Wednesday, 4 September 2013

How to Get Better At Roller Derby Part 2

Pineapple Dazzle Roller Derby Rollercon 2013

Earlier this year I wrote about how to get better at roller derby. Considering the rules of the sport and the interpretation of those rules are constantly evolving its easy to be quickly phased out of the game if you don't push yourself to improve. Hopefully I can give you some inspiration to step up your game.

People say practice makes perfect and in Roller Derby it's also true.  There is no other way to get better at the game. If like my league you only get a few opportunities to train each week don't waste your time when on skates.  To seriously improve you must practice with the same intensity as on game day. Guns a blazing! Each jam will only ever go for 2 minutes so you should push yourself to skate faster, jump around, duck and contort your body into fluid unblockable shapes.

Im a huge fan of messing around on your wheels. Jumping. Street skates. Walking on your edges. Spins. Jump twirls. Cart wheels. Dancing. All of these things are super fun and they massively improve your balance and agility skills without you even knowing. I came back one summer able to transition after spending my time spinning around and twirling in the off-season.

One skill that seems to be super important (and often gets overlooked) is being able to change your speed instantly. Befriend your wheel edges. Use your toe stops for a burst of speed. Being able to juggle your speed will keep you a moment ahead of the opposition, able to drop back instantly to help a jammer or even burst through a pack.

To learn a new skill and be able to automatically execute it during a bout takes a lot of practice. Its not just going to magically happen in your next bout. Force yourself to trial new ideas in jams at training. Its the best place to improve your technique. Don't hate on yourself if  it's not working. I learnt a long time ago that just before you nail something new you will feel super awkward and fall over a lot. Falling over shows you are pushing your limits and once you adjust you will soon get better. You are meant to hit the concrete, get knocked out of bounds and sent to the penalty box when trying something new so no self pity. In no time you'll be automatically doing that new move on track.

Finally let your team mates know what you are up to. If you feel yourself stalling and your body just can't figure out what your brain keeps telling it to do enlist a friend or team mate to watch your technique. They might be able to see what your doing wrong!

So get out there. Happy skating!

Photo taken on my recent adventures to Rollercon 2013. 

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