Talking derby, with Kid Block
Kid Block of London Roller Girls, England Roller Derby and formerly the Tiger Bay Brawlers talking with LDD’s Fully Harmed about mental toughness, real life and that ‘best derby moment’.
How many time a week do you train?
On skates derby training can be anywhere between 4.5 hours – 8 hours a week depending on the schedule that particular week (LRG have 3 teams and different training schedules for all dependent on time of year etc). I’d love to train more, most at LRG would. But unfortunately money and venues etc limit what we can do.
How do you manage a balance with “real life”?
Real life? haha, but seriously, derby is my real life. My 9-5 is now roller derby, my every day life is roller derby. Other than my family back in Cardiff, whom I definitely make quality time for on the regular… my every waking moment is roller derby! I basically made the decision a few years back that I wanted roller derby to become my life/job/career, and that’s what I endeavoured every day to aim for… and here I am. Hard work, passion and determination along with a bit of ‘you can do anything you want to if you truly put your mind to it’ mentality can get you a long way.
What is the toughest thing about staying competitive in roller derby?
Staying ahead of the curve takes a lot of work, both on skate and mentally. Roller derby is getting crazy crazy good… the skills, athleticism, tricks and strategy on display these days is just mind blowing. I watched some Champs from 2012 the other day and the level and quality of play and roller-skating in general, compared to now, is SO different. I generally have to work pretty hard to be a decent roller skater and I’ve put a lot of extra time in on skates over the years to improve my general skating skill (and I still could be doing way more)… I never skated before, or did much sport of any kind really… so now and again I have ‘OMG ALL MY SKILLS WILL BE IRRELEVANT SOON’ moments as the quality of skating just gets better and better. But then I go to training and forget about it and just get on with things. I like to think that my brain makes up for my footwork haha
What are your tips on staying mentally focused?
Remind yourself why you do this, and what you want to achieve. Make reasonable and achievable goals. Do more and think less. How many mental toughness books do you read where you skip the exercises or tasks? We don’t need to read everything ever in the whole world and then not apply any of it. Find what works for you and stick to it. I had one goal this season, only one, which was ‘just f*cking skate’, and that has been my most successful goal this far in my derby journey (and my previous goals were much more complex and ‘traditional.’) Everyone is different, everyone has their own motivators and reasons for being here. Find it, stick with it, and don’t try and compare or contrast your journey to anybody else’s. This is you, your life, and your movie. Also – your hard work is still real, even if you don’t post about it on social media.
Have you ever lost your mojo and how did you get it back?
I have never had a huge derby lull like that which you hear and read about. I think I just love the sport as a fan way too much, not just as a player. I don’t train and play just to make rosters, or play particular games, or travel… I honestly play roller derby because I absolutely love the sport so much. So I guess perhaps it’s to do with my motivation for wanting to play? I know once I’m retired and past it I will be as excited for playoffs season each year as much as I am right now, and it will be marked in my calendar and nobody will see me for weeks on end. It is an incredible sport with incredible people and I can’t see me ever losing my mojo as long as the sport continues to progress and move in this direction. I obviously have moments when I don’t want to go to training because I’m feeling lazy or I want to have a ‘Stranger Things’ marathon, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know that as soon as I get to training I’ll be glad I got my ass off the sofa.
Best derby moment?
Sooooooo many! Seriously, this is my most feared question haha. What if I say my best derby moment was that very first session I went to? The one that literally changed my whole life? Yeah, I’m going to say that. Thank you Tiger Bay Brawlers <3
How have your personal goals impacted on your skating progression within leagues? Have you had to make any hard decisions from goals conflicting or putting your personal wants over league wants?
My personal goals have always aligned pretty consistently with teams/leagues I have been with (Tiger Bay Brawlers, London Rollergirls and England Roller Derby), which has always been to be the most competitive we can be. So in that sense, no I’ve luckily never had an issue with conflicting goals. I know as derby grows and there are more skaters joining the sport for more and more varied reasons this is becoming more of an issue within leagues. I think it’s just good to continue to talk as a league, and ensure that the league is involving for the league as a whole and not the individuals themselves – and that yeah, hard decisions are going to need to be made if you have that aim in mind. There are enough leagues around these days that individuals can find what they’re looking for.
You are sponsored by Chaya skate, which came first, wearing their skates or being sponsored?
I would never endorse a product that I hadn’t thoroughly tested and worn for long enough to know they’re of a high quality and that they work for me personally. So I got my skates first and wore them for a good month and got to know them before signing anything (and I’d advise anyone else to do the same). Chaya are a great product and a great brand, and the core company, Powerslide, are all about making the best products for roller derby and roller skating in general. They’re a pleasure to work with and I’ve never been happier with my gear.
Last question, if you are ever in Edinburgh would you like some come and visit us?
Hell yes! Sign me up!