How to prepare for that first bout.

Congratulations, you’ve been selected to play for your league in your first bout.

It is nerve-wracking and exciting all at the same time. You’ve worked so hard to make it on to the team and you deserve it.

Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to have experienced skaters on your team with you, if not, then you are all in the same boat. Don’t panic. Preparation is key. Read the rules, and ask questions about anything you are unsure of. It will save you penalties in the long run as you’ll understand how to avoid then and if you do pick any up, why you got them in the first place. Watch other teams tactics at games then go and introduce them to your team. Every team does things slightly differently and it can help to see a more experienced team play.

Breathe.

It certainly is an exciting time, and now is definitely your time to prove yourself. All eyes will be on you, the opposition have never seen you skate before, they don’t know what to expect. Be confident in your ability, you wouldn’t of been picked for the team if your team captain didn’t believe you could do it. If there is anything you are unsure of, anything at all, ask. Chances are captains have heard it all before so will be able to help, and if they don’t, they’ll find out. At training sessions, try and play all positions to get a feel for them. Line-up managers always start with a few line-ups thought out but they usually get binned depending on how the game is going and what the team needs. You need to be able to play with everyone on your team. Get to know them on and off track. It is a well known fact that teams that get on well away from training play well together on track.

Breathe.

Pay attention at training. Make notes if you need to afterwards and read them to get the theory of the tactic into your head, then when you go on track again, the knowledge of what to do will already be there. Make sure you understand why you do certain tactics depending on what is happening in the jam. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you aren’t expected just to know these things without ever having been taught it.

And finally……

Enjoy it. Don’t get too caught up in the nerves, self-doubt, fear of injury. You’ve prepared well for this day and so has your team. Go out there and play to the best of your ability. That’s all anyone can ask. Get a good nights sleep the night before and pack your kit the night before with everything you think you might need. The basics you definitely need to pack, skates, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet, mouthguard, skate tool, tape, scissors, water, fruit, team t-shirt, boutfit plus anything else you want to pack.

Have fun and hit them in the tit. I’ll see you on the track.

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