Page 1


proud partner of the WFTDA

fiveonfive contents 28-29


advice ask swede hurt and suzy hotrod!


WFTDA Day by day coverage from the first ever Roller Derby World Summit which took place in Manchester, UK.





games and coaching building a better stats book let communication be your guide we are talking about practice

Jason Ruffell

health and fitness derby fuel lifting for derby

36-37 DIY awards One of the most derby things about derby are the homemade MVP awards. Get inspired with these fresh ideas!

24-27 32-33

junior derby training and conditioning


Steve Messerer

gear gear review

rookie how to run your league

38-39 how to build a team bond Teamwork is just as important as individual skill, and the bonds between teammates can really play a big part. Get some fun ideas for team bonding.

Danyel “Shoot To Kill� Duncan

40-41 international derby 42-43 art and media

editor phoenix aka stacey casebolt castle rock ‘n’ rollers art director assaultin’ pepa rocky mountain rollergirls contributing writers swede hurt stockholm roller derby

from the editor Welcome to the 36th issue of fiveonfive!

Whether you love or hate the heat of summer, one thing is for sure, you can love the fact that derby season is in full swing! For some of us (not me

suzy hotrod gotham girls roller derby

unfortunately!) that means it is almost time for RollerCon!! For those of you

sarge cajun roller girls

lucky skaters who attend, we’d love to hear about your experiences while

dstroyher philly roller derby slaps roller derby fitness

there! We are always looking for great articles to include, and I know the RollerCon experience is definitely worth hearing about!

catholic cruel girl rocky mountain rollergirls

As for this issue, we have some really great content! As usual Swede Hurt

johnny cash machine cape cod roller derby

and Suzy Hotrod have some great answers to reader questions which you

midge mayhem denver roller derby

won’t want to miss. We’ve got articles addressing the complex but critical

professor piedmont riot roller derby

bylaws every WFTDA team is required to have in place. Dstroyher writes

betty ford galaxy rainier roller girls

about how to fuel your body for derby, including what some great skaters eat

feist e. one boulder county bombers

(and drink) pre-bout. Contributor Slaps writes about lifting effectively for

bill mayeroff rock island, illinois

derby. Other content in this issue includes stats, the importance of good

metaphorce mixin’ vixens

communication, and how your practice ethic affects your play. But that’s just

billy no skates leeds roller derby kadma sixx reinas rojas cover photo Brangwyn Jones: Photographer fiveonfive magazine

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the contributing writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of fiveonfive magazine.

the beginning! We hope you will enjoy and learn from every article in this issue, because there is so much inside for every skater.

Stay cool and skate strong!

Phoenix aka Stacey Casebolt

Castle Rock ‘N’ Rollers


Many thanks to our contributors who come from all over the roller derby community and share their knowledge based on their countless hours of dedication to this sport! Check out additional contributors at

DStroyher DStroyher is a 41-year-old mother of two amazing boys. She is a licensed Audiologist with over ten years of practice. She is a proud graduate of Community College of Philadelphia (Associate’s degree), Temple University (Bachelor’s degree), and Bloomsburg University (Doctorate degree). She spends her time in either mom mode or traveling. Her goal is to become a Philly Roller Derby Belle.

Johnny Cash Machine Johnny Cash Machine of Cape Cod Roller Derby has been involved in roller derby for twelve years and has been coaching for the last six seasons. He runs clinics around the country and lives in Boston with his wife June Carter Cash Machine and their adorable daughter Penny.

Steve Messerer

Slaps Slaps is the co-creater of Roller Derby Fitness and has been playing roller derby for six years with the Romsey Town Rollerbillies in Cambridge, UK. She is a blocker, pivot, and head of training. She loves roller derby, CrossFit, pushing herself and motivating and supporting others to be the best skater and athlete they can be.

Steve Van Tol “Professor” Steve began coaching derby in 2009 as a Fresh Meat coach for a small team. He is now the proud coach of The Piedmont Riot, based just outside of Charlotte in Gastonia, NC. What he loves about the sport is that it’s constantly evolving, it’s a great community, and that he’s continuously challenged as a coach to better himself.

Midge Mayhem Wilhelm aka “Midge” is a jammer for Denver Roller Derby’s Mile High Club. Over her seven-year derby career, she’s soaked up a wealth of knowledge from Olympic speed skaters, CrossFit coaches, teammates, and the internet. Midge has taken an interest in learning the importance of diet and off-skates training to help coordinate skating skill and derby training. By day, Midge is a software engineer for the Boulderbased company Green Chef. When she’s not skating or working out, you can find Midge delving into a wide variety of activities from re-binding books to cycling around Denver.

Suzy Hotrod

Swede Hurt

Gotham Girls Roller Derby New York, NY

Stockholm Roller Derby Stockholm, Sweden

dear blocker and jammer, I really want to be both a jammer AND a blocker, but I feel like I can’t train successfully for both positions, and need to focus on one or the other. I enjoy both positions, and I think I am pretty good at both. Do I need to choose one or the other? -CAN’T CHOOSE ONE

dear cco, I love being able to play both as a blocker and jammer. It is incredibly beneficial to play both positions in training. Practicing both jobs does make you better at both. As a jammer, what blockers are most difficult to pass? Can you replicate those skills in your blocking? As a blocker, which jammers are most difficult to hold back? What tricks do you fall for? Can you replicate those skills when you jam? When you block if you feel like you’re less strong in your wall formation, what does it feel like to jam into that formation? How long should you stay in one spot as a jammer? Which directions of movements as a jammer are the most difficult to respond to as a blocker? All of this back and forth are benefits of training as both a jammer and a blocker. Penalties are an important factor. You cannot rack up penalties while blocking if you’re also going to jam. Jammers need to “always be clean” and keeping a clean record when blocking keeps your mental game more focused. A few trips as a blocker and your focus is compromised. Multitasking between the two jobs is difficult in games if the box gets visited too often. Playing too overly aggressive as a blocker can make your jamming a little less controlled as well. Strong blockers do get penalties, but while you’re in the box you can’t take a star pass, and as a blocker who can jam, pivot is likely the #1 position you should be playing as a blocker. The pivot needs to be the second best jammer on the track. You train as both a jammer and blocker so as a pivot you should be aware of when your jammers need help, and you can’t help from the box. The only other thing I have to say is, if you are a good jammer, your team likely needs you to jam and you should jam for them. Teams are not dominantly stacked with enough jammers to allow those jammers to block too, because you have blockers whose only job it is to block. So go where you team needs you most. At practice try both positions and on game day, give play that is needed to win that game. You team needs you in your strongest position.


Summer 2017 |

dear cco, Of course you don’t have to choose one. I started out as a jammer, went into blocking, back to jamming and now I’m mostly blocking in the role of a pivot. There are lots of skillsets that apply for both positons. Most teams prefer to have main jammers and main blockers, but it gives your team a deeper depth if you have skaters that are able to do both. I would say that it is completely fine to practice both, but you will also have to think what your team needs from you. Since it is not always just about individual goals, but also about the need of your team and how you can be the best for your team. I have become a better blocker because I have practiced jamming, and a better blocker/pivot because I have practiced jamming. I would say try to practice both during your off-season, but when the season starts, listen to what your team needs, and practice more of that, but when season is over, go back to practicing both. You might end up being a main blocker for one season and a main jammer for another season, you might be a main blocker that goes in as a relief jammer or main jammer that can go in and pivot when you have a jammer in the box or someone has fouled out. In roller derby anything can happen, and the more skillsets you have, the more of an asset you will be to your team.

dear blocker and jammer, My team can’t seem to win any games this season and it’s really wearing on all of us. Skaters are frustrated, less excited about derby, and just don’t seem motivated to get better. Do you have any suggestions on how to motivate them and get them to be more determined and not give up? -MOLLY MOTIVATION

dear mm, The big “W” magically makes everything better. I’ve personally played poor games but if my team skated out with a win, all of a sudden my personal performance didn’t feel so bad. Losing multiple games is indeed demotivating. You mention skaters not being motivated to get better. Skaters are going to have to want to put in the time to get better, or can’t bring home the win. Time. Skating together as much as possible is crucial. Skater turnover and consistent practice time together are hugely important factors. If skaters keep retiring from the team, you’re going to have major difficulty building teamwork, same case day to day if skaters who are on the team aren’t going to practice consistently together. Is your team practicing together consistently? Teamwork comes from time, and it takes a lot of time to build it. So stay focused and be patient. Teamwork builds a killer defense and experience together allows you to know when you can use offense. It’s not just teamwork that is gained through time. You need to strive for consistency and experience when sh*t gets crazy. Games spiraling out of control on the track because of penalties are typically why teams lose games. For example, penalties will always come, but does your team control it with a level-headedness or does the team find itself with box trips snowballing because of desperate blocking choices? Penalties, penalties, penalties. You can’t win games with jammers in the box. You can’t win at defense when you have half the amount of blockers that the other team has. Both scenarios will happen, are you able to damage control them to stop the bleeding? Are you as a team getting cleaner to minimize those scenarios? Leadership. You need very strong leadership to bring a team out of a losing streak, and they need to have a consistent plan that everyone agrees on. It’s not an easy job. The leadership needs to work together to evaluate the team’s strengths and weaknesses and decide what it is you need to focus on to build for success. The key word is “build.” Revamping a team takes time. You need to admit what things aren’t working and need to change them. Also focus on things that are good building blocks that you need to keep developing. Not everything is wrong just because you’re not winning games. Goals. You can’t just expect to win the next game immediately. But absolutely, you must beat the team you yourselves were the last game. You are playing against yourself every time. That is the one consistent factor in every game. Did you play better than the team you were the previous game? Morale. Also related to leadership, positive motivation and a creating a positive environment is also very important. Never berate the team for losing. Skaters need to believe they can get better and win games, and they can! Be serious though. The team needs to be serious and straight about what it’s going to take win games. And on bout day, if winning isn’t everything, your team still loves each other and has camaraderie in knowing they worked their hardest, even if you don’t win.

