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Roller Derby Forum Discussions about banked-track and flat-track roller derby events, teams, skaters, and training methods.

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Old August 9th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #1
TootieBrutie
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Question Tiny Newbie Needs Advice

Hello.
I'm glad I found this forum cuz I've been really seeking out some advice. My flat track league started up around the end of April beginning of May, so we've been skating 3 and a half months. We are insured and working on getting on with the WFTDA. Sometimes our coaches get a little confused on the game play and strategies involved with this sport, but I'm happy to say the girls on my team are kicking butt!!... but I can't help but feel a little at a disadvantage right now. One of the things coach never really went over is blocking and hitting. The other girls seam to be catching on super well!
First let me tell you this....I'm 20 years old. I roughly weigh 90Ibs, I've never hit 100ibs in my life. I recently quit a vegetarian diet in hopes to gaining some weight for derby with little luck.
These girls can toss me around like a rag doll! I have been tripped, shoved into a brick wall, fallen on, and tossed like 10 feet across the rink. I've been taken to the emergency room once, and right now I'm having some joint problems.
I think I am an excellent skater! Pretty fast. We have been working on our skills tests. Mainly the 25 laps in 5 mins. I am the 3rd fastest on our team but all three of us still cant make 25n5 yet. We run maybe 30seconds over, but we are working on it.
So my main question is this... do you have any tips for very small girls, so they are not so likely to get KILLED? lol. How do I knock down a girl that is 5x my size? Also maybe some dieting tips if u have any. Any advice would be super helpful.
Thanks!
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Old August 9th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #2
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Welcome to Skatelog! I am sure you have heard it a million times, but the key to anything difficult in derby is to get lower. If you can duck below a lot of those hits, and get your center of gravity lower to the ground, it will be a lot harder to knock you down. If someone is 5x your size, it will be difficult to knock them down, but you do not have to.... you can get in their way, distract them or if you are jamming jump right around them. You get zero points for knocking someone down, but you get one for passing them.

Morgantown is really close to Pittsburgh, have you gotten in touch with Steel City or other leagues in your area for some help? Derby leagues are pretty supportive of each other and they might be a great asset to you.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 05:18 PM   #3
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I'm 5' 2" 115lb newbie and have also struggled with getting tossed around a bit. The best advice I have received in terms of absorbing hits is to stay low to increase stability (This will also make it harder for some girls to land legal hits on you). This doesn't work 100% of the time for me, but it is a good rule of thumb to stay low in derby anyway.

As for making hits, target the hips and thighs - but watch for low blocks!

And as for diet: As a current vegetarian, I assure you there are ways to put on weight without eating meat! You should also focus on building muscle.

I hope this helped and that others have some good tips to build on this!

-Goldy
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Old August 9th, 2010, 08:16 PM   #4
TootieBrutie
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Work on derby stance and stay very low, gotcha!
I need to learn how to jump in front of people too.
I have actually been in contact with Steel City! I'm going up there in the next month or so to skate with those girls as a visiting skater. I've been to a few of their bouts. They have been very helpful in just talking to me.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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I'm really small & had the same problems as you!

2 things I tried;

first concentrating on lateral skating & moving my blocks through the person I'm hitting really improved the impact

second - footwork! As someone above said - if you can get past them that's way better than hitting them.. check out this video (there's a few more good ones on there as well)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZnUONGy9R4
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Old August 10th, 2010, 04:36 PM   #6
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If you are looking for speed, track down the Rollin' Rednex speed team. I believe they are in your area. They have quite a few very fast quad skaters. A few months of speed practice will help in sooo many ways!!!!!
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Old August 11th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #7
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That video was helpful, thank you!
There is a speed skating team that plays at a place called Skate World in my area. A couple of our girls have skated with them a few times.
Thanks again guys!
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Old August 12th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #8
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being small the chances are if you can get into a good derby stance when people try and block you they are going to be blocking high, for example their hips could be by your head...This could be really useful in game play for getting fouls called against other teams.


Although i guess you could also get hit in the head...... :\
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Old August 13th, 2010, 02:29 AM   #9
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[QUOTEAlthough i guess you could also get hit in the head...... :\[/QUOTE]
lmao! So true, but at least it is a foul.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #10
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A often missed foul, so make sure you tuck your head :-)

My teams captain is about your physique(and she hits like a mack truck with bony pointed shoulders of pain).

Unfortunately at LEAST 1x during a bout she'll get clocked in the face due to someone coming in to blocking her, and she gets low but keeps her head up high.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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Make sure you work on core and upper body strength as well as your lower body/legs. The tiny girls who I notice are able to take big hits without getting tossed around are usually the ones that are muscular for their size/build and have the core and upper body strength needed to counteract a hit from someone who may weight twice what they do.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 03:41 AM   #12
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Part of it as well is that you will learn to compensate for your low body mass. I got knocked around quite a bit when I stated derby (I weigh about 122) but a lot of those issues resolved as I got more experience.

