Roxy Rockett

Rollergirl Maintenance

Keeping your skates clean and dust free is a grave concern to us all. Sturdy skate laces and wheels that have some life left in them are also just as important. Yet after all that bullshit about cleaning bearings and saddle waxing your leather skate boots has lost its scent, the most important item of business to keep tip top is the skater herself.

Knowing when to come to practice and knowing when to leave.

The next section of this blog will be all about rollergirl maintenance. Things I have experienced in my years of derby and things I am still trying to grasp.

Posts to be expected (but in no particular order):

-Rollergirl AWOL

-A rollergirl time-out

-Role’s of a rollergirl

-Derby bitches- loving the ones that love us


Response to a letter

This lady has been in contact with me since I started this blog early December (her name alone brightened up my day!).Anyway, she wrote me last night and asked me to give her some advice. I usually do not answer emails like this, but hers, I felt, warranted a post since all of these issues are present for majority of skaters at any level. Below is her letter split into three parts.

[1]. “I’ve been really frustrated with myself b/c I don’t feel like I’ve been improving in my speed but I’ve got a lot of endurance

[2] “I’ve been bouting with my league for 3-4 months now and with no signs of improvement, I’m frustrated with my performance.”

[3] “I have a bit of performance anxiety issue b/c I perform really well at practice and then flop at bouts. I’ve sought professional help but I don’t feel like it has been helping so I stopped. “
-Chinese Take-Out

[1] Why am I not getting faster?

There are a few factors that could be hindering your ability to go faster.
A. Floor– If it’s winter, the floor becomes cold and much more slick. Or, the floor may be extremely dusty and your wheels (no matter how soft they are) will not find grip.

B. Skates– Your skates are basically shoes with wheels on them. If you constantly run around in them and do sprints and stops and suicides and jumps, they’re going to start adjusting to your wear and tear and are going to need some upgrading.

Somethings to check/adjust on your skates:
Your trucks– may be a lot looser than you can handle, tighten them to your liking.
Your wheels– have lost their grooves/grip (especially if you’re on a cement floor); clean them with soapy water (be sure not to get the bearings wet), rotate them, or get a new pair if none of the above seems to be helping.
Your boots– may have stretched to a larger size, try to start wearing thicker socks (or 2 pair) or simply tie the laces tighter. If none seem to be working, try using 2 sets of laces for extra enforcement or 3 pairs of socks. If all these fail, buy new (leather) boots.
Your bearings– may be filled with guck and need a little cleaning. If you do not know how to clean them, please do not do so! (you could ruin them) Wait and perhaps a post about how to clean them might pop up. Or, ask your coach or captain to find out to clean bearings correctly and then ask them to hold a workshop to teach all skaters.
Your insoles– could be worn out (making it hard to keep the boot in place when skating) and may need to be replaced (try a thicker insole).

C. Technique-You may be losing speed by skating too much. Meaning, you might be over exerting yourself (trying sooo f’n hard to get faster) that you’re simply ignoring the limits of your ability. I am still learning new ways to get faster, so being on a league for 3-4 months, you’re just beginning to scrape the tip of the iceberg (though, global warming is in full effect, so this statement may be a little outdated).

Somethings to work on during endurance practice or open skate:
* Knowledge- Knowing how to skate effectively. Doing effective crossovers and power glides save you from wasting energy trying to ‘run’ on skates. This isn’t something that can be taught in a blog on the internet, but rather on a rink over a few months time.

*Getting low- though it may hurt in the beginning, squatting while doing endurance is the fastest way to strengthen your thighs. Bending at the knees rather that the waist is key. Strength equals power equals speed.

*Arm control- Start skating with your arms either behind you or strictly to your sides. This helps build up balance and makes you understand how dependent you are on those swinging arms (which is a HUGE waste of energy not to mention could cause penalties).

*Sprints- do them over and over again. Each time you’ll realize there is something new to learn in doing them. (I’m referring to duck walk sprints, not toe-stop starts).

