No offence, but…

As I look forward to what I want the current season to bring me, like somewhat of a letter to Santa of goals for the coming year, I am active in my retrospective thought.
I’ll keep this one short kids but the take home message from this, coming from a jammer here, is that you are not alone.
What do you mean Shank? Of course we’re not alone, there’s 4 of my awesome blockers on track and the rest of my team are on the bench, I’m grand!
Do you (when jamming) actually believe this? Let’s have a chat about it!
I don’t think that many jammers do. I find that we swing from thinking that we’re the bees knees and that we can take on the world to blaming ourselves for every lead jammer lost, every point lost or not scored.
I find this when I coach, or even just talking to people who jam at scrims or training and  even after games. Getting beaten down in your head is exactly how you will lose the game (I just lost The Game by the way…). Keeping your head up, being analytical and trying to figure out how to best proceed and change things up is the only way forward, not slipping further into the tar pit of self-deprecation.
One of the ways that you can work on your mental strength is making a conscious decision to work with your blockers in games and in training, potentially quashing some of that feeling of isolation.

Anyway, here’s a Gif on a lighter note, highlighting how important team-work is.

Gif here!
I wouldn’t have got out for lead jammer (if at all) in this situation if I hadn’t had offence from the amazing Samdroid.
This team-work makes me feel less isolated, allowing me to focus wholly on my jamming. Training to know to look for offence, knowing what offence from my team is likely to look like, and training my teammates to know what to expect from me in these situations paid off greatly here.




Hit me!

A lot of people recently have asked me about the prototype Steaks padded compression shirt that I showed a video of while I was at MRDA champs.
Steaks Roller Derby Accessories

Questions that have presented around protective gear is: “isn’t that just like American football?” “Why should you get padding? You’ll have the advantage” “That’s not fair” etc, and I understand this thinking and the concerns that arise over this. Since I am so pleased with my shirt, I’ve decided to set the record straight for this particular example. This is a compression shirt with light padding over my sternum and the sides of my rib cage – it will not protect you from all impact, nor stop you feeling any impact. The intelligent Poron XRD material is flexible, soft, and lightweight while at rest. While above the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the composite urethane molecules and under high rate of impact or high velocity impact the urethane molecules in the padding “freeze”. This firms up the material (not hardening, so there is no adverse affect to the instigator of said impact) to form a comfortable protective shell that absorbs and instantly dissipates up to 90% of the impact energy repeatedly over time. I have now worn my steaks for several training sessions and at Men’s European Cup. , I have found the shirt to be incredibly comfortable to wear and after one wear it felt like a second skin, not feeling cumbersome at all. I have happily worn it all day including skating at MEC and I never felt overheated.

Whilst it couldn’t prevent a sprained ankle, the dissipation of force allows me to take hits to my chest and ribs without the usual instant pain or discomfort. These hits are still effective in terms of roller derby play, but keeps my body safer. I’ve also been wearing the shirt in the gym and I am still afforded comfort, flexibility, breathability and range of motion- with the sternum pad acting as a good point of contact for the bar when bench pressing.

Please feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions, as you can tell, I’ve done quite a bit of reading about this product!

Dallas here I come!

32,000 feet in the air and travelling at over 500 miles an hour is where I draft this post. Somewhat appropriately watching Groundhog Day for the first time as ten hours on the plane feels like eternity.

However, after months of training, I’m on my way to Texas. Playing for my team, my brothers in arms- Southern Discomfort, awaits me.

People along the way have asked me what takes me to America, my chest swelling with pride every time that I tell them (having to explain roller derby to most). Every time that I think about playing Derby this week I get a different kind of lump in my chest. The build up to this tournament has been as much of a mental battle as it has been a physical one. I think that I’ve been transparent about being diagnosed with depression and anxiety earlier this year but it’s not something that I talk about publicly much. All I know is that without the help (financial or otherwise) of my friends, my family, acquaintances, and the roller derby community, I would not have been able to push myself this hard and to be able to represent my team on the international stage. I know that I bang on a lot but I am grateful to every single one of you from the bottom of my heart. 

I’ll post this when I land and there’s going to be plenty of photos and I’ll post any family friendly anecdotes 😜

Tomorrow we travel from Dallas to Austin for our warm-up game and I can’t wait to play some damn Derby! Bully!! 


