Roxy Rockett

The slow down lowdown-A guide to balancing your stops

One thing basic skating skills should teach is how to control speed and balance. Basic stops (without toe-stops) trains you to use your weight in proportion to your speed/momentum and height. I will not go into the toe-stop vs non toe-stop debate at this time (though I am against them and I will be happy to explain soon enough), rather, go into actions done by skaters that show no real control of balance, therefore, creating some pissed off Refs, team mates and opposing bitches.

Toe stop slow down

When deciding to use your toe-stops as your only mean of slowing down, you never develop a full sense of balance, which in the overall scheme of things, you never really have true control over your skating.

    What’s bad about toe stop slow downs:

  1. High probability of injuring yourself. Either the ankle that’s out in middle earth, dangling like the tooth fairy over a toddlers bed, or, the ankle trying to hold your unbalanced self up. You have to keep both ankles on the ground at all times. Alone, your ankles have decreased in strength. If one ankle is being dragged behind you, trying to slow you down (150+ pound skater), and along comes another 150+ skater that wails the shit out of you… what do you think happens next?

    A. Possible tripping if that blocker missed the target (you) = Penalty. More and likely, if you constantly use this method to slow down, your ass will be in the penalty box. Then, your team mates should be pissed cause not only do they have to skate one skater down in the next jam, but your stink ass becomes a free point for the other team.

    B. Ankle strike! That solo ankle doing all the work holding up your body decides, “shit, I’m f’n tired! I can not keep working overtime for this bitch while the other ankle just goes and takes a nap. I’m done..”. CRAAAACK! You have broken that poor little ankle and you’re out of derby for a good 6 months.

  2. Remaining effective. If you use your toe-stops for slowing down, you more and likely use them as power points for blocking (meaning, you get all your power from your toe-stops to land a hit rather than your thighs). When this happens, your leg usually extends itself WAAAYYYY out and is being dragged behind you, while the rest of the pack is speeding up to reengage. Again, you’re on one ankle and the other is out there waiting to trip someone. Not to mention, how can you effectively jump into a sprint to reengage that jammer? You can’t.

Remember, your ankles hold all your weight. They need to be conditioned just as much (if not more) than the rest of your body. If you have weak ankles, I would suggest you do on foot glide squats on each foot every practice for targeted strengthening.


This is another balance issue. Some skaters seem to think that if they they swing their arms fast and hard enough, they will eventually be able fly. Wrong. You can never fly and you should stop trying now.

Remember the ‘derby position’? Arms in, knees bent?! (see previous post about Clinging) Whenever you do fall drills, speed practice, even scrimmaging, be mindful of your arms and keep them tucked into your body (in derby position) as often as possible. When you have to use them, be sure you understand how and when is appropriate in order to save the most energy.

What’s bad about flailing arms?

  1. Penalties– yes. Forearms to block; forearms to the face; elbows to block; elbows to the face are ILLEGEAL!

  2. You waste energy. If you ever watch the speed skating in the Olympics, they have their arms behind them and only use them to pump on the corners, especially during the 30 lap races. They do not use their arms for pumping until the last 10 laps, and only in the last 5 do you see them balls out pumping. When they do pump, the arms have a strict area in which they have to stay within in order to save as much energy as possible. I learned a lot from watching them skate. I went back to speed/endurance practice and started using their methods. Now, when jamming, I keep my hands behind my back to save energy (when I’m out of the pack). It works.

The plow stop leg extension trip

If you have graduated to the non toe-stop ways, then the next issue would be the leg extension when doing a plow stop. Most ladies do not actually do a complete stop, more like a plow slow down. Plow stops are good for when you need to reduce speed quickly. When doing a plow stop, both legs should remain within an arms length of your body. Doing a split plow to slow down, which takes up (literally) half of the derby track, isn’t an effective use of this stop. You have to sit back into it and use your ass muscles to control this stop.

What’s bad about this:

  1. Penalties- Tripping. Enough said.

It’s all about control and leg placement.

Categorised as: Falling


  1. Push-up Brawl says:

    As the head of the rules committee for an up-and-coming league, I really like your blogs–you explain this stuff in a way that makes sense…and is also funny. I think it’ll be a lot of help in explaining this stuff to my fellow skaters! Thanks!

  2. HellionBOI~> says:

    I want to learn how to stop using my toe-stop. But I have not felt that the T-stop is a comfortable or as helpful means of stopping. (I am still learning) Murrr…

  3. Hey, just popping in to say I like your blog. Keep up the good work! You have some great tips in here.