beat tournament brain drain

How to Beat Tournament Brain Drain

Have you ever experienced tournament brain drain? That mild quicksand feeling of dulled senses, mental fatigue, and lack of sharpness? When it happens, you need to get your head back to its optimal arousal level, quickly. But we can also use some tricks …

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World Cup Team Canada Mental Game

Get Inside Team Canada’s Mental Game

By Jess Paternostro, aka Jess Bandit - Team Canada Roller Derby Head Coach Have you ever wondered how a diverse national team mentally prepares to compete on an international level? Short weeks ago, the world watched and cheered as athletes represented …

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Confidence Challenge

Unlock Your Confident Mindset!

We've all been there. We've all told ourselves we're not good enough, even though we are. We've crumbled under pressure, because we let doubts, fears, and a Debbie Downer of an inner voice kill our confidence. But here's the deal: no matter how much you …

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self talk mental muscle

Change Your Talk, Change Your Game

"Mind over matter"... "Rule your mind or it will rule you"... You've heard motivational quotes like these before. Although they sound cheesy or trite, there is truth to these sayings. Your mind is powerful.  In a roller derby application, the thoughts t…

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Tis the Season for Tryouts

‘Tis the season to be jolly fa la-la la-la la-la-la-laaaaaa!!! ‘Tis also the season for roller derby tryouts, which let's admit it, can be a little less than jolly. It's not uncommon to hear athletes are nervous or stressed out over an upcoming tryou…

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BadBrand (Photo: Steve Recsky)

Getting to Know BadBrand!

Meet the newest Coach to join the RDA team! BadBrand (aka Sheena Goodbrand) has been a dedicated RDA athlete for over 3 years and attributes her success and improvement on the track to her off-skate training with Booty Quake’s programs. She is the new…

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Maximize your off season

Maximizing Your Off Season

With the end of the WFTDA and MRDA playoffs upon us, most athletes are heading into an off season. Off season is essential for recovery, as it allows athletes an opportunity to rest their bodies and minds after a high intensity and sometimes stressful sea…

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Mental Muscle Falcon Punch Roller Derby Athletics

Mental Muscle Playoff Special: Preparing with Falcon Punch

The 2017 WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs season has begun, with teams from all over the world competing for a chance to make it to Championships. During these playoff weekends, have you ever wondered how these athletes prepare? And not just physically prepare,…

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Photo by my favourite skate shop,

Avoiding Burnout

20,000 km in 10 days. Since my last post, I’ve travelled with Team Canada to the UK (from the Northern HemisFear tournament to Birmingham boot camp), back to Montreal, and after just one day at home, west to beautiful Vancouver for the MRDA playoffs. I…

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Jess Bandit - Mental Muscle

Reflecting On The Refocusing Plans

In the last two Mental Muscle posts we met two Roller Derby Athletics members, Sara and Chelsea, who shared with us what diverts their attention and the refocusing plans that help keep them on track. Both these athletes were faced with distractions that h…

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Jess Bandit

In The Eyes Of An Athlete: Controlling Emotions

In the last Mental Muscle post, you met 'Sara' and learned about her Refocusing Plan as a jammer who struggles with key moments in games. Focusing is your ability to concentrate on specific cues in your environment. Having strong focusing skills can allo…

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In the Eyes of an Athlete: One Jammer’s Focus

Like many athletes, 'Sara' felt that she was not reaching her full potential on the track. She knew that she was getting distracted and needed a plan to change her mindset.  Focus is your ability to concentrate on certain key elements (aka cues) in your…

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Regaining Your Cool On The Bench

Unless you're brand new to roller derby, you probably heard of the expression: “Leave it all on the track”. We might register this expression to giving it our all (mental, emotional, and physically) when competing. But this saying can be used to keep …

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Photo Nic Charest,

Overcoming the Penalty Spiral

Most of us have experienced this before: the dreaded penalty spiral. We feel hopeless and useless as we’re making our way back to the penalty box over and over. No one ever starts off a game in hopes of receiving multiple penalties in a row, but sometim…

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Hello… is it Your Goals You’re Looking For?

At the beginning of the year, you were asked to develop goals for your upcoming roller derby season. I had you reflect on past performances to figure out what areas needed to be improved or what you wanted to achieve. By the end of January, you developed …

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Seeing Success: Your How-To Guide

As we learned in the last Mental Muscle post, visualization is a mental practice, or training technique. It can be used to strengthen skills to up your game. To recap, visualization is your ability to create mental images. You can see these images fr…

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Visualization: Seeing Success

What do you see in your mind's eye? Visualization, otherwise known as imagery, is a commonly used training technique that helps athletes strengthen their mental performance. Visualization is not a mental skill in itself. Instead, visualization is a very…

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Regulating with Relaxation

Breathe in.... Breathe out... Time to regulate! It’s important for athletes to be able to control their arousal levels. Arousal levels help athletes prepare for specific tasks. By learning how to shift between levels, athletes can enter their optimal…

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activation techniques - mental muscle from RDA

