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 Post subject: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:34 am 
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So, I'm thinking about doing Roller Derby in the fall during college. I've already contacted a St. Louis team about tryouts and they are in October. I even have a friend who wants to do it as well. I think I know what I'm getting into. I have some skates picked out and an idea of how I should train.

Are there any seasoned Roller Derby people here? What can I expect? Anything in specific I should do? Are injuries crazy and scarily common (I'm totally okay with bruising, breaks and tears worry me a little)?

What's been your experience? Do you love it? I hear there is a serious amount of closeness on teams.

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:16 am 
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No one?

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:33 am 
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The one thing I can tell you is that derby will eat your life. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people who work and go to school and are active league members, but it's a sport created 'for the skaters, by the skaters', and that means lots of time to put in on and off skates. Practice, meetings, fundraising, bout preparation, parties (woo!), off-skates workouts...yeah. Don't let that deter you, just keep it in mind. If you can't put in the time, you might ask if they have a rec league. It's all (well, most, because you don't get to bout) the fun without the time demands.

I quit playing because I was having some health issues (not caused by derby) and couldn't put in the time or physical effort to be a league member. I was injured a few times--a small tear in my rotator cuff, a bruised tailbone, a nasty, painful bruise from landing on my sternum after locking wheels with someone during a speed drill. I have an old ACL injury (it's stretched, but not torn, meaning it pops out at inconvenient times, sometimes very painfully) that was exacerbated by derby, and my PCL became similarly jacked up. I know lots of people who have sustained serious injuries, but I know even more who have never had anything worse than a bruised ego and asparagus :)

Can you skate? If so, get on skates as much as possible before tryouts. If not, start skating now, as much as you can. If the league offers a boot camp, DO IT. You'll learn a lot and be ahead of those who skip it. I found that cardio interval training helped a lot, because you need to be able to skate fast in short bursts while maintaining endurance.
Strength and flexibility training will be useful, too. At practice, be humble, listen to criticism and don't whine. It's hard work and you will be expected to push yourself, and you'll be surprised at what you can do!

Oh, and buy decent skates and pads. Don't skimp on pads, but especially kneepads--buy the best ones you can afford. A lot of derby shops have package deals that aren't too painfully expensive. A pair of well-fitting, smooth rolling skates will go a loooong way in helping you improve.

As far as camaraderie goes, your mileage may vary. My first league was awesome and I am grateful for all they taught me. They were kind and patient and treated me like a sister from the get-go. I couldn't skate--really, like, I couldn't STAND UP without falling for a really long time--but I was never excluded or ridiculed and was always supported and encouraged. Those women helped me change my life and I made some lasting friendships. There are a LOT of leagues that are like this!

I skated with another league that wasn't so great. It was much larger, really clique-y and exclusionary (think in terms of a stereotypical mean-girl sorority). I don't really want to go into detail because it all happened years ago and for all I know things have changed, but I will say I was deeply disappointed because my first experience was so amazing. I don't think this league is the norm, but some leagues certainly do not live up to the feel-good press derby sometimes gets!

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:37 am 
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I trained in roller derby for around 18 months.

Echoing SassyOh, buying good pads is really important. I believe Smiths Scabs are the most popular ones over here, although I used Bullet pads or TSD pads. You can probably do fine with disco skates to being with, while you get your balance and learn things like lemons and cross overs, but after a while you'll want to upgrade to some derby or hockey skates. Riedells are a popular brand for derby.
Again, echoing SassyOh, derby will eat your life.

I love the strength roller derby has given me in my legs and the improvements in balance but I scored a few injuries including badly bruised coccyx and nerve damage in my left ankle.

I was involved in two teams. The first had been going for around two weeks and once around 20 girls were involved it was great. We trained, had fun and went out on socials together but as our training got more serious we realised that some of the core members weren't as enthused about the sport as the majority. This led to an acrimonious split and the start of a new team. The new team trained hard and partied hard but pretty soon cliques formed and it got harder and harder to interact with people on an individual basis. Tension and trash talk started and I began to feel concerned about breaking fingers or an arm (I play guitar in a band) so I left. Not all leagues are like that though so don't be disheartened.


