Thursday, July 26, 2012

Simon Says

Alternative names: Simón Dice / Kungen Befaller / Kapteeni Käskee / Kommando Pimperle
Objective: To practice basic skills; to practice paying attention and listening to your teammates; agility; communication; warm-up
Typical length of drill: 5-10 minutes
Materials needed: None
Skill level required: None
Description: This is simply the classic Simon Says game with the added bonus of being on skates and thus being able to practice some basic skills while having fun.  Decide first if you alone will give commands or if you'll be giving the skaters turns to do it too.  Also decide on the punishment for doing something at the wrong time -- I like to give 5 or 10 push-ups.  Once the skaters have spread out around your practice space (everyone will need some room around them to shuffle and move around), face them and start giving commands.  For example:

  • Get low
  • Lay down
  • Jump
  • Shuffle left/right
  • March in place
  • Run on your toestops
  • Drop to a knee

The possibilities are endless!  Make sure you enforce the punishment for any time a skater does something when you have NOT started the command with "Simon says...".  For an added challenge, have the skaters do multiple commands at once and dole out punishment if they stop doing one of the tasks to start the next one (e.g. "March in place" and "Get low" -- skaters should continue marching while getting low unless Simon has said to stop marching).

For more advanced skaters you can remove the "Simon says..." aspect and simply have a commander-in-chief who tells the others what to do in rapid succession ("Jump, down, shuffle left, shuffle right, down, up, run, stop, back, shuffle right...").  That can transform this into a conditioning or endurance drill as well.

Additional notes: This is a fun way both to start and to end practice, and it's a good way for a skater to practice doing what they are being told (that sounds wrong but bear with me here).  Derby is a team sport and it should show when you are playing.  Even if you disagree with the strategy your teammate is commanding the pack to execute, it is better to fail as a team than to go it alone.  We need each other on the track -- the jammers need the blockers to make holes, the blockers need the jammers to score points, the blockers need the blockers to protect points.  When you are on the track it is almost *always* better to do the wrong thing as a team than the right thing by yourself, because it's like we used to say in NHRD: "When you're alone, you're a loser." As a team we can accomplish anything.  And hell, if we fail, at least I didn't fail by myself.

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