This week has been another full of hard training and rigorous mental preparation. 

Saturday marked the final game in the UK for SDRD before we fly out to MRDA champs. After a day of coaching and scrimmaging, we were all less than fresh in our boots and down some of our most seasoned jammers. Regardless of this, our defence is so freaking strong and I have been training so hard to increase my endurance thanks to workouts from the incredible Vicki Slaps of the Cambridge Rollerbillies. Smart jamming ethos and tips from the one and only Miracle whips have been fuelling my whole jamming game at the moment- I highly recommend attending a coaching session with her as the one that I did at Eurocon has completely changed the way in which I jam and think about jamming.

This medley of calm thought, with mental and physical preparation led to what I feel is the best game that I have ever played. I have more things to work on than I care to mention, but this game marked a change and I felt ready to take on the oncoming challenge.

2 years ago I had started casually skating with Southern Discomfort roller derby, just as they were about to travel to Washington. Sat at home in a then new SDRD 2014 MRDA champs shirt I watched the best of the best in the men’s game battle it out and I knew that I wanted to be at that level. About a year later, I made the decision to drop my lifelong passion of music in favour of devoting my life to playing roller derby and officially joined the league. Fast forward a year filled with incredibly hard work and the steepest physical learning curve i had tackled so far, I am now a part of the MRDA champs squad and I get to skate with my heroes. Not only on a weekly basis, but now in the most important tournament of the season, and definitely of my life so far. The pride that I have for this is immeasurable and the camaraderie I feel from my brothers is paramount.

Those who know me, will know that I knock myself down a lot. This isn’t always the best attitude and to those who are making big leaps in your team, or even small leaps. I implore you to take some perspective and to focus on your achievements and not to dwell on what you perceive as failures. 

I am ever shocked and grateful to be a part of this team and so much more so that this trip was made possible by many wonderfully kind and generous people. Thank you all so much and watch this space! I fly out in just under two weeks! 

Boot camp mode

This week has been a pretty fun week and I have been mulling over just how important rest is in any routine in life, especially exercise, and for me training for champs.
Given that my usual training regime involves 2 days training with SDRD and 3 or 4 cross training sessions at the gym. These sessions involve strength lifting, endurance style lifting, cardio, and core work. (More on this soon). I have learned to rewlly cherish the days in which I do no heavy lifting or strenuous exercise, and instead devoting this time to meal prep, stretching, or doing absolutely nothing! 

People often ask how I prepare for a game, and it is often asked of people’s pre-bout rituals. I believe that bout prep should many days before- calculating your nutrition and keeping your body supple whilst not fatiguing yourself.

Therefore, This week I was tapering off my training for the SDRD big bad boot camp! Today I’ll be coaching with the team for four hours, scrimmaging and then playing a game against an all star LRT/SWS team. Such a long day of skating can’t be tackled if I had continued to lift heavy and push my training to the max! Sunday and Monday saw me cross training as usual, with team training on Tuesday, and my rest night on Wednesday. This week I tried something different on Thursday and went rock climbing – this allowed me a fun workout which focuses more on upper body and leg stress being bodyweight only, and Friday’s fitness activity was devoted to yoga and foam rolling.

Tl;dr: if you’re working out and training hard for roller derby, think intelligently about what to do with your rest days and bout prep starts way before the bout!

Journey’s start, sort of…

Welcome all!

I’ve started this blog for a number of reasons and this first post is going to be an explanation of what those are!

For starters, here are the basics!
I’m Shank McCoy and I am a Jammer for Southern Discomfort’s Knights of Discomfort.
On the 15/16 October 2016 I will be travelling to Texas with my team to play in the Men’s Roller Derby Association championships, the furthest I have ever traveled in my life, let alone for roller derby.

The main reason for this blog is to keep all of the generous people who have donated to the fund to get me to champs (and any of the other incredibly supportive people who wish to know how I’m getting on etc) in the loop with how my training is going on and off skates.

I will be uploading many pictures and updates from my journey  as I go.
This is also a brilliant forum for me to document any thoughts, feelings, pondering, and musings about roller derby, fitness, motivation, and diet.

Finally, I will be able to talk to you lovely people about the other great people who have supported me in many forms along my journey!

Thank you and keep your eyes peeled for updates!
Please drop me a message if there’s anything I’m missing out, or start a discussion!
I want this to also interact with the community wherever possible!