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Ah, that's intimidating. I already know college is going to eat my life. Hopefully there will be enough left over for derby.

And, it does make sense that team relationships will always vary.

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I avoid protein on principle. - IsaChandra
I used to dress up like Wonder Woman but I didn't grow up to an Amazon Princess who dabbles in bondage and flys an invisible jet. -idatetattoedguys


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:46 pm 
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Ditto what everyone has said so far about derby eating your life.

I did roller derby for 3 years and never had an injury, not even a bad bruise. Plenty of people are never injured, as long as you learn the basics and get confident on your skates and take the time to work out what your body is doing before you start bouting against experienced skaters. Don't rush into bouting, it takes months!

In our league it was the same people getting injured all the time. I dunno, some people just seem like they're always breaking something. Perhaps they don't have the instinct to know how to fall well, or something. Anyway, if you're one of those people, you've probably already realised this through past sporting experiences. If you've found yourself to be co-ordinated thus far in life you should be fine at roller derby.


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:36 pm 
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I know this thread is old but I'm just getting here. And I want to post because I just tried out in the October round in St. Louis! I wish I'd seen this before. If you want, I can let you know how it is. I'm teaching full time (which is about 60-70 hours a week) and just bought a house that needs a ton of work. So I can tell you how balancing all that goes. It's definitely a lifestyle. Everyone has been really helpful and friendly, though, and I'm excited to be a part of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:32 pm 
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Another Fresh Meat chiming in. :)

I play derby in the Netherlands and just had my 6th training and first low-contact practice scrimmage with the other Fresh Meat. Best thing ever. <3 I'm pretty fast and I'd love to learn how to be the best jammer possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:01 am 
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Do you guys have any tips for preparing for tryouts? Did you have to do the WFTDA assessment?

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:54 pm 
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The league I tried out for had practices we could go to before tryouts to teach us what we needed to know for tryouts. I don't know how similar tryouts are from league to league but here's what I can remember that we had to do at ours:

crossovers
watermelons
balance on one foot on the straightaway

stops
plow stop
t-stop

falls
one-knee fall
two-knee fall
four-point fall

We did not have to make all the WFTDA requirements at the tryouts. Just demonstrate that we had a solid grasp of the basics. During practices we work on meeting all those requirements before we can join an individual team.

I'm guessing leagues will have different levels of skill required at tryouts depending on the league's competitiveness and need for skaters. I'd suggest spending a lot of time on what I listed above and just general comfort level on skates. Also, do a lot of squats and practice skating closer to that squat position.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:51 am 
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matriarco!!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 12:54 pm 
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I've been skating for a little bit now, and yes, derby eats up your life! But, the trade off is really high- you get a group of instant best friends, you get crazy in shape, and your body image becomes so positive!

Sense my league is so new we didn't have try outs. Most better established teams will have tryouts though. So if your not sure if you'd make the team right off the bat I'd suggest joining a rec league to learn all of your basics.

Practices are hard. We have three 3 hour practices a week. But you look forward to these, I am always in a better mood when I leave, and I feel good. I feel good all of the time. I don't have any more body shaming, and I'm actively trying to get healthier so that I'm a better skater. It really is such an amazing sport!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:31 pm 
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I saw two bouts today, and as ever, it was so much fun just to see people play derby in real life. <3

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:19 pm 
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I did roller derby for a few months before I unfortunately had to depart for college. The one thing I would recommend (well I guess I'm posting awfully late) is get your crossovers down AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. It took me almost the full duration of my freshmeat trial to learn them. So for anyone looking into derby, practice your cross overs always. They help with turning, speed, everything.


