So yesterday was the last Skateful Dead practice before our debut bout. Our captain had banned us from scrimmaging with other teams this week – he didn’t want us getting injured.
The Halifax Bruising Banditas had their practice just before us. A few of them stayed back to our session. This is great as they have so much more experience than us.
We started, in groups of three, with “chest blocking”. This was new to me. When the jammer engages, the blockers, one rotates and pushes shoulder to shoulder. With legs scissored the blocker then uses a toe stop to slow the jammer down. It’s important not to completely stop the blocker as this results in a penalty against the blocker. (Also keep in mind that a canny jammer will try to trick the blocker into stopping.)
We then developed this further. Once the blocker and jammer were engaged in the chest block, the second blocker runs round to support the first. This sounds simple, but care must be taken to keep an eye on the jammer. I was practising with Captain Malice and Claire, with Claire jamming. She was being kind I’m sure as occasionally she’d just skip past me. I have so much to learn! Next we tried this with walls. I found that my arm kept getting trapped. We didn’t do this for long before it was time to scrimmage!
This was to be a “non-contact” scrimmage. Well, gentle contact. Well, we’re not terribly good at “gentle” to be honest :-)
The first half went quite well. I jammed and didn’t get a penalty! A quick break to feedback on how we felt we were doing; it was felt that walling was better than in previous weeks. A vote on drills or more scrimmage. Scrimmage won out – it usually does!
Just into the second half Adam, one of our new players, fell and landed heavily. He was jamming at the time and it seems that he just tangled his skates and fell. He didn’t get up. We cleared the floor and waited. A first aider was called, then after a bit paramedics arrived and then he was stretchered off! We carried on with some drills, but I felt that our hearts weren’t really in it. No one likes to see others get hurt. During the quiet period, whilst we were waiting for the ambulance, Mark showed me how to steer a jammer off track. Very useful thank you!
The initial prognosis was that Adam had fractured his hip! By evening though he was back on Facebook and said that it was deep muscle spasms. He needs to rest it well and will be wearing padded shorts in future. Phew!