Get to know the Inferno’s coach, Ann T. Social, in our latest installment of “Five Questions For…”
What made you want to become a coach?
Well, quite honestly, it all came down to timing. I had left derby to complete a masters program and when I finished that I really wanted to be involved with derby again. With a torn ACL, playing just wasn’t in the cards at the time. I saw that AFA needed a coach to take them to the next level and I had a few ideas for getting them there. In the long run, needing to focus on the team’s needs and strategy will make me a better player when I finally put skates back on. It’s been a great experience.
What is your coaching Philosophy?
I believe in creating an environment that allows for both individual and team growth. Teamwork is at the core of roller derby and by leaving egos off the track and working hard, any team can find success. I have a very strong work ethic, which I try to pump into every practice with physical and mental challenges that build on previously learned skills. The end goal is always growth.
What is the most rewarding part of being the Inferno coach?
When I first took over coaching, there was a lack of aggression coming from the team as a whole. I think in the last few months, I am seeing bigger hits and less hesitance on the track. I love that rather than being intimidated by the contact, the team is starting to enjoy it more and really lay the hits on each other and their opponents. Every time I see it, it makes me wish I was on the track with them. The team has grown tremendously in the past few months and I look forward to the day that they outgrow what I have to offer. I believe it is sooner than we realize!
How do you build a team?
Motivate, inspire, challenge, have fun, be fair. Derby is an all consuming hobby. We spend hours every week together, pretty much year round. Team bonding is so very important to having the track chemistry necessary to win games. When a derby league becomes like your family, you’re going to fight harder for them on the track, because nobody messes with your family.
How is the team preparing for their final bout of the season?
The summer heat has impacted our training a bit, and I think that it showed during our last bout. So we are going to spend the next month better balancing our efforts while not experiencing heat exhaustion. I don’t want to give away too much info, but I will say this is not the same team that played here earlier this year, we’ve come a long way.