dear mm, There are two ways to go about it. You will either have to start looking at the games you schedule, maybe you are picking opponents that are too hard compared to your own level, and you should start looking for opponents that you are more likely to win against. Or you are scheduling hard games because you want a challenge, but then you can’t count on winning. Being successful doesn’t always have to be about winning, I’d say it is more about setting attainable goals. Having goals that are high is not a bad thing, but you also have to have smaller goals that are attainable and realistic. I think it is important that your team gets together and talks about what your goals are and make a “roadmap” toward the goal, with some easier and closer goals, and some larger more distant goals. You might be OK with losing a game, because it gave you a new experience or in the case of WFTDA rankings, it might be good for your rankings, because you performed better than you were supposed to go against the team you played. It might also be good to have a team meeting and talk about WHAT your teams goals are and why you think that you have not won the past game? Do you need more practice? Are the games too hard? Is winning the most important? And what kind of practices do you need? Maybe you need more skills? Do you utilize your strengths and do your strategies reflect that? Do you need to become more fit? Do people have the time and commitment to actually reach your previous goals? Turning a loss to a win is hard, if my team loses a game, I try to analyze what the other team did better than us, it doesn’t mean that we are bad, we are just not as good as the other team... yet.

need advice? email | Summer 2017



Sometime after there was a decision to form your group of women into a roller derby league; after the first loose meetings to decide when and where to practice and who is going to be involved in the league and in what way, there comes a need for organization. The group usually looks for a leader first. It may be the person who decided to form the group or someone who just seems to take charge. Then come the questions... Will the leader be called the president? What day will we have our monthly meeting? Will we have committees? How do we decide who will be the coach? What procedures will we use to keep our meetings flowing without disruptions? Without organization, the league would not be able to function properly. When these questions arise, groups as large as corporations down to small church groups refer to their bylaws. What are bylaws? Bylaws are a list of rules that govern an organization. They are created by and voted on by the members of the organization to suit the particular needs of that organization. There is really no one way to create bylaws, as they are as different as the organizations that need them. But in general, the bylaws are organized by articles and sections. A common guide that gives a good recommendation for creating bylaws is called Robert’s Rules of Order. If you are unfamiliar with how to run an organization, this is a good place to start. It may also be advisable to seek the experience of someone in the legal field or someone who has actually been the president of another organization for a while to help you set up your particular set of bylaws. When creating bylaws it may also be a good thing to know that bylaws can be a “two way sword,” meaning there are benefits as well as repercussions when creating bylaws. Bylaws are considered a legal document, which means you have to adhere to what you create. There are times when it is good to carve your rules in stone, but you may back yourself into a corner that is difficult to get out of as things arise that were not thought out ahead well enough. A little forethought is prudent at this time, although it is not necessary to try to think of every possible situation that may arise. Later, after the group has been operating for a while, questions may come up, such as... What happens when someone who heads a committee fails to show up four months in a row? This is a time when you need to know that you can amend your bylaws. As organizations change, bylaws need to change to fit the needs of the group.


Summer 2017 |

Are bylaws really necessary? For many states, there is a requirement that non-profit organizations have bylaws. The IRS does not require bylaws but they do make this recommendation: “Bylaws are an organization’s internal operating rules. Federal tax law does not require specific language in the bylaws of most organizations. State law may require nonprofit corporations to have bylaws, however, and nonprofit organizations generally find it advisable to have internal operating rules.” In addition, when your league moves from Apprentice status to Full WFTDA status, there is a requirement that you must create bylaws for your league. Under the Full WFTDA league requirements it states: Leagues applying to the WFTDA Apprentice Program need to meet the following WFTDA membership requirements: your league must be “Governed by democratic principles and practices.” Further, there is a requirement that you must have League bylaws – please draw attention to the section of the bylaws that cover governance by democratic principles and practices, as well as your overall management structure. Meetings without rules frequently spin out of control as members try to talk over each other and out of order. In order to keep these problems from happening, your bylaws should state what type of parliamentary procedure the organization will use. Robert’s Rules of Order is one method in use, but there are others. RRoO is sometimes considered cumbersome for a small group to use; however, these rules are intended to make sure everyone has a fair chance to say what they want to say. Because WFTDA requires a league to operate under democratic principles, bylaws are of the utmost importance. One way to ensure this is by using parliamentary procedure, which is a system of rules that a group may agree to use in order to promote orderly discussion about common concerns and make decisions about what the group should do. It assumes that everyone in a group has equal importance and is entitled to vote. Bylaws also define the structure of the organization, without them there would be total disorder. Bylaws list things, such as the rights that members have, how much power the governing board has, whether the board has power to make decisions or will major decisions have to be made by a vote of the members. What power will the board have in an emergency when it is not feasible to call for a vote from all the membership? What will be the balance of power? Under democratic principles, there implies a balance between those who run the organization and those who are

members of the league. Sometimes this means the person who started a league may have to give up some of the decision making power and cede to the interests of the league. Things also change over time... What worked when you were an apprentice league may not necessarily continue into your full league status. Therefore, defining the structure of the organization in the bylaws usually includes the following headings under Articles and sections in this order: 1. Name of the Organization 2. Object or purpose 3. Membership 4. Officers 5. Meetings 6. Executive Board 7. Committees 8. Parliamentary Authority 9. Amendments Depending on the size of your league, you may want to add articles to further define the organization. Next you will create sections under the articles to further define the criteria that will make your league successful. 1. Name of the Organization Should agree with all legal documents. 2. Object or Purpose Example: Section 1; create your derby purpose and list it here. 3. Membership Section 1: Will the organization have classes of members? Active, Inactive, Honorary? Section 2: Eligibility for membership. Section 3: Dues or Fees. How much? When are they due? What if they are not paid? Section 4: Requirements. Some organizations have an attendance requirement, etc. Section 5: Disciplinary procedures. May not be necessary, but what happens if you need it...(Be cognizant of the “double edged sword” principle here.) Section 6: Resignation procedures. 4. Officers Section 1: Name the officers in order of ranking. Additional sections should name their duties. Examples: President, Vice-President(s), Secretary, Treasurer, Board Members.Can also include Parliamentarian, Historian Section 2: Nominations and Elections. When will elections be held? What will be the nomination procedure? Will there be a ballot vote?

Will there be absentee voting? (There are a lot of questions that can arise... so be careful listing these.) Section 3: Terms of Office. Duties of each office and how long will each position serve? Other items such as Removal from Office and Vacancies need to be addressed here. 5. Meetings Section 1: Meeting day. When will it be? Will there need to be notification of meetings? Will a quorum be required? Special meetings, emergencies? 6. Executive Board Sections: Board composition, Board meetings, Removal from office and vacancies. Can the board remove someone or should it be a membership vote? 7. Committees Create committees and assignments – Membership, Fundraising, Bout Production, Publicity, Recruitment, Referees, League Liaison, WFTDA Liaison, etc. 8. Parliamentary Authority If you choose to use Robert’s Rules of Order... list it here. RRoO is the most commonly used Parliamentary Authority, although there are others. By adopting these rules, the particulars of an orderly meeting are set up. This is where the rules for when a person “Having the floor” and “making motions and adopting motions” are set. The president or presiding officer enforces these rules and keeps the meetings orderly. Also be aware that the current up-to-date and official version of Robert’s Rules of Order is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, Eleventh Edition. 9. Amending Bylaws As your organization grows, it will become necessary to change some of the bylaws that were created earlier. The way to do this is by adopting amendments. It is wise to make a note about the date an item was amended. It is also a good idea to make a footnote in the document as to the last time the bylaws were revised to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version of your bylaws. These are the basics of bylaws. When beginning your league, remember to keep your bylaws as simple as possible. With the growth of the league, the need for organization will become apparent and sometimes painfully obvious. Proper use of your bylaws will help ensure the success of your league for years to come if given a little care from the beginning.H | Summer 2017


derby fuel D S T R O Y H E R , P H I L LY R O L L E R D E R B Y F R E S H M E AT

When I began roller derby last year I had a singular focus which changed dependent upon what the league was practicing that week. Initially, I wanted to fall correctly, stand without falling, stop correctly, stop without falling, and so on. While still in freshmeat, I transferred to the Sun City Roller Girls. At that point I realized that other factors were important if I wanted to sustain a derby centered life. Luckily for me I was assigned Sarcasm Scargasm #1991 (Katii Hodge) as my derby big sister. Not only did she have an arsenal of amazing moves on the track, she also seemed to never tire. Meanwhile, I was typically dying after warm up laps. One day after becoming woozy on the track, she asked my how much water I had to drink that day. When I answered, she told me that I needed to drink a gallon of water per day to stay hydrated. Temperatures in El Paso were typically in the high 90s and apparently a glass or two of water would not sustain me throughout practice. I moved home to Philadelphia in November 2016 and signed up as a Philly Roller Derby Freshmeat in January 2017. After one practice, it was clear to me that my endurance was a critical factor in my derby life expectancy. If I was unable to find the energy to complete the required drills as a freshie, I would never make it to a home team. Once I became scrimmage eligible (contact eligible) my focus changed somewhat. Of course I still had to work on fundamentals and practice as much as possible but as a scrimmage eligible freshie it was crucial that I maintain enough energy to be able to perform during the jams. One week during practice I felt so exhausted that I felt weak. Another time I was nauseous. But mostly, week after week I dragged myself away from practice. While I did observe some skill progressions, I still felt that my energy level was not enough to sustain me throughout practice. That

is what prompted me to ask Katii as well as other experienced roller folks what they were doing to keep their energy level high during practice, scrimmages, and bouts. Although the recipes varied the basic component was complex carbohydrates, vegetables, protein, and water. For me, carbs meant a bag of pretzels with a bag of chips (preferably salt and vinegar or sour cream) and protein was my Frito Lay sunflower seeds. Clearly my meal plan was not enough to help me maintain the needed energy to get through a practice session, so I asked for specifics. The wheels down favorite derby ready meal among both men and women was pasta. Another favorite was pancakes although some used healthier versions than others. High protein meals that included chicken and eggs in various forms were also highly recommended and peanut butter was highly recommended prebout. Extremely popular with women were nutrient dense shakes such as Herbalife and Shakeology. Fruit in moderation was also recommended. week prior to a bout: ZipBlok #1915, Philly Roller Derby Wheat spaghetti with lean beef and a million veggies almost every meal beginning five days before a bout One gallon of water per day Sarcasm Scargasm #1991, Sun City Roller Girls No alcohol Gallon of water Cigarette intake is cut in half (she is currently quitting) Smaller meal portions Healthier meal portions Spaghetti, beef stroganoff, or different pasta

The wheels down favorite derby ready meal among both men and women was pasta. ...High protein meals that included chicken and eggs in various forms were also highly recommended and peanut butter was highly recommended prebout.


