When talking about the overall Roller Derby Moves, you can go into two categories, either the on-jam steps which have specific names for the techniques the players do during the bouts. Or you can talk about the overall skating steps you are taught. In roller derby skates, surely you can make a lot of fun.
Let us discuss Roller Derby Moves here. Said no one ever, I think. I mean, don’t misinterpret, roller derby is a lot of fun, but when it comes to learning the moves the only thing you get is a sore ass and a lot of “You have to get lower.”
So first let’s talk about the terminology for moves and plays when the actual thing is happening.
A Super Rough Glossary
I say super rough because I’m roughly going to cover things. Considering roller derby has about 50 pages of rules, moves, and fouls, this is going to have to be simplified.
The C-block- hit delivered by skating parallel to your target and then doing a c turn to block the goal at chest height.
Cutting the track – Penalty. Going out of the tracks.
Hip check – a bump delivered to the target using your hips
Hip whip – Assisting the jammer by grabbing someone else’s hips and pushing herself forward.
J-block a hit where a blocker swipes her body upwards in a J form towards the target’s chest. Hitting her with the shoulder.
Passing the star – A strategic play in which the jammer passes the “jammer position” to the pivot and allows it to become a jammer. It’ called passing the star because of the helmet patterns.
Positional blocking – Using your body not to let another skater pass, instead of hitting her.
Recycling refers to two or more blockers rotate to hit an opponent continuously. It’s also known as waterfall.
Truck and trailer – two teammates skate one in front of another. The front pulls the back. Helps to get the jammer through one of the packs. Wall – Two or more blockers skate together and create a block to contain the other team’s player.
Whip – One skater uses the other to push herself forward, with the help of the other skater’s momentum.
Top Roller Derby Moves
The Stopping Moves
There are three main stopping moves: the T-stop, the Snowplow, and the turn-stop.
The T-stop is when a skater drops one of her skates behind the other and turns it perpendicular — forming a T with her feet (from there the name). The wheels of the back skate drag and create friction, eventually stopping the skater.
The Snowplow looks a lot harder than it is. The skater widens her stance and turns her toes inwards. It helps decrease momentum. Finally, the turn-stop is when a skater reverses the direction in which they are skating right before stopping. Usually, this stop is done with the toe stop.
The Lateral Moves
Except for the jammer, and even she sometimes does, in roller derby, the primary direction of the players is lateral. Not forward. The most basic form of lateral movement is the cut. The cut is just moving both your feet in the same direction, which will make you turn. Some skaters can cut at very high speed, but it is usually a prolonged move because you need to readjust constantly.
Then, you have stepping, which is stepping on the side instead of rolling. This move is great for when you need control and balance. There’s also the shuttle step. It’s more of a glide, to be honest. Instead of picking your foot up, you want to open up the foot of the direction you are going to (If you’re going to go left, open the left foot).
Then you put your other foot with the heel pointing that way like you were in a ballet second position. Then, when you are done with the trajectory, you put your leading foot back to vertical to stop.
The Steff Mainey. This one is named after the one and only, and it is a backward/ lateral move. What you do is, not opening your hips, and leading with the heels. You plant the foot opposite to where you are moving (if you are going left, you do this with the right leg). Then you move your leg inward (you are going left, you move your left leg like this) so that your heel is leading.
Then you push off, always maintaining one leg in the front and one in the back. This one works similar to a crossover. To stop you can just put the lead foot down perpendicular to the direction you are going.
If you know roller derby you know this one, you so do. And when you first start, it is panicking. There’s a whole section only dedicated to the crossover because it is hard, and if you want to be a good skater, it has to be perfect.
When doing a crossover, the thing you get said the most to you is “Lower.” This is because getting lower will help you improve. You need to at least be in a quarter squat. This is because getting lower lets your legs have more space. You bend your knees and your hips a little. As you get stronger, this gets easier.
You also need to be in control when you are going fast. A major mistake on people who are starting to learn crossover has one leg doing all the work, and the other one is just stabilizing and being dragged. You need to change the weight from one foot to the other, and your left leg has to burn too.
Once you have all that figured, you learn the turns. In which you’ll need to counterbalance your legs with your upper body. If done correctly, you’ll get better friction, and push, and as a consequence, higher speed.
The only real way in which you can get all this perfected is by getting on your best roller derby skates and practicing until they are. So, don’t be afraid to fall a couple of times before getting to the delicate part. And, most importantly, enjoy learning all of these.