Louise Braithwaite is a Rollerderby Coach skates under the name Treblemaker #909 with Hereford Roller Girls (UK). Not only a coach for her travel team, she is widely known across the UK?(and beyond)?for her blog: https://www.treblemaker909.com/. Focussing on new skaters but including tips and support for skaters of all levels, Treblemaker’s blog is standard reading for skaters and a great resource for other coaches.
With so much to teach and share, it can be hard to fit it all into the time you have with your team. As a coach, I often find myself trawling the internet to point my skaters in the right direction. What coaches find is that Treblemaker covers a lot of the important information about cross-training and stretching and even acceptable behaviours for team members and players, all in one place. By targeting the skaters rather than the coaches, it acts as a supporting voice for the coaches who are there day to day.
It is one of the best examples of learning across teams, leagues, and continents. Treblemaker’s blog is an amazing example of distance coaching, a skill and resource that’s invaluable to new and developing leagues. Knowledge share grows our skaters and it grows our coaches. It grows the roller derby community.
How did you start in coaching?
I began coaching after about 18 months skating with my league, first helping out in fresh meat sessions then progressing to taking fresh meat sessions by myself. As my own skills and knowledge increased (with a lot of help from the millions of bootcamps I attended) I started coaching our intermediate and advanced skaters.
The thing that pushed me towards coaching was the fact my brain was so full of information that I just needed to get it out! As I was learning new things, I wanted other people to learn them too and thought I owed it to my team to share all the knowledge I was gathering.
I?ve never been in any kind of leadership or teaching capacity before but as my confidence as a skater grew, the coaching life just pulled me closer. In a small league with only a small number of coaches, having an extra coach really helps spread the load and brings different perspectives to the table.
I haven’t got any coaching qualifications (yet), I just try and emulate the coaches I think are great, the way they talk, how they deliver sessions and how they help people correct themselves. In the future, I’d love to make it official with some paperwork even if just to confirm I’m doing it right!
What do you like most about coaching your team?
I enjoy adapting what and how I’m coaching; sometimes what you had planned just does not work, sometimes people don’t understand what the hell you are talking about and stare at you blankly. You have to think on your feet and word things differently or break the skill down even further. Other times you just need to shut up and stop giving so many instructions, sometimes you just have to let people figure it out for themselves.
Coaching makes you look at your own skills and pushes you to get better and know exactly how and why you do something so coaching others means you get to improve yourself too!
You’re quite well-known for your blog, can you tell us about how you started it?
Just like with coaching, I started my blog because my head was full with stuff that I just needed to put out into the world. I learned A LOT during my Freshie experience, in terms of physical and mental training, injury prevention and how hard it can be for someone as socially awkward as me!
I felt like there are probably a lot of people out there just like me and I wanted to help make their derby experience as enjoyable as possible.
How do you pick your topics?
I write about all things derby that I think people might be interested in, mostly focussing on strengthening your mind and body. Roller derby is hard on the body and the soul and having confidence in yourself and your abilities is half the battle.
Sometimes it can be hard going thinking of something to write that I think will be beneficial to skaters, especially if I have been going through a hard time with derby myself, but listening to other skaters and their problems helps me find inspiration. Some topics I know a lot about and others I only know the basics so need to find out a lot more to give my readers the correct information. There are times a post will take me weeks!
My blog is all about trying to solve problems!! Just as it is with coaching, researching for my blog has forced me to learn more and improve my own skills so that I can share them with other people.
Your blog gets around 20,000 visitors a month from around the world – that’s pretty remarkable…
I have readers from all over globe, which is pretty crazy, and I believe my blog gets translated into a couple of different languages too! Although my blog is aimed at new skaters, I?ve still got readers who have been around from the start and others who have been skating a lot longer than I have.
I hear that my blogs get shared on league forums and that coaches often point their freshies my way. Sometimes I receive messages and emails from readers telling me how much they appreciate what I write. Some very kind soul even sent me a bundle of Lush goodies to say thank you! It’s very flattering and I am honoured that people find what I write useful.
What are your future goals for coaching?
It can be hard coaching and training and my style of coaching is to get involved in the session as much as possible so I don’t feel like I’m missing out.
Being a skater-coach there are definitely some compromises (if only we could train 7 days a week?.) and you do have to sacrifice your own sessions for the good of the team. Which is why I absolutely LOVE it when we have guest coaches! You forget how enjoyable it is to be coached, learn something new and focus only on yourself.
My goal for coaching this year is to actually coach less! I am turning 30 in a few months and don’t feel I’ve quite yet fulfilled my potential. My brother, who has played football and rugby for years and who is now a P.E teacher and Futsal coach says, be coached for as long as possible and I am going to take his advice. The better skater I can be, the better a coach I can be in the future.
Author: I’m an American transplant in the UK. I’ve had quite a few years to try quite a few sports. The sports that I find myself in love with, I have been coaching in varying capacities over the last 10 years. I started by herding 5 year olds through a capoeira roda, got my Level 2 in coaching rowing, and now roller derby. I love roller derby because there is no standard skater. The women who are successful in roller derby today do not fit into one age bracket or size bracket or body shape bracket, even as the sport athleticizes itself away from the traditional counter culture of its original revival.
I am the Head Coach of the only recreational roller derby league in Yorkshire. Which means I’m in charge of a team of coaches and their development. Of the lesson planning. Of designing and running assessments. Of making sure that 52 adult women learn roller derby, skate hard, and have fun twice a week.