*Breathing- A big issue in being able to skate faster for longer is your ability to control your breathing. When I started back, I would have the hardest time figuring out how to breathe correctly. One thing I did to help control my breathe intake was I started chewing gum. It helped me condition myself to breathe through my nose rather than my mouth. I also talked with a lady who does breathing classes and she told me to breathe from my whole torso rather then the top of it. Taking in a deep breathe that reaches to the bottom of my stomach which expands it, then exhaling until I could exhale no more. The first few times I did it, I became lightheaded. However, I use this technique now whenever I start having breathing problems.

I hope this begins to show the many factors in why you (or anyone else) isn’t getting the full effect they feel they deserve.

[2] Why is my skating not improving?

From my experiences this is what usually happens (especially after the 3-4 months):

-You start out stupid excited about derby. You take your first 20 lap time trials. Again, you’re just excited to be able to skate all 20 laps, much less worry about what your time is. A few weeks have passed and you are gaining speed, skills and most importantly, you begin to find where you fit in with the league (peer wise).

So you do the next time trials, you see that you literally shaved off 10 seconds from your previous time. Whooo hoooo! Man, let’s go have a few beers and celebrate.Happy times How exciting.

So you push and push and push… you keep coming to the same amount of practices, you keep the same diet and you still have the desire to keep getting better, but you seem to be stuck. You have the same lap time (after 3 months of trying) and the other skaters are getting better.

What has happened?
My theory: Your body is adjusting. Your body is taking in all of this intense training from the past few months and is beginning to condition the muscles to their expected use. This has happened to every skater I’ve skated with and we all get so damn discouraged, we wanna throw our hands up and yell to the derby goddess to free us from this hell. (whoo.. that’s the coffee talking). Without having any type of physical training knowledge (well, I did get C’s in PE during high school) this is my answer. If you’re reading this and you have the ‘right’ answer, please do chime in.. It would be much appreciated.

[3] Performance anxiety- Yes. Yes. This is something I deal with constantly. I have sat on the bench right before games asking myself, “why in the hell do I do this? I hate this game!” (Seriously!)

I know a lot of the girls I skate with (and against) have issues with anxiety as well. So what I have done is asked a few girls on my league to answer a couple of questions. Having skated with all of them for a few years, I knew they would have the widest range of answers that could hopefully help someone out there.

Roxy Rockett

1. What do you do on bout day?

The night before, I take it easy. I have a nice healthy dinner (no dairy) and a beer to help get me relaxed; drink lots of water; do it with my G man; then lay in bed (in silence) and think about all the possible bouting scenarios and how to deal with them. Bout day: I start with water and coffee before practice; come home around 2:30, eat a high calorie protein bar then take a nap with my man; after arriving at the venue I try and skate around and get my body warmed up and get use to the crowd noise. After our team meeting, I mediate to myself and think about what I need to do and who my partners are and how to maintain control over my skating throughout the bout. If it’s too much to handle, I usually ask one of the following ladies for their help to talk me down and help me relax. I am usually unapproachable and less likely to show a friendly face.

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

Once I’m on the floor, and especially after the first lap, everything settles. I see my team and know that everything will be OK.. win or loose!

Teflon Donna

1. What do you do on bout day?

I start w/ a big glass of OJ and a banana. If I feel like my nerves are getting the best of me, I sometimes go for a skate to get some of the jitters out. I eat a turkey and ham (no cheese) sub on wheat from _____ [unnamed sub shop] before every game I play. And I start drinking lots of water the night before and all day prior to the game.

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

Pep talks….they don’t work for me. In fact all the pregame meetings just make me jumpy. In the 15-20 minutes I take to stretch before the game, I’m usually telling myself “go out there and give it 100%, nobody can expect anything more”. I also try to keep a light hearted attitude prior to the game. Share a few laughs with some teammates as I’m warming up bumping people around.