Summer 2017 |

Kickash #55, Brandywine Roller Derby Spaghetti the night before a game Multivitamins, glucosamine, and calcium (DAILY)

Kickash #55, Brandywine Roller Derby Eggs for breakfast Peanut butter and jelly before the bout

Dildo Baggins, Penn Jersey Roller Derby Hooligans CARBS, CARBS, CARBS

D. Baggins, #9731 Penn Jersey Roller Derby Hooligans CARBS, CARBS, CARBS

Tootsie Roll PopHer #610, El Paso Roller Derby Shakeology meal replacements (performance line)

Tootsie Roll PopHer #610, El Paso Roller Derby Shakeology meal replacements (performance line)

day of the bout: ZipBlok #1915, Philly Roller Derby One gallon of water per day mixed with 2 liters of coconut water A natural energy shot Sarcasm Scargasm #1991, Sun City Roller Girls No alcohol, no redbull, no monster drinks Gallon of water Banana, pickle, and strawberry meal replacement for breakfast Kind bar or Cliff bar for protein for snack Cobb salad or chicken avocado salad for lunch Banana (or a different fruit), pickle, and an oatmeal bar for snack Herbalife lift off 30 minutes before the bout

Each of the skaters that I spoke with has been on the track for at least two years. They all recommended that roller derby Freshmeat seriously consider what they are eating as fuel in a very expensive car. I have already begun changing my eating habits so that now I include peanut butter as my protein before and after practice. I have felt an increase in my energy during practice and I plan to continue to implement small changes until my diet more closely reflects that of these derby veterans. I suggest that other freshies also consider implementing changes where they are needed so that we can all be derby strong.H | Summer 2017


lifting for derby S L A P S, R O L L E R D E R B Y F I T N E S S

So you want to start lifting for derby? Hey, I’m Slaps and I wanted to write about weightlifting generally to help anyone with the basic information you need if you want to start lifting for derby. Most of it is based on my initial ‘getting into it’ experiences. There is material out there you can use from other sports, plus some from derby pros, but what if you have no idea the difference between a barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell, and want it spelled out. OK, so you might have played derby for a while or have just nicely started and you have done some reading around, talked to your team mates, and probably watched one too many videos of your derby crush doing squats on Instagram. You’ve decided it is time to start doing some lifting to help you get better, faster, stronger for derby. Whatever the reason you are committed to your sport and you want to do your best at it. Yeah you do! Noted, but figuring out what lifts to do, with what, how many reps, sets, what weight etc is very daunting. Sometimes you might have some idea about those things but then you get to the gym and wonder if you need special shoes, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, a belt, when to drink your protein shake, what everyone is talking about when the mention BCAAs, it’s like derby jargon but worse because your gym doesn’t do a ‘fresh meat’ lifting course! You wonder how you will know what you should and shouldn’t do! 1. technique is crucial Whatever lifts or exercises you do make sure you learn the technique properly. We’ll go into some options later, but don’t be that person who goes in to the gym, sticks loads of plates on your bar and does their exercises with shocking form. There are two main reasons for this: 1. Certain exercises are designed to work specific muscle groups. To work those groups you need to make sure you are performing the exercise correctly. 2. That is pretty much the fastest route to hurting yourself, you play a full contact sport on roller skates, try keep that high risk mentality out the gym. 3. Bonus reason: Don’t be a dick! Y’know that unwritten rule of the derby community.


Summer 2017 |

2. what exercises are good for derby I’m not going to list all the possibilities here but I am going to recommend some basic exercises that will get you started. squats Squatting is a compound movement (that means it involves multiple joints) that works your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, all of which you work very hard in derby. These are the muscles that are burning when your coach is telling you to get lower or you are doing that annual 27 in 5. They also help you generate the power for that massive take out hit as the jammer tries to take the outside line! Squats can be done in several variations but here are a few to get you started: • The air squat: that’s just you and your bodyweight. No it’s not lifting but you need to make sure your form is good before you think about adding any weight. • The goblet squat: this is you, your bodyweight, and now a kettlebell or dumbbell to make those legs and bum work a little bit harder. In this movement you are holding the weight into your chest and trying to not let it pull your torso forward as you stand. • The back squat: This is a squat with a barbell placed across your shoulders and here you can look to add extra weight and therefore work to your squat. This can be the most challenging of the three variations, as you can add more weight, but also you need to keep those abdominals nice and tight to support that weight through the movement. Watch this form demo video for some form tips:

floor or bench press This exercise is important for working on your chest and triceps, we use these a lot when we are bracing and also when we are taking impacts. We often focus a lot on our leg strength in derby but our upper body works just as hard! The movement in this exercise is often one you find yourself in as a blocker but usually you are trying to hold back two of your friends and a jammer! I have included two variations for this: the floor press is from the floor and the bar is placed on the rack. The bonus with this is that if you don’t have a spotter or safety bars you can drop the bar and the plates should keep the bar off your body/face. The bench press: this is the same movement but you will be laid upon a bench, so if you don’t have safety bars you will need a friend in case you fail.

There are two variations you can do with this lift: • Barbell: This is most common way of doing these lifts • Dumbells: This would be with a single dumbbell in each hand, this would work the same muscles but it would also provide a challenge in terms of having to stabilize the dumbells and keep each one on the right bar path. lunges Lunges are great for working your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, yep those again. They also work each leg individually and also work on your balance at the same time. These obviously transfer over to a one knee fall perfectly but they also happen in derby when you’re jamming and blocking so again a very applicable exercise to be doing. Forward lunge: This is when you step forward into a lunge position and then push back up to meet your other foot. | Summer 2017


Reverse lunge: This is when you step backwards to lunge and then step up to meet your other foot. Skater squat/curtsy lunge: This is a lunge where you step back and place your foot behind and across. It is called a curtsy lunge, because that is what it looks like when you do it. This is more challenging in terms of balance than the previous variations. It really does target those glutes though and translates very well to crossovers so is a good variation to use if your form is good. All these variations can be done in the following formats. Remember getting your form correct with the bodyweight version is essential before you move on to the weighted versions. • Bodyweight • Kettlebell or Dumbbell: this can be a single kettlebell or dumbbell held into your chest or one in each hand to make it extra spicy! • Barbell: you can put a barbell on your back, in the same position as the barbell squat. Again this can lead to being able to add more weight but you’ve got to keep that torso upright and those abdominals switched on. bent over rows This is a good exercise for strengthening your back and also your biceps, which are the opposing muscles that are strengthened by the floor/bench press. It’s important to work both as they both translate to bracing, taking hits etc, so one group is just as important as the other. • Kettlebell or Dumbbell: this would normally be one arm and then the other. This can be useful for work on balance. • Barbell sets and repetitions • What do you want to work on? • Endurance: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps and rest around 45 secs- 1minute between sets • Strength: 5 or less reps rest around 1min 30secs to 2mins. The less reps you do (the heavier the weight should be so you’ll need more rest) • What weight to use? • Start light. This is a process, just like roller derby. You wouldn’t attempt your first transition at a sprint, you would build up gently to make sure you had the technique right first and then add speed once you’ve


Summer 2017 |

got the hang of that. That’s the same with lifting weights. Begin where you know you can do all the reps and know your form will stay good even as you get to the final few reps. You are lifting to try improve derby so we don’t want to pick up injuries. To start with you are also training your nervous system as hard as your muscles so you will be making progress and improving your body, even if you aren’t lifting big weights. That will come with time and practice (which if you play derby you know and live that all the time). • Cycles • Usually it is best to work within strength cycles so this may be for 4, 6, or 8 weeks. In this cycle you may focus on one aspect, such as endurance and do sets and reps according to that goal. • You may also focus on a specific group of lifts in that time, such as back squat as your squat variation. • Some programs ask you to work off a percentage of your 1 rep maximum lift (1 rep max or 1RM) and then at the end of the cycle you re-test it to see if you have improved. • This might be beyond you at the moment but bear in mind there any many types of programs you can follow just make sure the one you choose to follow isn’t making you too sore for your on-skates training. summary Lifting weights will help you develop in your roller derby training but make sure your exercises are applicable to derby, your reps and sets match you goals and you make sure your form is good before you start trying to move massive weights. Hopefully you found this article useful and please let us know if you have any comments or questions. We are always happy to help! Look up Roller Derby Fitness on you tube and/or facebook for form demo videos. Please tag us in any cool pics or vids you make of you lifting @ #rollerderbyfitnesstraining or post it on our facebook page. We always love to see strong inspirational women working hard! Feeling inspired but don’t know where to start? Get in touch with us at Roller Derby Fitness ( and we can write you a bespoke strengthening program based on your needs.H

Refreshing Honeydew Relish Salad C AT H O L I C C R U E L G I R L , R O C K Y M O U N TA I N R O L L E R G I R L S


⁄3 cup white wine vinegar ¼ cup water ¼ cup honey 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds ½ teaspoons celery seeds ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups cubed or balled honeydew melon 1 cup finely diced English cucumber 1 cup finely chopped celery ½ cup halved green seedless grapes 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery leaves 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives Butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and crisped 1

In a medium saucepan combine vinegar, honey, water, mustard seeds, celery seeds and salt. Simmer over mediumlow heat for 5 minutes. Then boil over high heat stirring often until mixture is reduced to about ½ cup. Let cool. In a salad bowl combine vinegar mixture, honeydew, cucumber, celery and grapes. Cover and chill for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to blend flavors. When ready to serve, stir in celery leaves and chives. Scoop salad onto butter lettuce leaves and enjoy! | Summer 2017


“We can do better,” I thought to myself. I was in the middle of reading the book Moneyball about statistics in baseball and how the Oakland A’s used statistics to identify players who best contributed to the overall success of the team. The problem they had encountered in baseball was exactly the same problem that we’ve encountered in derby, especially at the elite level: How can we identify those players who bring the most value to our team, especially those players that might otherwise be overlooked? Roller derby has made significant strides in strategy over the past few years, but our statistics remain mired in the past, giving us information that is only moderately useful in communicating with our skaters. VTAR and +/- are currently the primary statistics for feedback in derby and they fall far short of giving us a full picture of what happens on the track. VTAR only compares skaters against their own teammates, while +/- can be greatly skewed by power jams and penalties against key opponents. This was my starting point. My belief is that the primary goal for all defense in modern roller derby is to get the jammer over the line and then bridge back. This wears out the opposing jammer and simultaneously gives your own jammer space to work with. How could we do a better job of simplifying the information we present about an individual skater’s performance during a game? The answers lay in breaking down the components of good team defense. That’s a huge question, but one that I’ve broken down into four individual statistics. KILLS – A kill is credited to the defensive player who drives the opposing jammer over the line and out of bounds. This is the cornerstone of any defense in today’s WFTDA. If you don’t have skaters with the size and strength to drive jammers out of bounds, you don’t have a successful team. Sexy Slaydie of Gotham Girls Roller Derby is the gold standard among blockers in this category with everyone else a distant second.