Pump Yourself Up with Activation Techniques

Whether we are preparing to give a motivational speech, lead a team, or compete in a roller derby game, we all need a certain level of arousal in order to have an optimal performance (be in the green zone). Remember that arousal is a mental, emotional,…

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Self-Regulation: Hitting Your Optimal Performance State

Every athlete needs a certain level of arousal in order to compete. Arousal is a mental, emotional, and physiological state that prepares you for a task and encompasses your energy levels. Imagine yourself preparing to pick up a heavy box from the floor c…

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Climbing Up the Goal Setting Mountain

In the last post, we learned about the importance of Goal Setting, and how it can impact our mental game. Goal setting allows you to create your mission statement - what it is you want to achieve this upcoming season. Goals can give you direction and, all…

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New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year everyone! The New Year marks a new beginning: a perfect time to reflect on the past and plan for the year ahead. As roller derby season is about to kick off for most of you, this is a great time to reflect on what you want to achieve! In t…

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Planning to be Green

Being aware of your thoughts, actions, and feelings is key when it comes to mental performance. Self-awareness helps you analyze your current state, as well as your progress. Mental skills training is not about applying a strategy as a one time fix. All o…

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Managing Your Emotions

In the last Mental Muscle post we learned about the importance of improving our self-awareness. Remember that self-awareness is your ability to be mindful of your thoughts, actions, and feelings in practices and in competitions. You had the chance to ex…

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self awareness - green zone

Know Thyself: Improving Self-Awareness

When it comes to Mental Skills Training (MST), Self-Awareness is an athlete's ability to be mindful of their thoughts, actions, and feelings during a performance. When it comes to improving your mental game, Self-Awareness is the backbone! Why is Self-Aw…

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Jess Bandit - Mental Muscle

Getting to Know Jess Bandit!

Last week we had a chance to get to know long-time RDA Coach (and my performance nutrition spirit animal) Lilith NoFair, author of the Derby in the Kitchen column. This week, we get to meet the newest Coach to join the RDA team! Jess Bandit is now bringi…

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Roller Derby Self-Talk | Roller Derby Athletics

Mental Muscle: Talking To Yourself

Your inner derby monologue: friend or foe?  Many of us struggle with that voice inside. Sometimes self-talk helps us a ton, and sometimes it can be a real jerk! Personally, I know this to be a big limitation for me in certain moments of the game. Rath…

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roller derby focus

Mental Muscle: the Focus Funnel

Roller derby demands tactical strategy, physical strength, explosive power, and quick reaction time. But to make all of that happen, you need your mental muscle working for you too! This week I'm pleased to have a fantastic guest expert on board to sha…

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photo courtesy of my favourite skate shop,!

Go From Benchwarmer to MVP with the 1% Secret

Photo courtesy of my favourite skate shop,! You don’t need to practice every day, or have natural born talent to improve at roller derby quickly. You just need to follow the Secret of 1%. Let me explain. Have a good look at this next st…

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Photo by

Three Non-Sweaty Ways to Improve at Roller Derby and Life This Week.

Sure, I'm always here to tell you how many push-ups or burpees to do, and how to become more agile. But sometimes you can also make big strides and improve at roller derby by working out your mind... [PS: Photo courtesy of my fave skate shop, www.rollerg…

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Pro-scuse me? The Best Systems for 2015

It’s that time of year again. A time for incessant year-in-review posts (OK, secretly I actually love those). A time for “new year, new you” blogs and heinous fitspo imagery. It’s a time for the devilish and often sexist marketing ploys of the f…

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Photo Courtesy of

Five Tournament Tips for Derby Domination

<*photo courtesy of my favourite skate shop, ! > It's tournament season for many of us, which means super fun road trips, inside jokes, sweaty gear in dank hotel rooms, and a whole lot to ask of your body. Playing 3 or 4 bouts in…

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Photo Courtesy of my favourite skate shop,

Can You Imagine Your Way to a Win?

(Photo courtesy of my favourite skate shop,!) When you step back and take stock of all the things we do to be at our best in roller derby, the list can be surprising. We go to practice and scrimmages. We tweak our gear (bearings, plates, wh…

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How to Survive a Derby Injury

We've all seen them happen, if not experienced them first hand. The anatomically impossible angle of a foot in a skate.  The breathtaking jolt of a seam opening inside a collarbone.  The quiet of the crowd when a skater doesn't get up from a fall... we …

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Looking over Indian Arm from Diez Vistas in Belcarra, BC

Ditch your Boring Workouts. Take a Hike!

On a recent scramble up the side of one of the many epic slopes in my big backyard here in Vancouver, BC, I was reminded of why hiking is one of my favourite activities outside of the rink. 1. Your skin is becoming translucent. For starters, just gettin…

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Get Game-Day Confidence with the Three Rs

We've all been there, seen that... You're racing around the morning before the big home bout, making sure the signs for the beer garden are printed/hand stamps are inked/will call list is up to date/announcers have their call sheets/whatever. Running out…

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