What’s your Mindset?

Very recently I had to sit through the analysis of my workplace annual engagement survey, and whilst that was a bundle of ‘fun’ there was something important I took away from that session.

My Human Resources representative, a lovely and charismatic woman, spoke of one main point, “Mindset.”

There is a woman named Carol Dweck, a Professor at Stamford University, who has done studies around this very point. If you read on, I think you’ll agree that it makes complete sense. So much sense that maybe you’ll start to question how you operate, and how you might be able to improve the way you see yourself.

Professor Dweck speaks of Mindset in the sense of school education however, I believe it can also be applied quite well to each of us in our roller derby lives.

After hearing about Professor Dweck I did some searching online and found a couple of articles that I really liked. Please see the links in the footnotes if you’re interested in reading about this further- whilst somewhat long-winded they’re incredibly insightful.

Professor Dweck talks about Mindset in two ways, those with a “fixed” mindset, and those with a “growth” mindset. The diagram below shows the opposing ways the two mindsets approach common things such as challenges, obstacles, effort, criticism and the success of others.

One thing to note with this, that it’s not about being a positive person or a negative person, but rather someone who is fluid in how they see themselves and how they take on feedback from life, or whether they are rigid in their self-assessment, and are just “this is what I am.” An example of a growth mindset description might be “I try to learn something new every training session I attend.” A fixed mindset might be “As a skater I’m ok.” Both statements are reasonably positive, but the statement which is the most promising is the growth statement.


The next article I found (2) is based on how you can develop a growth mindset, as not everyone has this naturally. The good news is folks; there are 25 ways here that you can help you develop a more growth centric mindset. I have picked out the top 10 in the list that I feel relate the most to those of us playing roller derby.

1. Acknowledge and embrace imperfections. Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.

2. View challenges as opportunities. Having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement. Learn more about how to fail well.

6. Stop seeking approval. When you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth.

7. Value the process over the end result. Intelligent people enjoy the learning process, and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame.

15. Provide regular opportunities for reflection. Let students reflect on their learning at least once a day.

16. Place effort before talent. Hard work should always be rewarded before inherent skill.

18. Cultivate grit. Students with that extra bit of determination will be more likely to seek approval from themselves rather than others.

21. Learn from other people’s mistakes. It’s not always wise to compare yourself to others, but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses.

22. Make a new goal for every goal accomplished. You’ll never be done learning. Just because your midterm exam is over doesn’t mean you should stop being interested in a subject. Growth-minded people know how to constantly create new goals to keep themselves stimulated.

25. Take ownership over your attitude. Once you develop a growth mindset, own it. Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your educational career.

I look at these points above and think about how I approach my life:

  • Do I recognise my failings, and strive to improve them?
  • Do I keep pushing myself further, or seek confirmation that I’ve done all I can do?
  • When I finish a training session, do I feel like I have put everything out there – have I done the very best I could do or have I just been present?
  • Watching my team mates – when I’ve noticed that there’s a common error being made, am I doing the same thing, or do I learn from this and better myself?
  • Do I set goals? Do I push myself further and higher?
  • Finally how do I see myself – do I have a growth attitude?

Well I’m going to be honest; I think I’m a little column A and a little column B but I’m going to seriously look at myself and see where I can be better, and do better.

Growth mindset here I come!


(1) https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/
(2) http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/develop-a-growth-mindset/


Love the Boutlaws? Vote now to help them win Thermoskin funding

Voting is now open for the Thermoskin Community Sports Fund!

Why is your vote important?Thermoskin

Roller Derby is a new sport and, as a result, heavily under-represented in all facets of the athletic world. Finding its roots in the feminism movement, it is a sport that encourages individual personal empowerment no matter your gender identity, sexuality, body type or skill level. No matter where you are at emotionally, mentally or physically, Western Sydney Rollers is an all-inclusive and supportive community.

Why the funds are needed

We are a self-funded league and have no major sponsors to assist with our running costs. Our women’s team is a competitve league in the B-division of women’s flat-track roller derby. Our league promotes fitness, inclusiveness and self-confidence in our members and the local community. We have been invited to attend a national competition in Adelaide (The Great Southern Slam) however many of our members are single mothers, students or have other reasons for financial hardship and will be unable to afford the costs of new equipment, uniforms, insurnce and travel costs required to partcipate in this tournament. Funding to obtain the required equipment will greatly alleviate the financial strain our representative skaters and coaches.

What’s in it for you?

Aside from the chance to help your favourite skaters to glory, you’ll be in the running to win a $200 EFTPOS gift card!

Vote now for the Boutlaws!


Deaf and Derby- it sounds catchy right? Sure it does, let’s try it again Deaf’an’Derby. C’mon say it quicker. Deaf’n’Derby.

Yeah okay it doesn’t seem to matter how cool you try and make it sound, it never comes out right. Geddit it – sounds right? Ha okay, I’ll stop with the puns. Maybe…

So last time you heard from me was about a year ago – I’d been skating for about a year – and I spoke about the tribulations of playing as a deaf skater. I’ve now skated for another year, and there’s been fun, many games, there have been a couple of obstacles, and there’s been a hell of a lot more blood, sweat and tears since.

I’ve discovered some important stuff for my playing capabilities. I found that for me, personally, lane 1 is an absolute stinker. It’s the equivalent of blindfolding someone and perhaps tying an arm behind their back just for fun. Other than that track placement doesn’t seem to bother me too much.