RUNBACKS – A runback is credited to the first skater to make a clockwise move in bridging backwards after a jammer has been driven out of bounds, provided the defense is able to draw the jammer back at least 20 feet behind the pack. The hallmark of the player that garners runbacks on their stat line is quickness. With lightning fast reaction times from blockers drawing more and more track cuts against opposing jammers, the runback is second only to the kill in terms of being an essential component of the defensive effort. Having watched many hours of bout footage in development of these stats, I feel confident in saying there is no one quicker on the runback in the WFTDA than Caf Fiend of Gotham Girls Roller Derby. CONTAINS – A contain is awarded when a single blocker holds the jammer at the front of the pack long enough to allow her teammates to reform a defensive setup in front of the jammer. There is no stat in JCM Derby Stats more indicative of individual effort than the contain. It could easily be called the Serelson as it calls to mind the solo efforts at the front of the pack so often seen by Shaina Serelson of Victoria Roller Derby. Another star on this front would be Tui Lyon of Angel City Roller Derby – whether in a plow stop or reverse blocking she consistently has the number of the opposing jammers. DRAWN CUTS – A drawn cut is a track cut where an active movement by a blocker draws a cut against an opposing jammer. Either a runback or a drawn cut is awarded, but never both for the same action. Getting the drawn cut against a jammer isn’t always a matter of quickness, though that’s certainly one part of it. Sometimes the cut is drawn by a sneaky move along the outside line out of view of the jammer. Scarlett Bloodbath of Terminal City Rollergirls, who plays the pivot role better than anyone I’ve seen, is tops in our sport at pulling cuts by

Roller derby has made significant strides in strategy over the past few years, but our statistics remain mired in the past...


Summer 2017 |

operating outside of the jammer’s field of vision. Each of these pieces can be credited to an individual, but reflect what they are giving to the overall team effort. In addition to the raw data of the statistics, they are calculated in the JCM Derby Stats system with the number of penalties a player accrues during the game. It’s obvious that a star player who fouls out in the first half would need to have that reflected in her stats in order to measure her contributions effectively against a player of mediocre ability. After watching hundreds of hours of top level games I compiled enough data on what happens to teams when blockers and jammers accrue penalties that I was able to assign a value to each penalty that subtracted from the player’s overall effectiveness, leaving them with a final Player Effectiveness Rating (PER). With this rating, coaches

can quickly compare the performances of individual skaters as a whole, or look at individual categories to better help them create lines that work well together. With my background as a high school math teacher, statistics happen to be one of my favorite things to look at in the sports world. They help summarize the game for serious and casual fans alike, and provide a launching point for coaches and players to get into deeper discussions about game day performance. The numbers don’t lie – we’re all a part of making derby better. Questions or comments on this article are welcome. Contact me on Facebook at or via email at Yeah, I know. Hotmail.H

Brangwyn Jones: Photographer | Summer 2017



drill courtesy of

four corners

purpose: This is another one of those drills that has multiple objectives, from jammer smarts to positional blocking, clearing lanes for a teammate, communication, walls... and most importantly, doing it all in a short time!

Divide the girls randomly into four groups. Each group will go off the track (into what would be the outside referee lane) and into the four corners. The groups in the corners by turns 1 and 2 will be groups of blockers and play as teammates. The group at turn 3 will take the Pivot panties (they won’t be playing as a pivot per se, but by having the helmet cover, they are easily recognizable for the duration of the drill), and the group at turn 4 will take the Jammer panties. The girls with the panties will play as teammates.

On the whistle, a Jammer will begin. As she comes down the straightaway and approaches turn 1, an opponent blocker will enter the track from a standing start, timing her entrance so as to impede the jammer. As these two girls continue around the track, another blocker from the group at turn 2 will time her entrance and join her “teammate” (the blocker from turn 1) in forming a wall and impeding the jammer. Finally, as they approach turn 3, a girl with a Pivot panty will enter the fray, as a teammate for the jammer. The entire group then skates one lap. The blockers will strive to stay in the jammer’s way and resist all attempts from the “pivot” to clear her path. The jammer and pivot need to communicate with one another, with the pivot trying to break the wall and release her jammer. The drill tests everyone’s timing, judging the speed and matching it. The first blocker who enters will have to gauge the jammer, and get a positional block on her. The second blocker must do likewise, and both then have to work quickly to form a wall and stay in her way. The “pivot” should gauge the situation, and attempt to take out the blockers, communicating with the jammer as to where the jammer wants to go etc. Finally, by setting a limit of one lap, it ensures that the girls work together fast. They only have a short space of time to achieve their goal, and we’ve found that it replicates game situations very well. Once every jammer has gone twice, rotate the groups counter-clockwise, until every group has tried every position.

Brangwyn Jones: Photographer


Summer 2017 |

let communication be your guide M I D G E M AY H E M , D E N V E R R O L L E R D E R B Y

about.” And instead of the person trying to change their Roller derby: the ever-evolving sport of talent and strategery. communication tactic by pointing to a map or a picture they An internet search for WFTDA roller derby from 2010 will just repeat themselves but VERY LOUDLY BECAUSE YOU give you some amazing videos of people skating really, really PROBABLY JUST COULDN’T HEAR THEM THE FIRST TIME fast,mixed in with some really incredible hits. WFTDA roller THEY ASKED. Or, perhaps you were the person who starting derby today presents a lot more variables: defensive braced talking VERY LOUDLY BECAUSE MAYBE YOU WEREN’T LOUD walls, shifting pack speeds, ridiculous skating skills, and ENOUGH THE FIRST TIME. offensive. If you’re a jammer these days, you want ALL Now, unless your teammate is hearing impaired, THE OFFENSE. increasing your volume shouldn’t be your go to tactic when Communication among teammates is not a new concept. trying to communicate in a more effective manner. That All team sports require communication to some level. In the being said, let’s review a few possible options: game of football (or as Americans call it “soccer”), players have a keen sense of where their teammates are on the ask productive questions field. When the need comes to pass the ball, they can trust Just like relationships, breakdowns in communication come their teammates will be in a particular place because they’ve from unmet expectations. Let’s say we’re at the start of a practiced and communicated beforehand. The same holds jam, and we’ve taken the back wall; you’re blocking and I’m true for other sports like hockey, basketball, and rugby. jamming. The whistle blows. Immediately you hit the blocker American football is questionable to me, though their ability next to you and then run forward pushing the to celebrate seems very well practiced. brace forward at least 10 feet! You’re feeling While the idea of playing offense isn’t new All team great when all of the sudden you turn around to team sports, and really not even new to and see I am still back at the jam line stuck sports require roller derby, the game has changed in such behind a triangle of blockers. a way that offense is becoming more and communication The jam is over and we go back to the more a necessity. The switch from offense to to some level. bench. In that moment, I might ask, “What defense has to be instantaneous. A second or were you wanting me to do in that moment more off could cost your team the crucial jam when you ran forward toward the brace?” Perhaps you that you need in order to get lead so you can score points respond with “I was moving the pack forward for you!” so you can win the jam in hopes of winning the game. To which I might respond, “Oh. I was expecting you to wait Exciting, right? a split second longer so I could take the hole you created Yeah, and REALLY HARD. You know what else is hard? hitting the first blocker. But by the time I got there, you were Communication. already running forward with the brace.” Don’t get me wrong. Communication is wonderful when Asking questions gives both you and your teammate the you and the other person are on the same page. You can ability to understand what happened during a particular joke, tell stories, share meaningful personal experiences, moment on the track, as well as the opportunity to start have thought provoking discussions: communication is a conversation to lead to a more successful outcome next beautiful... when done effectively. time around. However, tact is still necessary when asking Have you ever been in a situation where someone is questions. For example, “What did you do that for?” is a very trying to have a conversation with you, perhaps ask you vague question that can be taken as accusatory. Add in a question, but they’re speaking in a different language? a little emotion, and now you are both just frustrated with Maybe you know a few words in their language or just shake each other. Not the communication we’re aiming for. your head as to say, “Sorry, bro. No idea what you’re talking


Summer 2017 |

Gil Leora Photography

and your heart sinks to the bottom of your stomach. Fun listen to your teammates fact: this happens to everyone. Another fun fact: this is when Perhaps you have a teammate that needs to verbally you need a feedback cookie! (...yes, I realize the name could communicate a specific movement, while you’re the type of use some work...) person who needs a specific movement to be visualized in The concept is for every piece of critical feedback, there a drawing or real-life moment. Give your teammate the should be one or two pieces of positive feedback. Whether ability to talk through what they’re trying to accomplish. you’re the giver or receiver, start with something positive Once they have come to a conclusion or some sort of (“You covered the line really well”) followed by something resolution, try verifying what they just said out loud by to be improved upon (“Watch for overcommitting because visually walking through the scenario. you’re taking yourself out of bounds”) followed by something We all communicate differently. Learn how your positive (“Your hockey stops are on point, so try to hockey teammates communicate and be willing to listen to them, stop to keep yourself in bounds”). even if their means of communication doesn’t seem Communication is no easy task, especially when there convenient to you at the moment. Come game time when are at minimum 13 other people all with different the pressure is on, time is limited, and a strategy needs communication styles. Just like you to be adapted, you can efficiently and practice derby skills with your effectively come up with a plan together We all communicate teammates, don’t forget to work on BECAUSE COMMUNICATION. differently. Learn how communication skills. Initiating verbal remember the cookie your teammates communication will inevitably lead You know those practice nights when to better on-track communication, communicate and be you’re pretty sure you’ve forgotten how willing to listen to them, and ideally the ability to read each to skate or play roller derby or maybe other’s movements without batting both? You just finish a drill, you come off even if their means of an eye. As Dominique Wilkins said, the track bent over and out of breath, “You are only as good as your team.” communication doesn’t thinking through the four things you just can to seem convenient to you Why not do everything you executed poorly. And then you look up to H make your team great? see your coach walking towards you, at the moment. | Summer 2017


we are talking about practice S T E V E VA N T O L " P R O F E S S O R " , P I E D M O N T R I O T R O L L E R D E R B Y