Leadfoot

1. What do you do on bout day?

I try to ALWAYS get 8-9 hours of sleep before the game, which means NO drinking and/or partying for me beforehand. The day of the game, I always have sex (no joke, ask Major!) followed by pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I try to drink LOTS of water and gatorade, have a turkey sandwich and some chips for lunch and then nothing else until after the game. I also ALWAYS say a prayer before the game (just ask Busty; I prefer a group prayer, but if no-one’s up for it, I just say one silently to myself). Usually I pray for a safe and enjoyable game for all the players and fans. I pray that I do well and don’t let my team down. I pray that no one gets hurt and everyone has a good time. I pray that we make some new fans and friends. 🙂

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

As weird as it is, I usually NEVER get nervous before a game…I don’t know why, I just don’t (the only exception being TX during Dust Devil; I was TERRIFIED!!!). I just try to think of it as an extended practice or scrimmage. Since I really don’t know all the people in the audience, I just think, “if I suck, I don’t know these people and will probably never see them again” and if I do well I tell myself, “self, you just made a new fan/friend”! Knowing that I’ve practiced as hard as I could and have trained hard for weeks/months/years, usually calms me down. Also knowing that I have some of the best skaters in the league (hell ANY league for that matter) looking out for me helps too. Someone has your back and you have their’s…that’s comforting!

It also helps during the game to look out in the crowd and find someone that’s smiling and cheering for you. If my son is there, I look for him. If not, I smile and wink to Major, or Marco or Seth (from Tattoo Devil or Progress) or my friend Andy. Knowing you have friends there to support you helps.

Kitty Crowbar

1. What do you do on bout day?

Sex (with or without someone else…hahahaha!)

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

I make sure I have everything (outfit, gear, whatever) ready two nights before so I can just chill with Olivia the night before and do nothing (unless we have a meet & greet with the other team…). On game day, I get all giddy and goofy so I like jokes…I also like when we could get to the rink early and skate around and be goofy.

Shirley Temper

1. What do you do on bout day?

I sleep in as late as I can, then go to practice for a light warm up, then go to ____ unnamed sub shop (cuz it’s convenient and it won’t upset my stomach). After eating, I try to just “be normal” for a couple of hours … lay down on the couch and watch some TV, etc. Then I get dressed and ready. Then it’s on 😉

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

Right before that first whistle, I literally look at the ground (I don’t look at any opponents or listen to anything they say) and I remind myself that I know how to play this game! I tell myself that the huge girl next to me has weaknesses and I’m going to figure them out and use them against her. And I tell myself that these girls have no idea what I’m capable of and probably don’t expect much, so I’m gonna show them.

Eva Lye

1. What do you do on bout day?

Traditions include: eating small proportions, and several of them, rather than one or two large meals. I normally can’t stomach lots of food on game day anyway due to nerves. I eat hard boiled eggs or peanut butter toast, a protein shake, and if I can do it, a tofurkey sandwich on hearty bread. I also meditate and stretch the morning of the game. If there’s time, I try to get some nookie. Supposedly it makes women feisty, as opposed to the man
who falls asleep. Also it helps me relax a little. It hasn’t not worked, so for now I do it.

2. What (if anything) do you do to relax your nerves right before the bout and/or the first jam? (waiting for that whistle to blow.. ugh!)

My nerves are generally calming down right before the game (finally). I like talking with teammates and just keeping it real. I know those nerves are all in the head and if I try to trick myself out of being nervous, sometimes it works.

Feel Free to answer the 2 questions in a comment. Who knows, you might end up helping another lady relax before a game!


Vacation

Sorry for not posting in awhile, family comes first sometimes. I took a ‘derby break’ and I still have a couple of days until I dive back into this here sport!

Some of our girls are heading North to Charm City (Baltimore) this weekend to bout these WFTDA newbies. We sent a few girls that have never interleague’d before in hopes to get them up to speed with our seasoned grannies! I know they will make us proud!

