“Believe in yourself and work really hard!” Becky Ruckus on being selected for the Team England training squad

Becky during Team England tryouts

Becky during Team England tryouts

To say we’re proud is an understatement. Our very own Becky Ruckus has been working hard and inspiring her team mates for a number of years now, but her achievement of making it onto the Team England training squad this year is something that feels like another level – for the whole league. Or rather, it has made us all look ahead to what can be achieved if you put in the hard graft.

We caught up with Ruckus to find out if she’s come down off Cloud Nine yet and what she hopes to learn from this amazing experience:

So Ruckus, how does it feel to have been selected for the Team England training squad?!

Not real – I see my name on the training squad but it’s not actually there! It was weird getting the ‘thumbs up’ email, I must have slept about two hours in total that night – I’ve not felt that excited since Christmas eve 1996. I reckon it won’t sink in until I get stuck into training with the team.

You’ve been skating with LRB for four years – what made you feel like this was the time to go for it with Team England?

I had no idea at the beginning of the year that I’d try out. The dates got released and I hadn’t seen them. Then my amazing team mates told me about it and told me I should try out. One of our coaches Atomic made a post encouraging LRB players to try out too so that was the push to just go and have a crack at it, have a good time and gain an experience. I got a lift and a few of us went across to Manchester. I had zero idea that I’d make it to the training squad. My intention was to work out where I slotted in in England’s derby community as a jammer, work out what I needed to do to improve as a player and push myself playing against/with different players.

Roller derby game

Image by Peter Harris.

You’ll be training with the top skaters in the country – what are you hoping to learn from this experience?

Everything that I possibly can! I’m so lucky to have this amazing opportunity to push myself with these incredible players who I’ve been watching on YouTube for years. There are going to be new drills, new strategies and a whole new team to mould together. Roller derby is improving every year and teams are getting stronger and smarter together. I’m really interested how quick we’ll all settle in and how I learn to adjust to team changes. I’ll also be training with some of my jamming heroines so my eyes and ears will be open for my own improvements for sure. I know that I’m going to learn so much from training so I’m not going to think about it too much and just take it as it comes one step at a time.

You joined LRB as a skater who was pretty much starting from scratch – and now here you are on the Team England training squad! What advice would you give others who are finding roller derby difficult or are not sure if they can progress?

Yeah when I started with the league, I couldn’t skate at all. Since starting roller derby I’ve realised that I am a slow learner and a perfectionist – I’m also incredibly stubborn. This all seemed to work well for me together, haha! I think repetition is important. Drill everything until you don’t have to think about it anymore. Find your rhythm. Cross training is really important for roller derby.

You need to find out what your body can do/how it can move before you put it in skates and on a track. When you know what you’re working with you’ll start to find yourself flowing – sometimes flying!

Don’t get down-hearted – whatever has just happened, you’re always learning from it. Pick yourself up and move on. Roller derby is really hard – you’re learning how to play a proper physical game with a rule book of about 70 pages, on skates, with a team. You’re not going to perfect everything in your first month/ year/ first 5 years of training. But you can progress, and you will if you’re determined, you believe in yourself, and you work REALLY hard. To do all of this though, rule no.1 is…. turn up to practise.

Jammer playing roller derby

Image by Peter Harris.

Watch an interview with Ruckus!

Hear about how Ruckus feels about skating with LRB, her training regime and more. Video courtesy of the ‘We Call The Shots’ team at Loreto College.

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