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[Show Up To Grow] Day 18: Shock

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

[Show Up To Grow] Day 18 – Shock

By Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels

No-one likes a shock. It represents something that has gone wrong. It can be anything, from an unexpected snowfall, meaning the roads will be more challenging, and I’ll likely be late if travelling, to the realisation that the thing I was meant to bring for someone has been forgotten. This morning, the shock was caused by unexpectedly high data roaming charges. I don’t understand how as I’m connected to wifi and have a data allowance to use abroad…

Shock often leads to anxiety or acute stress. (My current problem isn’t a huge problem, I’ve coped with worse!)

Shock feels as it sounds – a jolt through my body – it’s as though my nervous system is forcing my body to spring into action and providing extra energy required for it. I got a series of text messages detailing additional data roaming charges and quickly switched the roaming off!

In roller skating, there is the shock of falling. You end up on the floor so quickly. This is the biggest factor that keeps folks from trying roller skating as an adult. I know this from the many conversations had both at the shop and at classes. Falling is part and parcel of roller skating though, and a challenging one to mitigate.

The reason we fall early in is due to our bodies not understanding that we need to get lower – our startle response to a shock is to throw weight backwards – resulting in falling back – ooof! This fall onto the back or coccyx is one that every roller skater will do at some point, and it hurts! You’re most vulnerable to this fall at the very start of your journey and this fall will also put many off continuing as it is so very painful. It is also difficult to bend your knees – the very thing that will save you - when you are tense and worried about falling. We do support you and teach you how to train your body to fall and the correct positions to adopt, so you fall forwards rather than backwards, but you still have to practise these positions.

I thought that once I stopped playing roller derby, where the objective can seem like you aim to knock over someone else (though it’s actually to get past the other team to score points), the falling would stop. Shockingly, it is not! Any time I’m learning something new, I have to learn the balance point for my body. Learning something new can mean anything from new equipment to a floor I have not skated on before to new skate tricks.

I usually start by testing the new space / trick / equipment by taking things more slowly. It allows me to build experience with whatever the variable is and reduce the chance of falling. I do still fall though and its always quite a noisy slam – shocking for anyone who may hear. I was testing out the Retro Rollers Skate Studio on my own yesterday afternoon and overbalanced turning too tightly on their floor, falling into a heap on the floor. I'm totally fine though! Most of the time now, when I overbalance, I can usually style it out so I don't make it right to the floor. To the less experienced skater it may look like a cool move! See if you can notice experienced skaters falling.

Does the fear of falling hold you back or have you overcome this?

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