Going to be doing some derby training this weekend with the Atlanta Rollergirls. We will be on the rink 2 days/4 hours. I think this should be enough time.
I remember these girls coming up for our first public bout in 2005 (side note: a year after our league formed; and holding 2 private expo bouts) and having some of them sit in on a team meeting/dinner the night before our ‘coming out bout’. They have been great friends of ours during the past 2 years! I feel really honored that they asked me to come and teach the important skills that make up the foundation of skating and derby. They can take and leave whatever they see fit. I will try and have some feedback from them so everyone can get an idea of what I do on private training weekends.

In the midst of all this derby crap, I’m getting married in September and I have been frantically searching for bridesmaid dresses. I have found my dress, I just have to find the right color of wheels for my skates and what type of socks (if any) to match my dress. Not to mention a venue and all that crap. Perhaps I’ll write some posts on how to plan a wedding and do derby at the same time. Better yet, perhaps some of you can chime in and help my sorry ass out!!

Johnny and June Carter Cash
I hope everyone had a great New Year and I hope to be spying on you West coast bitches at Dust Devil II (if I can muster up enough money for a plane ticket).

Thanks for reading!
Roxy


Blocking- the ins and outs of control vs desperation

This is a sensitive and personal subject to some skaters. When talking about blocking, I tend to think about it as two different types, desperate verses effective.

As with anything you do on the rink, you have to know what, when, why and where to perform your acts.

Blocking is something every skater does and in my opinion, the most important element on the rink when bouting.

Desperate Blocks

Whoooo weee.. I have had my fair share of dealing with such blockers. In fact, this is the first real stage of bouting every newbie goes through. After weeks of training basic drills and watching the grannies scrimmage from the sidelines, when newbies get their chance to go in for the first time,.. you’ll see some awful falls, slide tackles, over committing to blocks, grabbing while falling (likely a reaction stemming from some bitch just knocking you the F out), tripping, back blocking, elbows/forearms, 20 feet (hell, more like 90 feet).. and so on. The main factor in ridding this ill, is knowing how to get you (and your blockers) past this ‘infant’ stage.

Effective Blocks

When I say effective blocks, I’m talking about the ones that not only land and take some bitch out, I’m talking about ones that have no penalties attached to them, ones that you can land and still keep skating with the pack, ones that keep you in front of the targeted skater. Effective blocking has to do with knowing what you want to do and to whom. Going around knocking every girl on the rink isn’t effective blocking (unless, of course, you’re coming out of the penalty box and they don’t see you coming… sshhheeeit, that’s always a fun thing to pull). Effective blocking is basically, knowing how to control yourself when hitting.

Over committing to blocks

This one is the hardest one to stray from. I mean, how can you tell a blocker that has the most JTD’s (jammer take downs) to learn to control herself more when blocking. One could reply with, “she was effective in keeping that jammer back/down.. why change?” I reply with, “Perhaps we should also take a look at her penalties to answer that question”.

Flying at someone without a target in your eye, just hoping that you so happen to nail her, isn’t an effective why to block. Though you may take that jammer/blocker out, in the meantime you rack up penalties, and you’re out of play for your team. Most skaters I skate with see these types of blockers coming. Especially if you’re trying to make a huge hit.. getting into position to pull something like this off is a dead giveaway. It’s like an 80’s metal head wearing white sneakers.. I know you like Def Leppard.

Same thing, when I’m jamming and I see you aiming for me, unless you have some good control over your blocks, your ass will have missed me and you’ll go flying (either into our fans or your team mates).

How does one control a block?

1.Conditioning. First off, I have this drill I like to do with newbie skaters. It’s called jab blocking (yeah, it’s an original name). It’s a stationary drill that one can do at home and work to strengthen their thighs and condition their upper body to keep arms in and project the shoulders upward and outward. You basically start in derby position, then you push from your left leg in an upper motion and stretch your right shoulder upward and outward, then you pull yourself back into derby position just as fast as you left it.. You repeat on the right leg. Alternate legs throughout this drill about 20 times and you’ll start to sweat.

