some pointers about how you can make this happen:

A) Have a Strategic Plan

Set short term (0-6 months), mid-term (12-24 months) and long-term goals/plans (up to 5 years). With each of these, you need to set action timelines of all the little steps that need to be done to reach those goals. If you want your own warehouse venue within 12 months, you need to plan how that is going to happen or else it will always be a pie in the sky idea. Who needs to be involved to make it happen? What do they need to do? Who is overseeing it?

Ideally, the whole league should be part of the process in deciding these goals. You need to have buy-in from the people who are going to be donating their time to making something happen. Everyone needs to know the plan (make a copy of this available to new league members), and it needs to be referred to and used constantly, not just something you do and then forget about when there are changes of leadership or membership.

B) Have a Solid Committee and Worker Structure.

There needs to be clear departments and an understanding of how committees report to Directors/Executive Committees, and to the league.

Expectations of committee members is highly important.

Empowering Committee Heads to delegate tasks and to make decisions or recommendations is key. 

Make a Flow Chart of how your organisation works and have it available on your forum, handed out to new members, or up at your venue (if applicable).

It should be really clear what the roles of Board Members, Committee Heads, Captains, Committee Members are.

Tap into people’s day jobs, skills and contacts. Don’t let people’s skills go to waste!

C) Decision Making and Transperancy

How you make decisions in your league is really critical.

What type of things go to whole league vote?

Is it a simple majority?

Do you need a quorum for votes to pass?

What kind of league input is required before votes are posted?

What are the time periods involved?

I remember back in VRDL when I was on the Board, we didn’t really have a policy, so we bought in a quorum requirement but we were having trouble getting people to actually vote (even with an ‘Abstain’ option) which meant items stalled and it was really frustrating as we couldn’t move forward. So we decided to just make it a simple majority. It caused OUTRAGE! So we then had to go right back to basics and have a ”Vote Vote” to decide how we wanted to vote as a league once and for all!

POST MEETING MINUTES! I can’t stress how important this little bit is. Every Committee, especially Directors, should be posting their Meeting Minutes. In VRDL, we also required each committee meet once per month, which to be honest, often didn’t always happen, but as long as there was a little update to the league and Directors, it generally sufficed. Why is posting Minutes so important?

  • Transperancy: there needs to be a culture of trust in your league for it to be successful. Often simply bringing things up for discussion or posting Minutes can simply serve as a communication tool so that league members know the pressing issues that the Board/Committees are dealing with, even if they don’t necessarily care about the particular topic. Especially with big leagues, you can often feel in the dark about the big picture if the Board don’t post their Minutes. If you are all working with your Strategic Plan, we like to know what is being done to make it happen. Make sure Minutes are edited and posted thoughtfully. Often our shorthand notes are rather brusk with no context. Be sure to make them clear enough that someone who wasn’t at the meeting won’t get the wrong end of the stick. (Anyone remember the Great Miscommunication of 2012, VRDL?!)
  • Inspiration!!! We want to create inspired, passionate skaters for the next generation. So you never know if the discussion or Minutes you have posted might pique someone’s interest to be the next fabulous WFTDA Rep or inspire them to create a new trailblazing attendance policy.

D) Have a Budget/Finance Committee

Sending a team to the U.S costs tens of thousands of dollars/pounds.

Renting a warehouse space the same.

Spending £25,000AUS to put a bout on is a BIG DEAL.

All of these things require sound understanding of finances.

Clear financial forecasting and budgeting will allow you to book your season accordingly, plan for fundraisers, as well as league growth. You absolutely cannot just run piece-meal when it comes to league cashola.

Posting Bout P&L’s (Profit and Loss) to your league is really important too.

E) Don’t be afraid to outsource. If you need to and can afford to hire a book-keeper, do it. If you need to sub-contract an Events Manager for a one off event, because you don’t have anyone with those skills, do it!

14

Aug

WHAT DOES IT TAKE? #1

Brawling just came back from doing a training camp up in Edinburgh and we did a Q&A at the end of the session and we were asked a really interesting question (and one that has been repeatedly asked in varying but similar ways to me over the years as part of LRG and VRDL):

'How do you become a successful league who does things like compete at international level, get your own warehouse venue, and be at the top of your game?' (Not a direct quote, apologies, I can't remember the exact words used.)

Whenever I have been asked this, I am always slightly hesitant in answering because it feels like I am being facetious and assuming other leagues don’t do any of the things. EG: Train hard! DUH!!!! No shit. Thanks for the words of wisdom ;)

So I have had a big old think about this and have come up with a list of the main things that contribute to a league that gets shit done, both on and off the track.

1. Run Your League Like a Business.

2. Have Clear Values and Goals.

3. Strong Commitment to Action/Accountability.

4. Group Dynamics: Positive Peer Pressure, Collaboration, Leadership.

5. Getting the Most Out of Training: Innovation, Dedication and Commitment to Bringing Everyone to the Top.

So my next few blogs will be explaining in detail the ‘how’s’ of the above 5 elements, known as the Magical Unicorn Knowledge.

Well Hello!

It has been quite a while since I last wrote.

Reason: Oh you know, moved countries, (re)-joined London Rollergirls, Bench Coaching for Southern Discomfort, opened a skate shop, etc.

You would think this would be perfect blog fodder but to be honest, I only really feel like writing public things when I am sure of stuff…or at least sure of my unsuredness and find it an interesting reflection, but coming back to LRG has been really intense…re-joining the league I started playing roller derby with, coming back to my old friends…but after being gone for 2.5 years, who knew how it would turn out? So I have really just been focusing on the moment.

I’ve been back in London for almost a year now, and finally put pen to paper….

12

Jul

Roller Derby...the secrets uncovered....!

Click on the link

11

Jul