So you saw Whip It and now you want to be your own Hero…
Advice for newbies
Okay so I haven’t been skating for very long, 8 1/2 months to be exact, but I feel like I have acquired some valuable information during my short time of being part of a(n amazing) roller derby team. So I thought it might be nice to pass on some imformation and words of wisdom for any newbies or potential recruits to this wonderful sport.
… and from that note… it is a SPORT, just because we look a little more sparkly than the average women’s rugby team, we are athletes. You are entering into a team situation and although this means a lot will be expected of you- it is one of the greatest feelings in the world.
So here’s my advice to you shiny new Newbs…
Okay so I know it’s so tempting to get home from try-outs and sit on your computer for hours ordering the prettiest skates and the brightest wheels… but why waste your money? The chances are that you’ll only want something completely different in a few months anyway, and you’ll soon find out how expensive Roller Derby is!!!
Use your team’s kit for as long as you can then when you’re sure that skating is for you, get yourself a starter pack- they’re perfect for starting out. In case you didn’t know you can get them here… (http://kickflipboards.com/roller-derby/roller-derby-pack-deals.html )
After a while you can start your changing wheels etc. when you know what type of skater you are and believe me… you’ll appreciate it more!
Improve your fitness outside of practice
You may think this is a given, but some people just don’t have the time. Between 2 or 3 practices a week, a full time job, kids, pets, family… or whatever your outside derby world consists of- it’s not always easy to get some extra exercise in. So how about you walk to work, go to the skate park with the kids on a weekend, take the dog for a run – instead of a walk? Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, squat as much as possible and I guarantee you’ll feel the benefit when you’re on the track.
Okay so maybe the plank press isn’t the most pleasant experience and maybe core endurance isn’t for the faint hearted. It hurts like hell, but what did you expect? Drills are just a few minutes out of your life to make you a better athlete and you do feel better once they’re over so don’t flake- see them out to the end. Believe me there’s nothing more frustrating to see a team member drop out just because they don’t like a drill, or they don’t feel like giving 100%. Remember, someone from your training team has spent their own personal time putting together drills for you to do so give them that respect and MAN UP. You know you have it in you! After all you chose Roller Derby, you’re a feisty one!
Get to know your team
So you’ve been coming to practices for a few months now and although you’ve probably got the whole team as Facebook friends- the chances are you still don’t know that girls name in the corner- oh and there’s that one with the bright coloured hair you’ve never spoken to.
Don’t take it personally, if you have a jam-packed practice session and a lot of skaters, the chances are there hasn’t been enough time for the team to have a chat with the coach- never mind asking everyone how their weekend was.
So go talk to an ‘oldie’, they won’t bite! Go ask for some advice, or spark up a conversation about wheels. Go to as many social events with your team as possible. They ask for volunteers to help with an event? … Get yourself to the front of the queue, don’t be shy. You’ll be best buds in no time.
Don’t get too caught up on your Derby name
So you saw Whip it and want to be your own hero… that hero does need a derby name- but don’t rush it. Once you’ve picked it you have to live with it and hear it during scrims and bouts. You should get to know your skating style first. You might be more a blocker or you might be a nippy little jammer and you might want to reflect this, after all this is your alter-ego. Name requests can take months to be registered. Check the roster for availability (http://www.twoevils.org/rollergirls/) if there’s anyone with a similar name registered already you may be rejected. Remember having a Derby alter-ego/name is a nice little perk to the sport. It is exciting but don’t get too disheartened or stuck on it- spend your time practicing skating instead. At the end of the day it’s your skills that people will notice not your awesome name!
Never forget the reason why you turn up for practice every week… you love it! Enjoy every second as a newbie, because believe me it won’t take long before you have a timid, doe-eyed little Bambi on skates wobbling over in your direction to ask your advice.
MMR Love as always,
Rocky Ell Boa
Photo courtesy of Jason Ruffell.