2. Basic Skills. Another thing to note is that unless you have good control over your skating skills, you will not be an effective blocker. If you’re struggling to stay up and in the pack, how in the hell are you going to be able to land an effective block and be able to keep on skating? You’re not. That’s why I always go back to basic skating skills first and foremost.

3.Selecting your target. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is aiming, finding that target to hit. You have to know who’s around you at all times. Hopefully, by the 8th jam, you have a good sense of the other team and how certain skaters play. When finding that blocker/jammer to hit, you have to first find their weakest part. If a blocker is unstable and unaware, wait until she is focused on the jammer and knock her down (the jab block should take care of this). You always aim for the weakest player on the track when beginning a jam. Get her out of there.. the fewer the blockers, the easier it is for your team to control the pack.

If you see that certain players play offense and is highly effective at it, you will then want to make sure you put her where you want her on the track (how to do this exactly? well, this info is not free. Sorry! C’mon, I’m going to have to play some of you bitches soon enough).

4.Executing. Lastly, know when to hit your target. What happens when you try to land a block on a jammer if you don’t see her coming? You can’t. What will happen is, you try to sprint at the last minute (if you use toe-stops, beware of them ankles cracking) to land a block, but unfortunately, you’re too late on the draw and if you land any hits, it’s more and likely an elbow or a back block (both minors). The best case is, you’ll completely miss the jammer and your ass is on the floor (although you’re WAY out of play and doing nothing to help your team, you do not get any penalties). Best reaction in this scenario, don’t desperately throw yourself at the jammer, get some speed and get into the pack.

How to coach to the uncontrolled blocker

I have a few levels of coaching on this issue.
I like to think of said issue as an infant child. How would one go about teaching this child NOT to run into traffic?

  1. Teach them the dangers in doing so- At newbie level, you train girls the outcome of each dangerous situation. Example: doing squats. I train our newbies to keep their arms in when doing their squats and in the same breathe, I tell them the reason for this is: “you’re finding balance in your outstretched arms, you need to pull them into your chest and let your legs and stomach find balance. Why? When you start bouting, you’re outstretched arms are going to evolve into forearms/elbows.” When talking to your skaters, do not come at them with a pissed off, “you suck” attitude. You approach them lightly (at first) and offer your help.

  2. If skaters are not listening to your advice and continue to be a danger on the rink, you then want to start pointing them out in scrimmage. As a coach, you should stand in the middle of the rink (with your refs) and start naming names. I know the league I skate with, tend to think I have an abrasive manner at times, so I would hold off on calling girls out, due to sensitivity (taking it as a personal attack, when it’s coming from Roxy the captain, not Roxy the “off-rink-funny-kick-ass-dancer”). Calling bitches out, after they had a sit down with their captains/coaches, will hopefully get them to shape up. (not to mention, I’m sure their fellow skaters will have a few “unencouraging” words to say to them after they land a shitty block on them.)

  3. The last way to talk to one of these blockers is to out right bitch at them with anger and sincerity. Going back to that infant teaching comparison, think about this child is about to run into traffic.. what is the first reaction a mother has? “STOP!!!!!!!!!” That’s the same raw emotion you have to use when communicating to this blocker. You’re (in a sense) trying to save her from this speeding car…perhaps it should be said, you’re trying to save your other players from her.

  4. If all else fails, take her out of scrimmaging and do falling drills (yes, that is my answer for everything).


Venting like a true fan

UGHH! I need to vent. It won’t grant any wishes, but f’n christallmighty.. what in the hell is going to happen to derby if ladies worry about photo’s moreso than practicing? I was doing some myspace stalking and came across leagues that had fancy pictures but no action shots. I like fancy pictures. I like chocolate and beer. I like all 3 at the same time. But good freakin’ grief.. aarrrggghhhhhh! Perhaps our league is just ghetto. Perhaps if we had free time, we would take fancy photos. dunno.

I’m going to post my last damn topic on falling and get to the size post. I had 2 great ladies supply me with their opinions and a lot more asked me questions. Thanks to all of you who replied!