What is your response when a coach asks you to “give 110%”, “leave it all out there”, or “practice how you are going to play?” saying that it’s important that skaters experience the game I’m in my seventh year of coaching now, and I know I’ve at full speed during practice on a regular basis. You don’t said these things many times. The obvious meaning is that want a teammate to get hit or blocked at 100% for the first most coaches are trying to get the most out of every skater time during a game by an opponent. Also, you are FAR more and want them to push past what they feel their limit is. likely to be out of position and in poor form There is a deeper meaning, though (whether when not “giving 110%.” This increases the you realize it or not), that is very important, chance for injury for you and your teammates. for your health and your teams success, as It’s important Our game continues to evolve, becoming to why you should practice hard and at full that skaters more strategic. With that, it requires us to speed (unless otherwise directed for experience the work on specific strategies during the limited a specific drill). I decided to track our major injuries game at full speed practice time we have. If you have even one (including concussions) over the past two during practice on skater who is half-assing it, not only are there health risks, but now you are not years and found that most of them were due a regular basis. properly preparing for your game, meaning to skaters not playing at full speed and/or not you are punishing your team mates. Your being in proper position. The other interesting teammates and coaches will pick up on this fact that backed this up was that most and it can cause tension, negativity, and possibly others injuries occurred during practice and not our games. This following suit. Again, I call this the “A.I. Affect.” was very eye opening to us and inspired me to create the When you practice at 75%, I assume that is going to be “don’t be A.I.” philosophy during practice. For those that your level of play for the upcoming game. When it comes haven’t seen it, please search and watch the Allen Iverson time to select the roster, myself and the captains keep that (former NBA player) “practice” news conference. He was in mind and we have benched skaters who had a poor known for not taking practice seriously, though he played attitude/work ethic during practice. It can give your coach hard on game day. This mentality, along with how he played, the impression that you aren’t understanding or capable earned him the distinction of being one of the most selfish of handling the current strategy (which is probably not the players in the NBA. His teams rarely did well, though he case), again jeopardizing your roster spot. Just because you scored a lot. How does this translate to you and your team? First off, make attendance and pay dues should not guarantee that I’m not suggesting that you try to hit a team mate (especially you have EARNED your roster spot, regardless of your newer skaters) as hard as possible and hurt someone. I am experience or skill level.

You are FAR more likely to be out of position and in poor form when not “giving 110%.” This increases the chance for injury for you and your teammates.


Summer 2017 |

Jules Doyle

We have all given time, money, blood, sweat, and tears for this sport that we love. Anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. Roller derby is a team sport that requires us to practice as a team, a unit operating like a well-oiled machine. Don’t be the skater who shows up to a game having blown off practice yet expects to be a superstar with the team looking fantastic. I promise that if you and your teammates give it your all during practice, you will see less injuries and will enjoy game day much more. And yes... we’re talking about practice.H

I promise that if you and your teammates give it your all during practice, you will see less injuries and will enjoy game day much more. | Summer 2017


gear review B E T T Y F O R D G A L A X Y, R A I N I E R R O L L E R G I R L S

Last year I got the assignment to do gear reviews for fiveonfive. I looked around at my teammates and photos online of skaters I admired to find out what everyone was wearing. I sent emails to about 15 gear companies requesting gear for review. Four responded. I thought I would be doing your basic product reviews and telling you facts and figures about the different products but what I found was so much more than “just a knee pad.” The people who I worked with were all fabulous. The love they had for our sport and sports in general was really clear by their communications with me. Each person genuinely cares about the products they are offering and the athletes who are going to wear their safety gear. More than just doing research for an article I felt like I made four new friends. This might seem like a silly thing to say when doing a gear review but think about it. Roller derby is a D.I.Y. sport. We pour our hearts and souls into our skating and our leagues. Wouldn’t we want to buy our gear from people who strived to be the same with their passion? Don’t we want to support the companies that believe in us as much as we believe in them? Of course we do. That is why when I had such an amazing experience just getting the gear I needed to include that as part of the review. This is not to say that all other companies that sell gear are horrible by any means. These four just happen to be the ones I had contact with. The photos show the four new knee pads that I got for review and three old sets I had, the Rector Protector knee pad (size M, @$27.00-$40.00), custom ProDesign Super Single Cap Knee Pads (custom size, $193.00), and 187 Fly knee pads (size L, $37.95.) You can see how each fit me a bit differently and that can help you decide which would work best for you. The design on all the new pads is different from the older pads. Each of the four new pads have no neoprene backing that, while it makes you feel secure in the pad, for shorties like me they can bunch and pinch your skin and be uncomfortable. I prefer the open backs with the straps that close but they are just as secure. The new pads also have removable pads so you can take them out and wash them. For roller derby that is a pretty big deal. Washing the shell and not the pads themselves cuts down on derby stink but does not wear the pads down prematurely.


Summer 2017 |

S * One Helmet CO aka S1 Knee Pads – Size XL - $100.00 S1 has created helmets for years and are branching off into making more and more gear for roller derby. I asked for gear in general but wanted to focus on knee pads. Dan McCashin from S1 replied back, super cheery and asked me a few questions, like what helmet color do I like. I replied that I love glitter, love black or silver but would love to try one of your face shield helmets. One day I came home to the largest box I had ever seen at my front door. To my amazement S1 had sent me three helmets, one silver glitter, one black glitter and the black coveted face shield helmet. I nearly passed out from joy. Also in the box were knee pads, a shirt and many stickers. Of course I needed an S1 shirt. How did they know? I got another email from Dan. He gave me more info on S1 pads than you can imagine. He wanted to make sure I really understood the product and had a good experience. The new S1 knee pads are designed with three areas of focus. Stability – Important for preventing injury. They use Ortholite Memory foam to stabilize the knee. Durability – They use military grade ballistic nylon for the outer shell and triple stitch every seam. Functionality – Taking the bulk out gives you a more streamline look and easier for crossovers. Of all the pads I liked the look of these the most. Like if a spy or assassin were going to wear knee pads, these

would be what they chose. The stitching is triple stitched on the front. On the sides of mine the logo is matte black on shiny black and looks hot. I love my shirt, I love these pads and I love all my helmets. Thank you Dan and S1 for just being amazing and caring about the skaters who wear you gear.

I thought this was going to be an issue but while skating I had no issue at all. I should point out that I have been playing derby for over 13 years and I know in my first few years these would not have worked for me partly because of how short I am and how long it took me to do proper crossovers.

187 Killer Pads Pro Knee Pads – size Large - $79.95 I got the loveliest letter from Taffy Lowery at 187 Killer Pads when the box arrived. Not only was there a helmet but a full set of pads. Knee pads, wrist guards and elbow pads. The letter said these are the same design for team USA Roller Derby. As a long time skater who has never been on a WFTDA charter team I know that I do not have a shot at Team USA. BUT A GIRL CAN DREAM! And now this girl can literally wear the pads and helmet of Team USA and roll around practice like I own the place. It was very thoughtful of them to send those specific pads. It showed that they are really doing a lot for the derby community and that they thoughtful in what they send. The 187 Pro Knee Pads are completely customizable. You can pick your favorite colors, your team colors or even send them custom fabric. They have an array of colored knee caps too. They do seem to stick out pretty far from the knee.

Deadbolt Apex Knee Pads – Size Medium $75 This is a newer company to the roller derby game and they are very cutting edge. Mike Furst from Deadbolt was very excited to be included in an article for fiveonfive. His enthusiasm for roller derby is infectious. He is seriously like my new best friend. Mike has such passion for the sport | Summer 2017


and the technology of the equipment. He wants everyone’s experience to be top notch with his gear. Mike really believes in his product and he adores the sport. He gave me a very thorough run down of all the specific details on what made Deadbolt pads so unique and special. We had a few good emails back and forth and he sent me a pair of knee pads WITH A LASER EYED CAT on one of the knee caps. He made it special just for me. For my tester pair. They had me wear them for a few weeks then send back the insides so they could test them. It is great that they spend so much time and effort on testing the pads. A few weeks after I sent back the testing foam insides, they sent me a new set of insides so I could continue to wear the pads and some nice toe guards. There are three main things I loved about the Deadbolt pads. 1. The caps are clear and do not leave marks on the rink floor when you fall. 2. If you order blank clear ones you can change what you put under them whenever you want to update your derby look. You can easily make a photo copy of something and stick it under the cap. Perhaps you can put your league’s logo there or the other team’s logo with a big X through it. 3. They sell new insides so you can update your gear without having to buy all new pads. Smith Scabs Safety Gear Scabs Skate Knee Pad – Size Large - $39.95 Kat at Scabs was very helpful and kind. They sent a set of knee pads and wrist guards. They also sent enough stickers for my whole team and I was the most popular lady at scrimmage the night when I passed them out to our team and guests. I was sent and tried the standard Scabs Skate knee pad. They do have an Elite II Knee Pad that retails for $67.95 and a Derby Knee Pad ($39.95) both with an adjustable top strap. For the price these are amazing. I would not have guessed they were a lower price point than the others I tried. Smith Scabs pads come in leopard. If you know me. You know this is one of my favorite things on the planet. My next set of pads will definitely be either the pink or natural leopard Scabs.


