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Diary of a Roller Derby Freshie - Day 4

Saturday 27th September 2014

First thing I noticed this week was the lack of advanced skaters at training today. This didn’t make much of a difference in the first half of the session though.

We started by recapping knee taps, sticky skating (with the added crossing over of the skates from last week), balancing on one leg and then T stops. I was a lot better at the T stops this week, but still breathed a sigh of relief when we moved onto plow stops. They’re definitely my favourite way to stop (other than the wall... I like using that to stop too, but apparently we’re not really meant to use it!!)

Next we covered stepping. I found stepping sideways across the track alright and could go quite fast doing this. We then learned to shuffle, which is kind of the same, but a little faster and you take smaller steps. This was way more tiring than I thought it would be, but really fun! (and a chance to channel your inner crab)

Stepping forwards and backwards wasn’t so easy. I found it hard preventing my wheels from rolling, but by really planting my feet on the floor, it made it a little easier. Think of a toddler having a tantrum and stamping their feet... that’s probably what I looked like, but it worked!!

As there weren’t so many advanced skaters, they all stayed with us as we played hot dog tag! This is a brilliant game and a lot less dangerous than the stuck in the mud we played in week 1. I feel an explanation is needed!

Ok, so think of a hot dog. You know, a sausage in a bread roll. That is what this game is based on.

So, there are a number of people who are ‘it’ and they have panties on their head so we all know who they are. They have to try and tag as many people as possible. If tagged, you lie down on the floor. You are now the sausage. To be freed, an untagged skater has to lay either side of you like the bread around the sausage. Then all three of you may get up and carry on skating.

I really REALLY liked this game and at one point managed to dodge Anarchy Skywalker which made her loose balance and fall over!! Yeh, pretty pleased with myself. Clearly the force was stronger with me, a young padawan, than the master jedi...

As there weren’t enough SWAT skaters to scrimmage this week, we got to play sock derby again!! Yesss!!! Having never jammed before in sock derby, clearly my time had come to put the star on.

Little me made it through the pack THREE times before calling it off to prevent the other jammer from scoring, making it a 9-0 jam!! It was really tiring pushing the other blockers when they walled up in front of me, but I didn’t really notice how tired I was until I was out of the pack and attempting to sprint around the track (attempting being the key word in that sentence!!)

When I was next on the track, I got to block again (a lot less scary and tiring than jamming) and saw that Anarchy Skywalker was jamming for the other team... She never made it out of the pack!!!

This was such a confidence boost of a session (thanks Anarchy!!) and made me WAY more comfortable both in my skates and in the room full of big scary people. At the end of the session, Anarchy even came up to me and congratulated me on my skating!! Let me rephrase that, an ADVANCED skater told me I was doing really well!! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

Ok, calm down!

Yeh, today was fun! I really really cannot wait for next week!

On another note...

No videos again this week, but next week’s blog will contain more video goodness!! You don’t want to miss it!

This week’s little nugget of advice is quite simply to practice practice practice!!

One way to do this is outdoor skating. Check out Insane Bolt's blog on the subject for some bonus hints and tips.

If you do get time and have somewhere to skate in between sessions, I would definitely recommend that, but practicing also means off skates workouts.

These fresh meat blogs have covered what happens in the sessions, but during the week, I was working on various things. For example, week 1 we did core work... I have a week core and was already aware of this, but as it was highlighted by the planks, I started the 30 day plank challenge later that day.

Now, I don’t expect everyone to just be like; ‘Yeh! I’m gonna workout everyday and become indestructible!’ because quite frankly, most people don’t have the time for that. (Or the energy!!) All I am suggesting, is that if you know you are weak in a certain area and this has been highlighted by your fresh meat sessions so far, why not remedy that? Your weakness may be your legs, so you decide to squat whilst cleaning your teeth or if you have a weak upper body, do press-ups whilst watching the telly. Exercise doesn’t have to take time out of your day if you’re a busy person.

Your weakness may not be physical. It may be that you don’t know the rules or what even is a jammer??! In which case, please refer to last week’s blog where links and advice about learning the game can be found.

Playing other sports will really help develop both physical skills and your ability to work in a team or with a large group of people. Every Saturday before training, during the hockey season I usually have a match and then come straight over to derby training. It’s tiring, but my fitness is so much better because of it. I also train for hockey during the week and used to do boxing as well as a lot of running.

Now please don’t tire yourself out so much that you don’t feel up to skating anymore. Everyone is different and you’re already putting your body under a new sort of strain at derby practice, so start small and if you want to, work up.

There is also this thing called the gym. Some people like it, some people hate it. I hate it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less good than anything I’ve said above. There are lots of SWAT skaters who regularly go to the gym and have seen vast improvements in their skating ability, so you may want to try this.

Without the extra work, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today! I even received a recent compliment from Anarchy Skywalker herself which went something along the lines of this;

Ok, I’m going to stop talking about derby and star wars now and leave you to your thoughts!

Until next time,


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