Off to work.
damn crap


Bad Assists

Helping your jammers and blockers out is a very good thing, don’t get me wrong. When their tired and need an extra push, there’s nothing more loving than a nice healthy assist. However, doing assists incorrectly can hurt your jammer/blockers more than if you just have let them go to venture the amazon forest (aka. Pack) alone. Granted, assists are learned through constantly doing them, and in the beginning (actually, any time), you will make errors. You need to learn from your mistakes and understand why it wasn’t effective. Don’t get pissed and yell at the girl giving you the assist, instead say “thanks, but what happened was, blah blah blah” and keep working on it. Also, you do not have to take every assists that offered to you. As a jammer/blocker, you know what you’re doing and where you want to go. On the same note, if you need an assist and no one seems to be lending you hand, ask for one.

Whips

I got this comment a few days ago, after posting what my Falling topics will include. I decided to answer her in this post.

“What’s bad about doing a one knee drop whip assist? “ -Mange

First off, it’s not what you’re doing, it’s how and when you’re doing it.

One Knee drop whip assists are good, IF:

  1. Leg Position-You keep the leg that’s on the floor right behind you (rather than to the side) and you get up and sprint as soon as the whip is completed. I think a lot of girls fail in this department. They tend to give these drop down whips and sit on the floor and proceed to take a nice little nap.

  2. Where is your position in the pack? In order to give these types of whips you have to be either; a) in the back of the pack– Doing this will either be 20 feet assist (penalty); you’re out of play in the pack as a blocker and not helping where you’re needed most; or, you simply whip into the backs of other skaters.

    b).in the front of the pack– again 20 ft rule; tripping oncoming skaters; ability to get up and be counted as an effective blocker.

    c).on the outside line– this would be the ideal time to drop down to a one knee whip assist. However, it also depends on your ability to get right back up and sprint to stay in the pack and be an effective blocker. NOTE: the timing on this whip could be effective due to the inability of opposing blockers to break it up or stop it completely. The skater on the ground acts like a protected shield for her whippee. That skater (the whipper) can not be blocked while on the ground giving the whip, and if the whip has enough force behind it, the whippee would be projected at a faster speed than that blocker who’s looking to stop this whip and will go unscathed.

  3. Timing– Do not give/receive a whip at the back of the pack if you can help it. Getting whipped into the backs of other players is a penalty, not to mention it f’n hurts the blockers. If you see the pack is spread out and a lot of holes are present, then I would say that would be left up to the jammer if she wanted to take it. Otherwise, don’t waste your time lending a whip, rather, go into the pack and help by blocking for her!

Butt Pushes

We all love some butt pushes, and we all hate them at the same time. Butt pushes (along with whips) should have their own dedicated practice time. If done wrong, you are setting back your jammers/blockers rather than helping them. Also, communicate to the girl you’re assisting. Yell, “butt push” when you’re about to give one. Sometimes, I like to grab the girl I’m about to assist and count down from 3. I usually put my hands on her hips on the corner and then push her when coming out (only if there is an open space).

3 Steps to pushing the butt

  1. Positioning of hands. You should have your hands right above or on her hips. Noticed I said hands (both) and not fingers (‘Jazz Hand’ butt pushes are useless) and hips not back.

  2. Going into the corners. Crossovers, unexpected tripping, rope lights, blocks.. etc, are all factors when giving a butt push in the corners. The skaters body positioning is different than when skating on the straight away. I would highly recommend NO butt pushes on corners.

  3. How to push. When giving a butt push, you should always push forward, not in an upward/downward motion. When giving the push, you also need to absorb the girl getting the assist. Hard to explain. Easier to demonstrate.

Biker Fox demonstrating Jazz Hands:

Jazz Hands


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.

Forearms/elbows

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.


Clinging: Keep your hands to yourself

Ever hit someone when they least expect it? Ever feel your shirt was almost ripped off from the skater cause she didn’t know how to fall properly?

