Captain and Commander; Shep’s Profile

So, how did you get into derby and how long have you been skating for?

I wanted to try a new sport, as I already played cricket, and it’s gradually taken over my life in the best way possible! I decided to come and watch a few rec league sessions because I was too nervous to take part immediately. After two weeks, I was itching to put skates on, so I did – that was over 3 years ago!

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What do you do when you’re not playing roller derby?

Sadly, roller derby doesn’t pay my bills, so I work as a Healthcare Scientist in the NHS. I specialise in radiation protection, which means my job varies day-to-day; one day I can be testing an X-ray machine, and another I can be calculating patient doses! I’m part of the KRG board that helps to run the league, so my free-time is spent doing admin to keep everything running smoothly. I’ve also been voted in as Captain this year, which is a real honour and comes with extra responsibilities such as roster selection, so I’m kept pretty busy. I don’t get the chance to play team sports outside of derby currently, but in the summer, a group of us get together to play rounders as part of league in Canterbury. It’s a lot of fun, and it makes a nice change from seeing each other with helmets on! I’m hoping to get to the gym a lot more this year, as I’ll be moving bases to work much closer to home. My partner and I moved in together last year, and one of the first things we did was to get a hamster called Jeremy. He’s the cutest thing ever, looks like a tiny bear and would definitely win a hamster-version of Gladiators . He frequently climbs upside down in his cage and has recently learned how to escape, but luckily he doesn’t go far because he likes snacks too much!!

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What is your super power/biggest strength on the track?

I don’t know about super power, but my secret power is definitely sneaking in an apex-jump when people aren’t expecting it. Jamming doesn’t particularly agree with my wheezy lungs, but I regularly pivot – the thrill of chasing down an opposition jammer to try and steal some points is worth being out of breath for! Mainly though, I love working with my wall to cover the track and slow the other team’s jammer down – there’s no better feeling than coming off track and high-fiving each other because you know you just crushed a poor jammer’s soul!!

What are your goals for next season? What would you like to improve on?

My main goal for next year is to be a good leader for our team, as we’re taking on new challenges in the form of further growing the league and setting up our own bouting schedule for the year. It’s going to be a big year for us, and I want to be able to support all of our members in the best way possible. Personally, I would like to improve my endurance and get physically stronger, so my 2018 will involve a lot of off-skates training… there’s always room for development, especially with an increasingly competitive roster!!

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What would be your number 1 tip for those looking to improve this year?

Be patient, and be honest with yourself/your coaches. Some skills take time to physically master, and some take even longer to overcome mentally! Talk to your coaches, tell them your goals and tell them what you feel is currently standing in your way. Remember to recognise all the small steps you’ve taken along the way to accomplish your goals – today, you might have managed to transition for the first time, and in a year’s time, you might be gliding backwards out of the pack on one foot…but it all started with that first step.

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