Whether you learned about how to get into roller derby from Whip it or Phineas & Ferb, it is a sport you can’t unsee nowadays. It is one of the fastest growing games in the world, with over 2,000 leagues all around the world.
Roller derby is one of those sports that has always belong to women, but that does not mean it is less rough and tough, ask the bruises the girls bear. The leagues are amateur and self-organized and can pull up a crowd of over a thousand people. If you have been thinking about joining your local roller derby team, here is everything you will need to know.
What Is Roller Derby?
Roller Derby is a very spectacular team sport dominated by women. Two teams of ladies on roller skates are racing and pushing on the oval track. Each team has five players, one of which is a jammer (a racer) and scores points, the other four are blockers – through blocks and “pushing” they must prevent the passing of the jammer of the opposing team and facilitate their own. The points are scored by the jammer passing next blockers of the opposing team. There is a lot of pushing, and there are tippers – there is a lot of emotions, as in any contact sport, especially in the women’s edition.
How Does Roller Derby Work?
Even though I don’t think you would have clicked on this article if you didn’t know, I’ll explain. Roller derby is a sport in which women are in skates. Each bout is divided into two-minute jams, in each of these jams each team fields five players (a jammer, a pivot, and three blockers).
The jammer starts behind the others, and she is the one who scores the points. The jammer has to go through the blockers as many times as she can, every time she does, she gets the point. The blockers try to stop the other jammer going through while helping their own. Full body contact is allowed; however, you can’t do the obvious things like elbows, tripping, head-butting. The pivot acts as a blocker but can be turned into a jammer through a star pass maneuver.
Each player gets its helmet covers, if you are a jammer you get stars, blockers get nothing, and the pivot gets a stripe.
What Do I Need To Do Roller Derby?
Well, there is a full gear, but before that, you need a lot of enthusiasm and pain tolerance.
Just kidding, you’ll only get bruised but getting hurt is not that common. You’ll also need a league, or a team to play in. Your gear includes a helmet, your skates, your pads, and your mouth guard.
Just like you need individual tennis’ for football, you need the a roller derby skates. You can’t just roll in using the skates you’ve been using since you were five years old. Ice skater-like boots are not allowed, more for your safety because you are likely to break an ankle. The good skates are expensive, but you’ll appreciate the price-quality difference, especially if you start training more seriously.
Your helmet can be any skate helmet, many teams have personalized ones, but that’s up to your team. Also, you can’t use cycling helmets. Pads are necessary, and this is not the park. You’ll be falling hard and aggressively. You’ll need knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist bands. The mouth guard is, again, necessary — any boil and bite work. I’m guessing you don’t want to lose any teeth or a piece of your tongue.
How To Start Roller Derby?
Just like any sport, find your local league or team and ask for information. Sometimes will have you wait listed, some will let you go into the track, take a few laps, see if you are any good. Some places offer “beginners night” and scout people as they start going more and becoming better. Get your gear together, and most importantly, practice, practice, practice.
How Do I Become Good At Roller Derby?
Well, depends on who you ask but to me, there are five main elements; you need practice, you need natural talent, you need passion, you need self-confidence, and you need some mental toughness.
First, I think any skater will agree that if you don’t get on your skates and start rolling there is no way on earth you are going to get better — the only way to deal with things such as lack of balance, fear of falling. Also, you have to get your basics right. You remember that it isn’t a race. You can take as much time as you want, but you have to be good at minimum skills that require practice, discipline, and repetition (and also some falls and bruises to be honest).
Natural talent is not everything, but it sure helps when it comes to sports. If you don’t have it, you have to admit to yourself that you have to work twice as hard. Passion is essential, cause you are going to fall, and hurt, and be sore. You need to love it.
Self-confidence is not stressed enough, and it should be. If you can’t get past the whole “What if I fall?”, “What if I am bad?” “Everyone is better than me,” “I suck at whatever derby bane you aren’t so good at,” then you’ll never let yourself improve.
Finally, I say something about mental toughness because roller derby is also a mind game, where you need to keep fighting and beating yourself to complete laps or not let someone complete laps. You’ll need to prepare your mind to be as strong as your body. But yeah, to become competent, you have to practice and pour your heart into what you do.
An Extra Tip: Watch Other People Skating
It’s the best way to learn the technique, and see what some people do right or wrong and why they are doing it that way. Not only that, but you will have a blast watching other leagues and cheering on your favorite team.
Final Verdict: How To Get Into Roller Derby To Have Fun
Yes, roller derby is a professional sport, and you should train as hard as you would for any other. However, just like on any other game, remember to have fun. You won’t improve if you are tense all the time and don’t let yourself enjoy the process.
Yes, get your gear, of course get the quality roller derby skates available in the market, yes practice as much as you can but enjoy every step. If you are just continually beating yourself up, then you’ll end up hating it. So, chill, work hard, and work smart and have fun.