Things I Wish They Had Told Me Klaudia Sapieja by Morgan Leik

Published on July 29th, 2013 | by DerbyLife


Klaudia Sapieja by Morgan Leik

You’re Doing Better Than You Know

By Klaudia Sapieja

“Ugh I can’t.”  “She’s better.”  “Wish I could…” “If only…” “I gotta get better at…”

We’ve almost all heard this before. If not out loud, then in our own heads.  It is not uncommon for roller derby players to get down on themselves. All athletes, for that matter.

Yes, roller derby is a challenging sport. It pushes us to our limits. It feels amazing when we succeed, and crappy when we don’t.  And that’s why we love it—because there is always room for improvement. Everyone who does this sport begins at a different stage, and everyone learns at a different level. Other people’s skill level should not matter to you. If you compare yourself with others you will be disappointed, as there will always be someone out there who is better than you.  So don’t compare. Focus on improving yourself. Be better today than you were yesterday.  The key is to focus on the process. If you want to cross a stream you can’t just jump across it. You lay out the rocks and cross it one step at a time. And each step is a success, not just the final one.

If you want to be an amazing roller derby player, focus on the process. One step at a time. Set a small goal for every game and practice you attend. Achieving the small goals will help you achieve your “dream” goal of being awesome. Some examples: “Today I will…”

  • use my edges
  • stay low
  • lean in
  • communicate
  • stay positive
  • pick up my feet
  • encourage others
  • smile!

Notice these are little things that you can accomplish every time you play. They are called process goals, and they are in your control. Beating your opponent is an outcome goal, and isn’t always in your control.

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s the journey, not the destination.” Well here’s a better one: “With one eye fixed on the destination, there is only one left to guide you along the journey.”

So remember to enjoy every moment of your journey in derby. Be gentle with yourself. Instead of cursing at mistakes, learn from them. There is a term used in Japanese—“kaizen.” It means constant and never-ending improvement. And on this road to improvement, failure is essential. Athletes and teams learn a lot more after losing a game than winning. When you win you celebrate, when you lose you analyze.  Or you just win the after-party.

Roller derby provides an incredible environment for learning how to be patient with oneself. There will be times when you get down on yourself and there will be times when you just don’t feel good enough. When that happens, just remember that you’re doing better than you know.


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  • Missy Dogpile McIntosh

    Great words for ALL skaters but very important for our fresh meat/Newbies/babies :)

    • Audrey

      Yes it is. Trying so hard to not let my own head get in the way as I finish my 2nd day of bootcamp. Such a tough challenge. ugh.

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