Summer 2017 |

Jules Doyle

a note about pads in general No pads are meant to last forever. Replacing worn out roller derby gear is to prevent injury. Remember that just like anything, roller derby pads are subjective to the athlete. I am a shorter skater, 5’3� and I have short stubby legs. All of these pads fit me differently and it is a matter of preference to which I would pick. Pads are going to be something you must try on first to really make sure the fit and function is right for you. I suggest borrowing a teammate’s pads and give them a go for fit before you buy anything. Buy your gear from a company you can stand (or skate) behind their values and ethics.

a note about helmets Only two companies sent helmets, both S1 and 187 so I did not have a lot to compare. They are both newer designs so they were something I had not tried before. I have had S1

helmets in the past and this one felt like it fit better. I have a small peanut head and it did not slip or move around nor did it pinch or have weird spots that were irritating. If you have had a helmet with weird spots before, you know how that feels. The S1 did not have that. The 187 fit really snug also but sat too low on my head. I had a teammate try them both on. She had the reverse experience. The 187 fit her better and she felt like the S1 was too high on her forehead. Just like pads, you are going to have to try on helmets. Each of these companies go above and beyond with testing and redesign on their helmets for safety. For more information, here are a few videos to watch. This video is about the S1 Lifer helmet: This video is from 187 Killer Pads about fitting your safety gear: | Summer 2017


education, community at the first-ever roller derby world summit T H E W O M E N ' S F L AT T R A C K D E R B Y A S S O C I AT I O N PHOTOS BY JASON RUFFELL

With 2017 being the year of developments in the international WFTDA community beyond North America, the WFTDA thought it only made sense to hold the first-ever Roller Derby World Summit, hosted by Rainy City Roller Derby in Manchester, U.K. from April 21-23, 2017. The event welcomed over 100 people from 20 countries spanning six continents, brought together by their shared love of the sport. Each day was packed with educational, industry, and inspirational content in an open, public format. Here are some of the highlights: DAY 1: Emerging Regions and Establishing an Intentional Culture of Diversity and Inclusion Nada Ben Jemaa from Roller Derby Beirut set the tone for the Roller Derby World Summit with an inspirational keynote that resonated with attendees representing leagues around the world. She spoke candidly about the challenges her league faces, from the large-scale crises of bombings and governmental restrictions to shared structural and training difficulties that many new, small leagues experience across six continents. She also noted problems with western media’s constrictive narrative in Roller Derby Beirut coverage. "We'd love it if one day we could be recognized for our athletic performance,” she explained. “Not for breaking down stereotypes of women in the Middle East." Throughout it all, she remained optimistic, pointing out


Summer 2017 |

that the sport has been a safe space in the midst of tragedy. She assured, "In these dark times, roller derby is the highlight of our lives.” Nada Ben Jemaa then joined the RDWS Scholarship Winners and Emerging Region panelists from Sailor City Rollers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, C-Max Roller Derby in Johannesburg, South Africa, Roller Derby Madrid in Madrid, Spain, and Northern Brisbane Rollers in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The panel highlighted the challenges and opportunities that exist for the sport in emerging regions – such as language barriers and limited access to resources – so that we can consider ways the WFTDA and the roller derby community as a whole can address them. Executive Director Cassie Haynes moderated a panel on “establishing an intentional culture of diversity and inclusion” in which panelists

addressed a lack of diversity in the sport and examined methods of goalsetting for productive organizational changes. Haynes stated, “Diversity doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” and urged RDWS attendees to to integrate intentional inclusivity efforts into every decision and into every aspect of the sport – not just through membership and HR, but through league committees such as sponsorship and marketing. Rogue Runner of the London Rollergirls capped off Day 1 by partnering science with sports in her presentation on “structuring your season to peak when it counts.” She went into depth on researchbased training methods geared towards optimal performance, which the WFTDA shared on Instagram Live. (If you missed it you can find her posts on the topic on her website!)

DAY 2: One Win Leads to Another Not interested in a Saturday slump, Béatrice Frey electrified the second day of the Roller Derby World Summit by announcing the UN Women’s partnership with the WFTDA during her powerful keynote speech. Frey oversees the UN Women’s global social media strategy and outreach while also managing their relationships with sports organizations. This new partnership is a part of the One Win Leads to Another initiative, which aims to empower women and girls through sport. Frey believes that women in sport defy gender stereotypes and that the WFTDA embodies the program’s spirit of community and gender equality. After further discussions and thoughtful “homeroom” group deliberation on some of the topics covered earlier in the event, the day ended with a fun night of scrimmaging and an officials clinic at Rainy City Roller Derby’s Thunderdome, followed by Team England’s “Red vs. White” matchup, hosted by Rainy City.

DAY 3: Roller Derby in the Media and Global Governance of the Sport Noted Sports Reporter Jane McManus, who has covered everything from the NFL to roller derby while leading conversations on domestic violence, gender equity, and homophobia in sports, began the final morning of the RDWS with a keynote on women’s sports in the media. Her talk was equal parts informative and motivating, as she encouraged attendees to take charge of their narrative and to be proactive in their league’s PR outreach while offering expert advice and suggestions for best practices, delivered in her signature no-nonsense tone. Panels and presentations that followed covered complicated but crucial topics of ethics, competitive structures, and global governance. We heard from emerging leagues and the experiences of Class C Members, and were also treated to Master Blaster’s breakdown of competitive structures in the sport that exist within and outside of the WFTDA. As the sport continues to expand, the WFTDA is determined to quickly adapt to ensure it can continue to support and advance leagues beyond North America.

We’re on the brink of a “new era” in the global reach of the sport and the Roller Derby World Summit was positioned right at the cusp of this movement, allowing for challenges to be addressed and important discussions to thrive. The dialogue that started at the RDWS will continue to develop going forward, spurring new growth and direction in the sport.

“Through roller derby we share a common purpose,” said Iron Tyrant of C-MAX Roller Derby in Johannesburg, South Africa. “I have a shared experience with a person from New York as well as a person from Australia and someone else from Argentina, and it’s all because of this sport. I’ve learned so so much this weekend and I truly feel like I belong to the WFTDA community.”H | Summer 2017


COLOR JAM ROLLER DERBY COLORING BOOK A coloring book for the most colorful sport

training and conditioning B I L L M AY E R O F F, R O C K I S L A N D, I L

It’s no secret that there are risks associated with playing roller derby. Despite strict safety measures, injuries are inevitable. Every time a skater hits the track, the potential of broken bones, bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, and concussions lurks around every turn.

But what happens when those injuries are suffered by kids with still-developing bodies? Junior roller derby teams are popping up all over the country. That proliferation raises a couple questions. First, are derby-playing kids and teens susceptible to injuries fully-developed adults are not? Are kids’ bodies affected differently by the most common roller derby injuries and can those injuries have long-term effects on their physical growth and development? Casey Creger, a doctor of physical therapy and athletic trainer at Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus in Silvis, Ill., said that for the most part, risks for kids versus those for adults are fairly similar, especially when it comes to broken bones and other contact-related injuries. In fact, Creger said, kids often have an easier time with such injuries than adults. “Children and adolescents bounce back sooner from injuries than adults,” he said. However, Creger said, a broken bone in the wrong spot can have long-lasting effects on kids. Kids and adolescents have growth plates at the end of long bones. According to, growth plates are regions of cartilage where bone growth occurs and are weaker than surrounding tissue, making them more vulnerable to injuries. Growth plate fractures, Creger said, can lead to a child’s bones not growing and developing properly, which would affect them for the rest of their life. That’s not to say every kid who suffers a growth plate injury will have problems for the rest of his or her life. Jason Strang, the manager of rehabilitation therapy for Trinity Regional Health System, a medical group with locations in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, said his son recently broke his wrist playing hockey, but likely won’t suffer any significant longterm ill effects.


Summer 2017 |

“He broke it right through the growth plate,” Strang said. “Long term, I don’t think there’s going to be a huge detrimental effect. Strang agreed with Creger that kids’ bodies will bounce back more easily from injuries than adults’ – even if you factor in a growth plate injury. “Kids, they’re still going to grow,” Strang said. “It’s always easier for a kid to come back from an injury. They’re more resilient.” Concussions, though dangerous to anyone who has one, are something kids need to avoid because their brains are still developing, Creger said. “Kids do have an increased risk for concussions,” he said. “It would probably take longer to heal.” That increased risk for concussions, Creger said, also makes it more likely that a child who suffers a concussion will suffer another. “Once you get a concussion, you’re at a higher risk of getting a secondary concussion,” he said. Additional concussions, he added, put kids at risk of impaired learning and cognitive abilities. Creger said it’s not just repeated concussions that can be dangerous. As with adults, if a child repeatedly injures a certain body part, each injury decreases the likelihood of a full recovery, which can impact a child’s long-term physical development. “The more recurring injuries, the more likely the area won’t recover,” he said. So how can derby-playing kids avoid permanently damaging themselves? Both Strang and Creger believe it’s not that difficult. Kids who wish to play derby need to be fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into in order to play safely. “Understanding that you’re going to get bumps and bruises is a part of the sport,” Creger said. “There is no preparation for physical impact. A lot of it is mental toughness.” But it’s more than just being aware of the potential for being hit and falling, Creger said. “Knowing how to take a hit and/or fall can reduce risk of injury.” When a person – child or

adult – falls, their instinct is to brace for impact. That’s actually counterintuitive. “Try to reduce the bracing,” he said. “Bracing can increase risk of elbow and shoulder dislocations and wrist injuries. Fall more limp.” Strang said that coaches of junior derby teams also have a role in keeping kids from permanently injuring themselves. Beyond simply teaching kids the basic skills needed to function safely on skates, coaches must constantly watch for signs that they have been injured. For example, if a child is suddenly struggling where they were not before, a coach should step in and make sure nothing is seriously wrong. However, Strang said, kids are often better about reporting injuries to their coaches than adults. Adults are sometimes encouraged to play through and ignore the pain, which can be dangerous. Kids generally have not been taught that. “A kid, most likely, would tell you something is not right,” he said. Ellonyia Yenney, also known as El Efino, coaches the Orphan Brigade – the junior derby team associated with the Davenport, Iowabased Quad City Rollers. Yenney said keeping kids from getting injured on the track is not much different than keeping adults from getting injured. “There are still the same basic skills,” she said. “The mechanics and the muscle memory are the same.” Yenney said teaching those basic skills to kids is often easier than teaching them to adults because kids are generally taught to listen to adults. “I think the kids are a lot easier to coach,” she said. “It’s very easy to say, ‘You need to listen.’” The smaller size and lighter weight of kids’ bodies can cause them trouble on the track, Yenney said. “It’s really hard to get them to stick to the floor,” she said, adding that even with the right wheels, very light children are prone to falling more than adults. “They have to know how to fall correctly.” Because the Orphan Brigade has 21 kids between the ages of 7 and 17, Yenney said the league instituted rules designed to reduce the chance of injuries due to kids of varying body sizes skating against each other. The skaters under nine years old do not get hit while rolling because even a light hit from a larger skater can be dangerous. The question that remains is this: Should kids be playing roller derby? Strang thinks so, provided they are taught the skills needed to safely function on the track. Starting kids on a sport – any sport, not just roller derby – at a young age, makes it easier to teach them those skills. “At hockey, they start them at three or four,” Strang said. “I think it’s perfectly fine for kids to play roller derby.” Creger agreed. “Every sport has its own inherent risks,” he said. “The better trained you are, the less of a risk for injury.”H