Ever get knocked so hard you were making wishes on the shooting stars in your eyes? Your first reaction is to find a friend to lend a hand.. or shirt.

Why does one cling?

This is from lack of training and also from lack of experience on the rink. All leagues should start out doing nothing but basic skating skills. I mean one foot glides, backwards skating, squats, crossovers, reverse direction endurance, falling drills, stops , etc… for a good 2 months before attempting any contact drills.

What can I do to stop my clinginess?

Constantly skate in the ‘derby position’. If i ever had a training session with your league, you know what stance to which i am referring.

Derby Position– Bend at the knees (not at the waist, no hunchback either) as low as you can possible go and cross your arms and press them tightly to your chest. Simple as that.

Do this stance when jamming and blocking. Not only will this hopefully rid you of clinginess but it should help with your balance, reducing the use of forearms/elbows and build up stability.. so when you do get hit, you won’t have to cling anymore cause you can absorb the hit and keep on skating.

How do I handle a clingy bitch?

Skating against– Knock that bitch out as much as possible! If she’s clinging to you for support from a hit, who knows what desperate moves she would do to take out your jammer/blockers down the road (especially when her endurance is on it’s last leg). When you go in for that hit, make sure it’s not a lean block but a fast jab hit. In and out. BAM!

League Drill– Tie her wrists together with a long tube sock. Doesn’t have to be extremely tight, just enough to keep her hands immobile. Have her skate with that the whole scrimmage time. If you fear for her safety when doing this, then you need to take her OUT of scrimmaging and have her do falling drills. Also, yell at her every time you see her cling. She may not be aware of her actions, that’s why you need to communicate (yell) to make her aware.

Here’s an example of me doing a one knee drop in derby position. Notice my hands are closely to my chest. This helps me strengthen my thighs, so when I have to use this fall in a bout, I will be trained not to cling.

Roxy Rockett One Knee Drop

(photo courtesy of neon salt mine)


“What does WFTDA have to do to forward the sport of roller derby?” -Rockerboy

To be honest, I’m not sure what WFTDA is doing right now. That’s not my committee (hahaha!!! get it.).

However, I think all skaters are to be held responsible for their image and mission in accordance to WFTDA. If we have any chance at keeping this sport alive and in good taste, it has to be represented as a true sport. I know when Texas started this up, their intention wasn’t to revamp roller derby to make it become the fastest growing sport for women in the history of ever, it was to get out there and have fun, pass the time and keep in shape.
What it has evolved to is a sisterhood, a 2nd (though to some, their 1st) family, a sport that has the making to change the way traditional structure in “man” sports is built.

Their old way: big money sponsors, highly payed players, highly payed coaches and rules that don’t cover safety but strategy.

Our new way: local sponsors, we PAY to play, we are our own coaches, and our rules are being formed around safety.

My issue: newer league that start up and present themselves to their community with the tag of “roller derby”, do not understand what harm they are causing. Forming a league and holding a first bout within 6 months isn’t logical. Though they may have cute, fancy costumes, professional photos and pretty faces, their skills will not be defined, the ref’s will have no clues as to what to look for(= injuries galore), and they leave a bad taste in the mouths of their community about roller derby.

I understand the way i tend to view and do things may be extreme sometimes, but in the end, it’s to protect derby as a sport, and not as a fashion show.

Seriously, roller derby needs to be around in 20 years so my little girl can come in and kick your little girls’ asses.



UNintentional vs Intentional

 These are the topics in the falling category.

The Victim-
A fallen skater

The Crimes-

Scissor legs

Clinging to other skaters while falling

Speed reduction trip (toe stops, forearms/elbows, plow-stop leg extension trip)

Bad assists (one knee drop full arm whip, butt pushes on corners, one handed butt pushes, ‘back’ pushes instead of BUTT pushes, whips/pushes into the backs of blockers)

Over committing to hits (flying out into the audience/ref’s, taking team mate out
tripping a player out of desperation)

Back blocking (speed control, bad assists)