Yesterday me and Mat went to Wales for SWS training.
I’ve been speaking to Terence and their only ref, Becks Macfarlane, about helping them bring in more referees so it was nice to go along and see what their sessions are like. They are LONG.
Five hours of skatey fun time broken down into two hours of SWS then three hours of Team Wales v Everyone Else.
I offered to coach their newest ref recruit Helen Northmore, she is an injured skater so off bouting at the moment and taking the opportunity to try on some stripes. First thing she says “I read your blog” shiiiiiiiiit. Weird to hear people say that.
The lads did some drills which made it really easy to talk through initiator, action and impact. Talked about where potential penalties could be called and what I’d be looking for… and suddenly realised that I actually knew what I was talking about. It has only taken 18 months but it’s starting to all make sense. Then we scrimmed and the tiredness of yesterday hit me and I forgot verbal cues to the point where Chaz stopped bothering to point them out. Hilar.
On the whole SWS look a hell of a lot scarier than they are. They’re actually pretty nice to ref. They listen for starters. They also know they need to put in some work to get more refs and I love that about them.
Thing is, for all that I love them I can’t write about their practice without mentioning an incident that happened. I pointed out a skater I thought was reckless and a danger… who then went on to need a trip to A&E for a broken bone. I can’t say I was surprised. But I should have been more adamant that they didn’t skate.
I know all leagues have that person – that they love for trying really hard – but they passed the minimum skills by chance and their grasp of the rules is questionable… honestly, please, get them off skates and do it quick. They always end up hurting someone and it’s rarely themselves. Realising someone needs more support is a GOOD THING. Don’t be afraid to be the person to say someone isn’t ready. It doesn’t benefit them or your league to have them on the track when they are unsafe.
I regret not being more forceful about stopping that skater participate in the scrim. The skill level and safety/rule knowledge wasn’t where it needed to be to play with the rest of the guys. I’ve learnt a harsh lesson and I’ll not let that slide again. I hope the skater makes a speedy recovery and gets back to training – but takes the time to do it safely.
Which brings me to this… they want more refs because they want to be safer, better and to progress. Anyone near to Wales who can spare some time to help them build up a ref crew please do. Message them on FB or their site: http://www.swsrollerderby.co.uk/
They have big plans. Be a part of them.