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:29 pm 
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I've been playing Roller Derby for a couple of years now. If you're going with a well established league, there's often a bit of flexibility in commitment requirements. In my league for example, you can come as often as you like (within reason - I imagine dissappearing for six months wouldn't go down well!) but you only have a minimum attendance requirement if you want to be selected for the travel team. We also have recreational sessions where non-league members can come along and train. So, as long as you don't want to be the league's star skater, you might have a bit of wiggle room when it comes to the commitment required. That said, for most people it's addictive and you will *want* it to consume your life!

As for injuries, yeah they do happen, but assuming the league takes safety seriously you should find that not much more than a few hard knocks and bruises are commonplace and anything more serious much less frequent.

I really love derby and I would totally encourage you to do it!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:09 am 
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I play for the Basingstoke Bullets, the team is fairly new and will agree it completely eats up your life. Unfortunately I work shifts so miss a fair bit of training but my team are really understanding. The only annoying thing is missing the bouts and scrimmages!

I absolutely love skating and contact sport, so i really really love derby. Everyone says i have this 'no fear' thing when it comes to injuries, i've had a few epic bruises but you want them to show off to everyone :)
One of the girls recently broke her leg which was really harsh but it hasn't stopped her derby enthusiasm.

Go for it, you'll love it!!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:23 pm 
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I am on my 3rd season and could probably answer most questions. Certainly an improved body image, absolutely a life suck and soooo many ups and downs.
This is my first post on the new forum, recognize a lot of names but I don't even remember my old screen name.


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:30 pm 
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I'm preparing for my minimum skills test, and today we did an endurance test. I made 49 laps in 10 minutes. The only reason I didn't make the 50 was because I fell twice due to there being like 15 people on the track. (Also, the second half of the 50 laps were to be skated clockwise instead of counterclockwise, which was pretty confusing.)

But I'm so proud ! Almost 2,5 km in 10 minutes ! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:11 pm 
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Yay for Derby!!! Starting my 5th season. Enjoy!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Thursday I've got my minimal skills test. I'm slightly worried about it, because we're taking the test together with another league at their location, because at our current one we're not allowed to do any falling exercises. The floor at the other location is so extremily slippery, so everything will be different from what I'm used to.

Also, I had to borrow other people's wheels to have some sort of grip on that slippery floor. Tried getting used to them during yesterdays practice, but after 2 hours they still felt weird. I used to skate with these random, really hard, wide wheels, and did my practice yesterday on a set of slim Poisons. Had more grip than usual, which was nice for some technical things (Tomahawks were so much easier!), but my ridiculous speed is gone, which feels weird.

Anyway. Excited for Thursday, and I really hope that it's all well, because then I can start playing scrimmages. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Paloma wrote:
Thursday I've got my minimal skills test. I'm slightly worried about it, because we're taking the test together with another league at their location, because at our current one we're not allowed to do any falling exercises. The floor at the other location is so extremily slippery, so everything will be different from what I'm used to.

Also, I had to borrow other people's wheels to have some sort of grip on that slippery floor. Tried getting used to them during yesterdays practice, but after 2 hours they still felt weird. I used to skate with these random, really hard, wide wheels, and did my practice yesterday on a set of slim Poisons. Had more grip than usual, which was nice for some technical things (Tomahawks were so much easier!), but my ridiculous speed is gone, which feels weird.

Anyway. Excited for Thursday, and I really hope that it's all well, because then I can start playing scrimmages. :)




Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Good Luck, Paloma!

I have terrible balance and coordination, so my derby enthusiasm is of the spectator variety. But I love going to my local league's bouts and I secretly want to be friends with all of them. It makes me happy to be in a space where positive body image is supported.

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:39 am 
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Test is today ! Thanks for the good luck wishes !

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:08 am 
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Good luck Paloma! I feel like roller derby would be a lot of fun.

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 Post subject: Re: Roller Derby!
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:19 pm 
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I did it ! fork yeah !

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