Fotodog | Summer 2017


how to run your league M E TA P H O R C E , M I X I N ’ V I X E N S

good governance My recreational roller derby league, Mixin’ Vixens, is a non-profit organization, meaning it’s governed by an elected board, who serve a membership of skaters that vote and provide input. It’s great to have a skills-based board to fill roles (in our case, President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer, and Skater’s Rep). There’s a lot to do behind the skating scenes from conflict resolution to budgeting to event planning to promotion! Having policies and procedures in place are key. In our case, we enforce a code of conduct, are governed by by-laws, host an annual general meeting, file insurance, book skating space, manage a budget, and of course plan tons of fun stuff, from parties to bouts. We use tools like Dropbox, Google Forms and Drive, Facebook pages and chats, to share documents, socialize, and keep organized. It’s good to have templates set up to save time, such as for attendance tracking and dues. Having skaters who know or can learn about non-profit management is super beneficial, as well as ones with other skills, from design to marketing to business to leadership. Documenting how to run the league is very useful for following best practices, and for training up new board members in the future. recruitment and transfers To run a league, you need skaters, obviously! Participation drives revenue to pay for venue space, and ensures there’s enough bodies to scrimmage


Summer 2017 |

and bout. It’s important to have a plan to onboard freshies and train them, while offering challenge to those passing minimum skills. Setting up a practice plan with goals and skills for different levels is essential before running your boot camp. In our league, we run boot camps and split the space between fresh and scrimmage-ready, and assess throughout in case people can level up. Boot camps are a good way to book reliable revenue for the duration of the term, and they attract both new and to-be-improved skaters. It also works to expand your roster! Outreach is critical! In our case, being a rec league, we can pull in retired skaters from competitive who left due to inability to commit the time, or those actively skating that seek even more derby in their lives. We have some casual drop-ins and many regulars, offering options to skate for different budgets and availabilities. We transfer skaters in and out, via letters of reference and minimumskills certification. For some skaters, our rec league is a stepping stone to competitive, and it works both ways as others may feel burn out. Recruiting happens everywhere, from bouts to social media to roller rink visits, so it’s good to have members always be repping! Jerseys draw in attention, as does just lacing up skates. It’s great to have skaters open to having conversations with strangers and friends about derby and how to get involved with the league.

fundraising So far our league is running on earned revenues like dues and merch sales, and boot camp training opportunities. In other leagues I’ve skated in, we’ve held activities from time to time ranging from bake sales to car washing (on skates) to help raise funds. Fundraising revenue is great, as it doesn’t often come with much expense, compared to dues that are targeted to offset skating space. These activities can also provide team building and social time for the league, and can provide recruitment opportunities too. In these types of public efforts, you can simultaneously promote bouts or provide flyers about joining or volunteering for the league. budgeting In a non-profit, it’s great to break-even your year end, or better yet, save a bit for later. To get there, set up some financial goals, and also look back to years past to get realistic forecasts of what might unfold. Money-in-moneyout projects, such as headshot photography or jersey purchases where skaters are covering costs, don’t affect your bottom line, so ensuring there are earning opportunities such as growing membership dues over practice space, other merch sales, or fundraising really helps to build your bank. As a nonprofit, you want to disclose your financial position, so if you turn a significant surplus, you can go back and benefit members through discounted gear or free skating time

later to be sure that all is fair. Knowing your cash position is important, not only in the present but to forecast what it will look like each month of the year. This helps plan when the league is most comfortable to incur extra expenses or to understand when fundraising goals are a priority. Creating an annual cash flow spreadsheet will help the league strategize and plan financially, as well as its activities. code of conduct Craft a mandate for your league! Understand and adapt it, share it with skaters, and address any questions.

Ensure new skaters read and sign off on it. Have a skater’s rep for questions and conflicts and create a procedure for grievances. We promote a fun, inclusive, and positive atmosphere, from events to our social media spaces. We work to ensure that skaters are safe and free from any form of harassment, as well as taking disciplinary action when needed following the five strides method of conflict resolution. fun stuff Make sure it’s fun! It can be tough to find time to run a league on top of

skating and work, so be sure to have plenty of social time and not just meetings. We have regular potlucks, social skates, and post-practice beers, as well as a year-end party with awards to recognize teammates. Engage your members to volunteer and contribute to the league too, so they feel involved and also can help divide up the work required, and to renew the board going forward. As with skating, running a league is a pretty cool accomplishment, and helps foster the inclusive and positive community that roller derby offers, so feel rewarded and recognized by the work you put in to it!H | Summer 2017



jason garland

The game is over and the crowd is cheering on the winners as they take their victory lap. Now the teams will pick the MPV for the other team. Captains stand in the center and pass out awards. Some teams choose just an MPV for the most valuable player while others give both an MVJ – most valuable jammer and an MVB – most valuable blocker. This is fun for the skaters and for the audience. Over the years, I have heard a lot of mixed talk about these awards. Typically, it is the opposite team who picks the MVP for your team. Some claim that if you play as a team, most valuable anything is not needed. Some say the same people always win. Perhaps those are the best players or perhaps the most popular on the team. Sometimes a team will give the MVP to an old teammate or someone who is having a birthday. Others will be sort of condescending and give the MVP to the player who actually had the worst game because they were the most valuable to the team who won. Many skaters love them and make it something they strive to obtain. Having a goal in roller derby is always a good thing. Regardless of how you feel about them, they are a part of our game. The audience enjoys it and it is a nice way to end the event, so why not make them as fun as possible? Think about the theme of your bout if you have one, can you make a trophy around that? Perhaps you make the trophies of the color of the teams playing. The ideas are endless once you start brainstorming on the subject.


Summer 2017 |

Here are some great DIY cheap ways to create really fun MVP trophies for your bouts. One of the easiest is to go thrift store shopping and buy old trophies and remake them. I was able to find many in my local area and did not spend more than $5 on any one trophy. Above, I have removed the plaques that they came with and put MVB or MVJ on the front pillar using stickers and black electrical tape. The theme for the bout was DISCO so I made them with disco balls on them. I used old mirrored Christmas ornaments and fishing line. They were a crowd and skater favorite. Total cost $25 for four trophies. Another great way to repurpose old trophies is with used skate wheels. Paint the wheels gold or glitter them up and attach to the top. I suggest using Guerrilla Glue or if you have the tools, drilling a hole in the wheel and screwing it on the top. You can also paint an old skate wheel and put on a ribbon as if it were a medal.

If you have access to a heat press you can make just about anything become a “trophy” and the skaters can actually use it later to show off their roller derby badassness. You can make shirts, hats, booty shorts, socks and even fanny packs. We had a pirate theme bout so I used gold glitter to make these fanny packs. I purchased the fanny packs for $5 each and the heat press was done by myself but if you know someone you can get it pressed for pretty cheap and people LOVE these. Total cost $20 for four trophies (would be slightly more if you needed to pay for heat press.)

with paper towels and rubbing alcohol. You can paint them, put medals on them like I did, glue them to a base and make a crazy fun trophy. Be creative and have fun with it.

If you have the time and a little more funds you can have things made. The Dockyard Derby Dames had metals made and engraved with the date of the bout. They also took a silver hat and wrote on it in sharpie. The whole team signed it. That made them feel really special. With MVPs (or MVBs or MVJs)

For our PRIDE bout, I found used My Little Ponies. They cost $2 to $3 dollars each. I cleaned them up really good and put little metals on them. Total cost $15 for four trophies. They were the easiest to make and people absolutely adore them. You can find really cheap toys at thrift stores and clean them

When all else fails and you forget to do anything ahead of time, stop by the dollar store on your way to the bout. You can buy mugs, travel cups, make up pouches and embellish them. You can fill with a few things like hair ties or candy. Walk around and let the store inspire you and you can come up with awards for just a few dollars. While you are there grab a basket and fill it with random stuff and make a gift basket for the visiting team or your refs. Have fun and remember no matter how small or silly it is, it is going to make someone’s day so make them with Derby Luv.H | Summer 2017


how to build a team bond FEIST E. ONE, BOULDER COUNTY BOMBERS

There are only a few sports where you depend fully on your teammates for your safety and well-being. We all know the dangers of roller derby; every skater has signed a waiver at one point in her career that states that the activities of roller derby are very dangerous and can result in the risk of serious injury or death or property damage. Who would do this sport if you didn’t trust your teammates? Probably no one. Team bonding is about more than getting all the skaters on the league to like each other. In fact, there are probably some skaters on your team who would describe each other as “frenemies.” Although you may not always want to be around every single skater on your league, a bond still needs to be formed so skaters can trust that their physical (and sometimes mental and emotional) health will be in good hands. And once that bond forms, skaters usually end up genuinely liking each other. Bonding is also important to the success of a league. Godjammit said there are many ways success is defined for her league, Duke City Derby of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I feel that my team defines success not only by how well we play together (win or lose) but how much fun, trust, and encouragement we feel from one another as well,” she said. Sports are more than just winning and losing, and a lot of skaters will attest to the fact that the bonds they have formed with teammates have helped them with more than just winning or losing a bout. “I think there are also more subtle definitions of success: beating a team you aren’t supposed to beat, experiencing a level of cohesion not yet felt before, and seeing your teammates put in the extra effort to meet their goals are all measures of success,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay from the Nashville Rollergirls. Here are five team bonding activities your league can do to build relationships, increase cooperation and help skaters gain each other’s trust. 1. host social activities off the track Getting to know a person helps to build a bond. Something like a love for cats, or being a parent, or loving the same


