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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 March 19th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #1
Reckless
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Default Should Toe Stops be used in Roller Derby, and are Toe Stops Dangerous?

I'm curious into getting people views on the use of Toe Stops in Roller Derby.

When Roller Derby was played professionally, the skates then seemed to use NTS (No Toe Stop) plates and the boots were cut above the ankle. These days the skates resemble speed skates and all have provisions for adjustable toe stops.

So my first question is why weren't toe stops used originally?

My second question is how to they fit into modern Flat Track RD?

I have been searching the net and have found various articles both for and against, some I agree with and some I don't.

But here are my views based on my 10 years experience of skating. But the first thing I do want to say I'm not going to jump up and down and say they should not be used, I do believe at the end of the day it should be personal choice.

The way I see it is there are three type of skaters.

1) Those that need toe stops (still dependent on toe stops to stop).
2) Those that don't need them, but would prefer to skate with them, as they find they can start better with them, or pick themselves up from the ground quicker.
3) Those that would prefer to skate without.

In order to make an objective decision on whether they should or should not be used. The skater should be capable of skating without them. This means they have have to be competent enough to do hockey stops when ever necessary.

I have also found some articles where people state they're dangerous!

see:
http://www.roxyrockett.com/?p=10
http://derbyhelper.blogspot.com/2010...-of-shove.html

I'd like to here more on if you think they are or not!


And last of all should Dragging toe stops be used in RD. This is one thing I do feel strongly about. I do believe these are dangerous.
1) you can trip someone behind you (low block major if nothing else).
2) it places your ankle in a very vulnerable position.
3) Should someone fall on your leg, this is likely to injure your ankle.
also the dragging toe stop is the least affective way to stop, there are much better ways (T Stop, plow stop, hockey stops).

I used my toe stops a lot during my first 2 years of quad skating. But then I learnt to hockey stop and duck walk and naturally stopped using them. They just held my toe covers on. Eventually I took them off and I was surprised at how much lighter and more maneuverable the skates became. I doubt I'll ever put them back on.

I'd very much like your feed back on the above, so if you do reply please could you state how long you've been skating.

Many thanks

Reckless

Last edited by Reckless; March 19th, 2011 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Mistake in title
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Old March 19th, 2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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I've been skating since I was 7 and I'm now in my early/mid 30's although there was a sizeable time gap between stopping skating and starting Derby. I have an art skating background - freestyle and figures - so I had plenty of experience at skating TS and NTS when I was younger.
Do I think toe stops are useful in Derby? Absolutely. Do I think they are 'dangerous'? No- not if they're used correctly. I don't think that toe dragging should be encouraged and the reasons why explained to the skaters but that habit is really borne out if ignorance and poor teaching. In many cases derby skaters are self taught. Toe dragging is a bad habit and should be discouraged for all of the reasons stated. If a skater is aware of the risks and still chooses to do it then that becomes her problem to deal with.

From what little I know of it banked track skating is much different to flat track skating and I have heard that toe stops are more of a hinderane than a help because of the angles of the track. As I've never skated on the banked track I can't really offer an opinion either way. As to why they were never used in original banked track derby I imagine it was a combination of the above and the way plates were manufactured without stops. With the physical contact nature of the sport perhaps a clamp on stop was too much of a risk to have come off in mid jam. That is pure speculation though.

What irks me is the opinion expressed by some that if you use toe stops then you somehow aren't as good as someone who doesn't. You don't get a prize for going NTS! In fact it limits you in some ways. I can do a hockey stop or a reverse toe stop on my skates, someone NTS can only do the former. Guess which stop is easier on my ankles and wheels?

I believe that skaters who choose to use toe stops should be taught how to use them correctly from the start and encouraged to use them as a tool not a crutch. If you are a skater that would prefer not to use them then more power to ya. It should be a personal choice.
(FWIW I don't use them to get up or start, I mainly use them for turn-around stops)
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Old March 19th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #3
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Thank you, a good constructive answer

Cheers

Reckless
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Old March 19th, 2011, 04:25 PM   #4
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I speed skated for years in the 1980s and used my toe stop (toe starts). Then, when speed skating outdoors became popular out in California, we all went no toe stop with Aussie type-mounts. Then eventually to inlines which didn't have toe stops. Since then, I never used the toe stops.

However, now that I am coaching derby, I reinstalled toe stops so I could teach the newer skaters how to use them properly. After a short time, I have decided that they really are a valuable tool in roller derby.

Sure, Toe stops are great for taking those initial fast steps off the jam line. But I can duck walk just as fast. Where they seem to be most effective is for the quick tomahawk stop... or what ever you call it when you turn backwards to stop using the toe stops.