My team and I have tried a few different ways to communicate- and in the heat of the game it turns out that signs just don’t work so well – at least not for us. What I do find works best, and strangely I imagine that it works best for those of you with full hearing too, is calm talking.

It’s decisive, it’s directional and it can be loud; but not screechy like a feral galah. This seems to work best for me. It allows my brain to interpret what needs to be done, rather than have to decipher what “OMGLANE1LANE1NO!LANE4THEJAMMERISONLANE4” means. Oh yeah it’s fun.

What has become easier is being able to tell people, “Hey yeah, I’m deaf. I might need a bit of help when it comes to this, and that.”

I’m still not good at reminding my coaches to do it though. For me, it’s an awkward conversation to have, so I hate having it. Some people who know me well know that I hate talking about being deaf. HATE IT!

Anyways, because I’ve had the conversation before, I hate the idea of having to have it again to remind my coaches that “Hey! Don’t forget you need to have ‘that’ conversation with the refs at the captains meeting.” I know it shouldn’t be a difficult thing but it’s something I’m working on.

Good news is; I’m okay with telling someone new. It seems that there is a right way for me to have that conversation, and a wrong way. The right way is a private conversation where I can just go over what I need to in relation to called penalties and being addressed in the box (not that I’m ever in there…much). The bad way is where I’m forced to announce it in front of everyone where it makes me feel…embarrassed.  No one likes to be singled out. I hate that kind of attention; coupled with the fact that I don’t want to be treated as special. I just want to know when to go to the naughty corner, and when I can leave. That’s all 🙂

Playing as a deaf skater has meant that there have been other things to work on, along with the usual learning progression but thankfully I have wonderful people in my league who have been with me every step of the way.

It’s meant that I’ve learnt that going out with a plan is so much better than winging it. I mean that sounds like common sense but seriously…a plan! Those jams where I’ve been thrown out at the last second, and I don’t know what’s happening – I don’t know what wall formation, who’s assisting, or even what lane I’m going into – can really leave me feeling lost out on the track. I’ve been told that sometimes you don’t know this stuff, you just have to react. Well, all I can say is; right now…without that, I can only do the best I can, because without being able to hear your hastily thrown instructions, quite often from 10ft away, I’ve got nothing. Absolutely nothing!

So if you’re like me, and you’re deaf and you want to strap on some skates and play some derby – do it! Yes, it’s going to take some patience. Yes, you’re going to have to speak up on what you need. You’re going to have some fun.

Buckle up kiddo – you’re going to have one hell of a ride!

Homophobia? Knot Me: Rainbow Round of Sport

Let’s boot homophobia out of sport for good!

Western Sydney Rollers is proud to support a new initiative to give homophobia in sport the boot for good!

We think the only thing that should matter in sport is how you perform on the track (field, court etc). It’s 2016. No one should feel so intimidated that they hide their sexuality from their friends, fans and teammates. Together with our friends at Pride in Diversity, we are determined to make a difference.

The 2015 international study ‘Out On The Fields’ highlighted just how widespread homophobia is in sport:

  • 46% of participants believed that LGB’s are not accepted in sporting culture (versus 1% that did)
  • 73% of gay men surveyed felt that homophobia is more common in team sports than other parts of society
  • 84% of people who took part said homophobic jokes occur “all the time”, “often” or “sometimes”

We won’t sit on the sidelines while something like homophobia threatens to taint the sporting community – participation is for everyone.

That’s why Western Sydney Rollers is going rainbow and lacing up for the Rainbow Round of Support between Thursday 31 to Monday 4 April, 2016.

We’re proud of the fact that roller derby is an inclusive sport and we’re inviting every sporting player and fan – regardless of your sport of choice -to don rainbow laces and join us in this important initiative – let’s work together to make 2016 the year homophobia ceases to exist in sports!

Join the facebook event.

Silence on the track by T-Wrecks


So imagine, you’re skating, you’re low, you’re strong- your team mates are right there beside you. There’s a roar of noise. It’s a crowd of people shouting, whistles blowing, and wheels hitting the deck- but you hear….

Noise. Or silence.

Hi I’m T-Wrecks!

I’m going to do something I very rarely do- speak about something intensely private and personal to me.

I was born with nerve damage to my hearing. They discovered it when i was about 6 weeks old. I run with different hearing levels in each ear. My right hand side is classified as severe to profound, and my left ear is a bit better at just severe. Which puts me into the pretty damn deaf range. My hearing isn’t so great, especially in really noisy situations where i can’t really see what is going on, and there’s some pitches i just can’t hear at all. But I can read lips like no-ones business and you wont see me whinge about my hearing till someone headbutts me in the ear!

Okay so people are going to ask- how does a deaf girl play derby? With patience- mine and yours. With awesome communication, and not being adverse to being thrown around by your team mates (actually truth be told I enjoy that bit).

In reality it’s not that much different to how anyone else plays derby. I train. They train. I fall over. They fall over. Someone blows a whistle and people scatter- that’s my cue to get the heck out of dodge. Best thing is about derby and being deaf- Everyone is using their derby VOICE. There’s even some equality in it- do you know how hard it is to understand someone talking around their mouth guard??? For the first time ever I’m almost on equal ground, that my friend is pretty liberating.

Bad thing is- in scrim there’s so much noise and it’s frantic, you’re going to have to come up with some hand signals for you and your team. Even forming some good partnerships where subtle signals can be used instead of wild gesticulations. But just know- there are some of us out there doing it already, and not just deaf girls.

It’s fun! Come on… take a walk on the wild side.