Summer 2017 |

music can create a bond between two people because they have something to share. Social activities, away from the track, are a great way to get to know skaters on your league and find these commonalities. “My home team, the Dooms Dames, had a party at a teammate’s house where we barbecued, went swimming, and played Rock Band. We also let the home team, The Hobots, crash the party. It was a fun filled night,” said Kell’s Inferno of Duke City Derby. Some leagues enjoy karaoke, some enjoy hanging out at a local restaurant, and some like dancing. Movie nights and bowling are also fun activities where skaters can have time to talk with other league members. 2. hold non-skating competitions Derby players play derby because they are competitive. So have competitions – but off-skates. This will give skaters the opportunity to show off their other skills (we all know that skaters like to show off). This will help build teamwork. So have that dodgeball game, water balloon fight, board game tournament, scavenger hunt, or softball game. The winner may be someone who doesn’t usually win the on-skates games, giving her a little confidence boost. 3. create team rituals No, not hazing the newbies. Hazing is illegal and there have been many instances of collegiate athletes being charged with crimes because of hazing incidents. Hazing has also been proven to have a negative effect on the cohesiveness of a team. However, bonding does need to start with the newbies. When a newbie is invested in the league, either by contributing to a league committee, finding her derby wife, or by having a veteran mentor her, it is more likely she will

continue to skate. “We have a Big Sister program that helps newbs assimilate into our league and our culture. It’s basically a mentoring program so that each newb has someone who is personally invested in their success and [is] keeping an eye on their progress. We pair a newb with a vet, and while there isn’t a requirement that they bond socially, it does Danyel “Shoot To Kill” Duncan often happen that way,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay. One important ritual a team can create is a rules clinic. This will give veterans an opportunity to interact with newbies while off-skates. Godjammit, the newbie coordinator for her league, invites newbies out after their practices so they can learn and discuss rules. Eating before a bout is essential and something that the whole team will enjoy. Even though preparing for a bout is different for every skater, a carb-loading meal a day or two before a bout can help all skaters get mentally prepared for a bout. Skaters who like to talk derby before a bout can strategize together through the whole meal, while the others can talk about work/family/kids/life, help prepare the meal, or play Wii or Xbox. This get-together will also allow the coach and captains a chance to give a motivating talk and get everyone thinking about what they need to do together. Plus, who doesn’t like food? Before a bout is also a great time to do skate maintenance, so why not do it as a team? Not only is the whole team together for this, but it also gives another chance for the team to be together off the track. And what is more of a ritual than an afterparty? At bouts, the announcers are always inviting friends, family, and fans to join the skaters at the afterparty. The afterparty gives the veterans, newbies, NSOs, referees, announcers, and volunteers a chance to eat and drink together. The shenanigans that happen at after-parties will, at the very least, give everyone a common event they enjoyed together.

4. volunteer together Most leagues are civic-minded and like to give back to the community. “We [Nashville Rollergirls] do community service and charity events, as well, which is a fun way to bond while giving back to the community,” said HippyKi-Yay. Organizing an event for all league members to attend, such as working at the local homeless shelter or humane society, or gathering up donations for children and families in need, will reinforce the feeling that “my fellow skaters are genuinely good people” and will increase the respect league members feel for each other. Not to mention, the league will get credit for doing good in the community. 5. spend the night together Nothing makes you get to know another person better than spending the night with them. This could be at a weekend tournament, an away bout, or a league retreat. When you have to spend almost every moment with someone for 24, 48, or 72 hours, you will probably have a lot of different feelings about that person. Most importantly, you will get to know them better. If at the end of the trip, you realize you still aren’t best friends, at least you know you haven’t killed them. “Going through the process of traveling together, being in a new place, and keeping an eye out for each other has definitely brought people closer. One of my favorite moments was at an away bout when our captain at the time told us that no matter where we were, we were home because we had each other,” said Hippy-Ki-Yay. So start your league’s season off right and set up a team bonding event. Get to know a newbie or sit down with someone on the other home team of your league. You will find that the increased bond between skaters off the track will transfer over to teamwork on the track.H | Summer 2017



Rule 56 is a small roller derby coaching business, founded in 2016 by Leeds, UK based skater Maha El Nasser (Hydra) of Rainy City Roller Derby. The whole concept of Maha’s business is based around her personal rule – Skate First. “We do what we do because we love skating – so put your skating first.” Rule 56 was born from a need to bring together roller derby’s expertise to a place where it could be shared and collectively grown. “I started Rule 56 because I was coaching Leeds Roller Doll’s rec league and I felt I didn’t know what I was doing. I had done coaching in other sports, but I had never coached skills in skating, and I realized I didn’t know how to teach this – I didn’t know the words to teach it. And of course you do it, and you learn from it, and it’s a great way to learn – in fact you do that anyway – but it would have been really helpful if there had also been some resources available, or some courses in roller derby coaching. There was nothing. In our league we were losing a lot of good players who were really committed to the league. They were leaving not because they didn’t want to skate anymore but because they stepped up to coach but didn’t feel confident coaching. They didn’t know how to respond to the dynamic that comes up when you’re coaching your own team. It’s difficult to coach, especially your own team, but somebody has to step up because there’s nobody else. We didn’t know how to support them and that’s not fair – and it’s not fair to the team either.


Summer 2017 |

“The other part was understanding what was actually happening in the community and what was already out there. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. How many leagues across how many countries are out there on their own, coming up with this stuff, putting together their own plans? It’s hard enough to balance everything – derby fundraising, derby training, derby business, derby playing, derby planning, derby travel, without doing a lot of work you don’t need to be doing.” The first main event in Rule 56’s calendar was Derby Stance Coaching Summit, which took place in Leeds on 19 and 20 November 2016 with the support of business partner Ecky Thump, aka Ruth Saxton of Leeds Roller Derby. Keynote speaker was Smarty Pants, aka Nadia Kean of Get Smarty Coaching. “I picked Smarty Pants because she is a coach, not just a big roller derby name. When Nadia came to coach us, it was a very different experience – it was more thought out and more of a learning experience.” Speakers included Kristen Lee who talked about minimum skills among other topics; Stef Skinner of Auld Reekie Roller Girls who spoke about coaching thinking outside the box. But Maha also wanted to bring in coaches and speakers from other sports and disciplines, and the speakers also featured Vicky Huyton, founder of the Female Coaching Network; Chris Baird, strength and conditioning expert; and Leuan Cranswick, sports psychologist. Topics included the importance of having and maintaining effective

networks; how to prepare the body for the kind of impact and training experienced while playing roller derby; and the psychological impact of injury, among many others. “There was so much we could have covered,” Maha says. “This conference was mostly about, “Let’s get this conversation started.” Now that the ice has been broken, Rule 56 is ready to move on to their next feature. “Our new strapline is, ‘Strong and confident coaches will be the next stepchange’.” Maha is teaming up with Nadia Kean again to deliver some of her excellent content around the world to people who may not otherwise have the time or finances to get the kind of expertise Nadia can offer. “Coaching 101 is not so much about the high-level skills involved in roller derby but rather how to work with athletes, how to understand learning styles and how learning takes place, all the things a coach needs to know before setting out in coaching.” Nadia, who is writing a book based on her years of experience in coaching rowing and roller derby, has been working with Maha to pilot

the sessions, as neither had delivered sessions in the webinar format prior to this. “Nadia’s style is very interactive and personal in terms of how she deals with people, which was challenging in a format that involves her talking into a computer and looking at her own face,” Maha explains. The pilot was attended by people across the world and their feedback from the pilot led to changes in the structure and software. They worked together and quickly ironed out some of the kinks – and Rule 56 and Get Smarty are really excited to take it to the next step and deliver Coaching 101 to the world. “What was really great about the pilot is that people were interacting with Nadia but they were also engaging with each other, sharing tips and carrying on that coaching conversation and that’s really the whole point. They were making connections with each other and not just the presenter, and we were able to take that a lot further geographically than the conference. We’re getting people talking and the more people that talk about it the more things happen.”H

In addition to coaching 101, Rule 56 are also planning further webinar series on bench coaching. They are also in the planning stages of delivering minimum skills retreats – a three day session where people can receive coaching, practice skills, learn rules, receive feedback and finally be tested and certified in minimum skills, to run parallel to coaching workshops where local coaches can discuss minimum skills assessments and the importance of consistency in minimum skills. For details of future developments or for more information go to | Summer 2017


tu high art Ariki A.K.A Tu High is a skater and artist from New Zealand, and has been involved in art and creativity her entire life. Her father is also an artist and well renown Maori (New Zealand native) which she spent the majority of her childhood with, so it is in her blood. Tu High drew much of her inspiration from cartoons and comics, especially in the Japanese sector which greatly influenced her art and design. She then studied at university in animation and illustration furthering her skills and knowledge in the world of narrative, classical arts and creativity. Over time she went back to her roots where she began to incorporate her own cultural identity into her style, works mixed with the wide spectrum of post modern art/design, cartoons and comic books finding her own unique style she uses today which is constantly evolving. In 2015, Tu High started her path of roller derby, finding a new love and passion. She has always been an adrenaline junkie and athlete in her non artsy time. That led to her exposure to the sport’s awesome culture, style, kick ass poster designs, and league logos that caught her immediate attention, and it was then she decided to ask her league if she could have a go at creating their bout posters. After that her derby art was born and she is now creating artworks for a sport and community she loves as much as drawing.H


Summer 2017 | | Summer 2017


1. Red jammer’s hair color has changed. 2. White pivot is missing blue stripes on helmet cover. 3. Red jammer is missing logo on skate. 4. White front blocker’s thigh tattoo is missing. 5. Star is missing from logo on red blocker’s uniform. 6. White blocker in back is missing armband. 7. White jammer’s wheels have changed color.

Brangwyn Jones: Photographer


Profile for fiveonfivemedia

fiveonfive | issue 36 | Summer 2017  

fiveonfive | issue 36 | Summer 2017