I learned to stay low and more balanced when I was hit, I got lighter on my feet and better at dodging and developed more muscle through daily core exercises and weight training.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 04:35 AM   #13
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Default Use the laws of physics to your advantage

Your best tool as a lightweight derby skater is SPEED, and, because you are light, you can accelerate faster and change direction more easily and quickly than heavier skaters can. As far as side to side impacts go, you can bring more velocity to them. You can make side cuts faster and arrive at the point of impact with greater speed than heavier opponents can.
For example, if your lateral speed is only 20% faster than your opponent at the moment you collide, you will deliver 44% more energy than if you were both moving toward each other at equal speed.
This means that even if they are 40% heavier than you, you will still deliver more impact energy to the collision.
This is because energy increases as the square of the skater's speed, but it only increases proportionally with the skater's weight.
So speed rules when it comes to delivering energy of impact, not to mention it also rules for avoiding impacts.

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Old August 16th, 2010, 09:03 AM   #14
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Hey Tootie,

I'm exactly the same weight as you are (well, I'm 8 months pregnant now so add 27 lbs or so to that ) but I skated derby at 90 lbs, even after having my first child. Basically, I'm teeny tiny too and know where you're coming from.

Like many have already said, getting low and working on your stance will help you A LOT. For one thing, you're harder to (legally) hit when you're low and for another, when you DO get hit it's much easier to stay up if you keep your center of gravity low.

A lot of newbies tend to fall to their knees as soon as they take a hit. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing in the beginning because you're teaching yourself proper falling. Usually, newbies seem to get hurt because they're trying to avoid a fall instead of just going with it. So I wouldn't worry too much about falling a lot for now, as long as you're falling properly.

Once you start getting the hang of things though and your falling becomes second nature, you'll probably want to start learning how to take a hit without falling. Assuming you're already in correct derby position (low, knees bent, butt down, arms in, head up - I also generally prefer a wide stance for both blocking and jamming), when you take a hit, try "hopping" out of it and immediately turn your skates pointing back at the track. Also, try pushing back against the hit to offset the urge to automatically topple over.

When you're initiating a block on someone else, get low (always) and bring the power of your hit up from your legs. If you have bony shoulders like I do, I'm told these hits can be pretty painful to the recipient and can leave some colorful bruises. Also, with practice, a good johnny crash to the sternum can knock a girl twice your size off her skates. It's all about getting them at the right angle. Lastly, work on getting very low and wide while cutting laterally - positional blocking is fantastic and can thoroughly frustrate even the burliest of opponents.

You don't have to be a rag doll just because you're small and you're NOT at a disadvantage because of your size. Use what you've got. Every skater has to adjust differently based on her body type and every skater will have different strengths and weaknesses. The very big girls may have to work on their agility and speed, knock-kneed girls may have a hard time getting into a good low squat, tall girls might have a harder time hitting within the legal zones - everyone has something that can be improved.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 01:07 AM   #15
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One of the traditional fun challenge bouts at ECE (East Coast Derby Extravaganza, hosted annually by the Philly Roller Girls) is Glamazons vs. Shortbus (5'10" and up vs. 5'4" and under, with some leeway if need to fill rosters).

To date, Shortbus remains undefeated in this rivalry. Fear not!

Here's a photo from the 2010 challenge:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-pp/4...n/photostream/
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Old August 17th, 2010, 08:06 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat O'Mighty View Post
To date, Shortbus remains undefeated in this rivalry. Fear not!
Good point! I skated on the ECE Shortbus team in 07 and 08 and can attest that we kicked major Glamazon arse.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 03:15 AM   #17
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SNL makes some very sage points.

I too am told that my blocks (both hips and shoulders) hurt immensely because of my boniness.

By the way, do you have some tips on doing the ideal Johnny Crash?
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Old August 18th, 2010, 11:43 AM   #18
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1. Start low.
2. Cut in front if you can even put your leading leg just over/in front of the recipients.
3. Don't lean forward, just be down.
4. Aim your shoulder into the breastbone/Xyphoid Process area of the sternum.
5. Pop UP and back while keeping your elbow tucked ( To avoid that Ubiquitous "Major Elbow" call), hitting them with the shoulder/back to your target area.
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Old August 18th, 2010, 12:35 PM   #19
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you also have the bonus of being under estimated, if you can practice a couple of awesome blocks you will be really usefull! and you would obviously make a great wrecking ball!
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 09:22 PM   #20
TootieBrutie
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Thanks so much guys!! I'm going to put all of this into effect asap!
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