I skate without toes stops for all of my skating except fat track derby.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 04:32 PM   #5
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There's a league here which run without toestops, I've seen two of their bouts and their absence appeared to only be a hindrance IMO (their coach in an experienced Jam skater)
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Old March 19th, 2011, 06:02 PM   #6
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Don't forget that back in the day, Skates didn't come with toe stops. They were an add on option. Before that, Skates were clamp ons. So might not want to use what they had as a standard for what we do today.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 06:18 PM   #7
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I asked the same question a couple of months back since the majority of our local men's team use jam plugs and they are all amazing skaters. The answer I came back with was 50/50- half for toe stops, half for jam plugs
http://www.skatelogforum.com/forums/...ad.php?t=32353

I am a newer skater and I am completely dependent on my toe stops. That being said, I do not use them to drag my toe (which can be done with out toe stops, fyi). My favorite mode to stop is the tomahawk stop, and I want to use them to learn how to toe start and get up faster after falls.

our team seems to be under the impression that toe stops=bad, jam plugs=good. I was critisized by a coach and a team mate at practice one day when they spotted me putting toe stops back on my brand new 965s, saying 'they come with jam plugs for a reason'. well, i feel that reason is for jam skating, not derby.

many of the better teams in the nation play with toe stops and find them a valuable tool, not a hinderance. Then again they've learned to use them as just a tool and not be dependent on them.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 06:22 PM   #8
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Being an amazing Skater, has little to do with toe stops, one way or the other, in my humble opinion.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #9
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If they are good enough for the top WFTDA teams in the country, they're good enough for me. I have seen toestops be used in some incredible ways. Just watch some video of PsychoBabble from Rocky Mountain if you want to know what I'm talking about.

I'm going to agree with Salamanda, too. The fact that you don't use toestops is no reason to be pretentious. It does not make you a better skater.

I learned to skate on quads with toestops. I never took them out once... but I have no trouble with (and quickly learned) hockey stops, plowstops, powerslides, etc. I also prefer these types of stops to tomahawk stops and toestop dragging (very bad).
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Old March 19th, 2011, 07:18 PM   #10
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I skated for many years both with and without toe stops and am completely comfortable either way. I played derby for a few months without them when I started, but ended up putting them back in and have kept them in most of the time the last couple seasons... although I did skate with thick Iris plugs for a while also which was fine as well because I can still do turn around stops on those.

I use them because I can get up quicker from a fall, I can start quicker from a stop, I like to stop on them going backwards, and I can push through a narrow hole in the pack with them.

Sure I'm 98% as good without them, but that little 2% increase in the areas I mentioned is worth having them IMO. Plus, I have never noticed the weight difference with or without them so I can't see any negative to having them.

I think anyone who says toe stops are dangerous is a bit lost (sorry if that is offensive to anyone, lol, I mean it in as nice of way possible!). I do think it's kinda foolish to drag your toe stop in a pack because you do put yourself at a higher risk of ankle injury... but to me that is the skater's choice, the toe stop itself did not cause that situation. And I too forget and do that sometimes, lol.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #11
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Thumbs up TOE STOPS for Derby USE!

You will as a rule be a better derby skater during bouts if you have a toe stop.

Banked track and Flat track.

They key word here is custom fitted to your skate and skate desires.

I prefer the Sure Grip POWER TRAC TOE STOP TO START WITH.

First thing I do is drill a 1/4" hole through the mount stud to lighten it up some what.

I then mount on the boot on the skater. Find a height setting that the skater can use for best result. The angle of your foot in relation to the floor and what you ankle/knee bend is comfortable with.

Then I cut off all the extra toe stop threads that are not needed to hold in the plate. 5 threads is plenty. Most 5/8 bolts etc.

I use a 1/4" 90 degree angle grinder with a 60 grit sanding pad, sand on the rubber toe stop part. I sand off all the excess rubber that is not needed except for reverse stops and Jammer Take offs.


What is left is light weight and very small. I also put clear nail polish top coat on the toe stop threads as a extra lock against rotation.

I attended many Banked track roller derby games in the old days, 1960's at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. LA Thunder birds. In those days hardley no girls had toe stops,but many of the men did. They were attached to the ends of the boots with screws into the boot soles. They did not run on them to start a jam.

In those days many of the fights were staged and on the banked track surface. The Skaters used there toe stops to brace there self on the banking. While wrestling.

For todays Roller derby a flat sole or real low heel boot is better for balance while bumping and hand fighting/pushing off etc. A Better foot platform,more spread out over your full skate plate. High boot heels and high top boot puts more pressure on front of the skate plate. Less balance under contact with other skaters.

Your derby skates wear and scuffing: SHOE GOOP, in a red tube @ Wal Mart in the Shoe dept. You can coat your boots with this stuff. It is clear and not ugly. Drys flexiable/tough and gives a real good shield to the boot surface.

If you are using DUCT Tape. Silver versions on your boots? There is much better,tougher and does not have glue that comes off. It is more flexiable and thicker. You can also use it inside of the boot to layer the boot surface to fill up boot voids that do not fit your own foot. Heel area on many girls feet to boot fit. Just cut a layer and stick in boot keep adding more layers here till you get the heel fit you like etc. It will stay stuck till you want to take it off.Gorilla Tape. It is in the paint section of Wal Mart.

GORILLA TAPE. It comes in 2" wide roll. Costs more than duct but much better all around. Dark Green color. Wal Mart about $8.oo but its worth it.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 08:06 PM   #12
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I've historically followed Rebecca's reasoning - I skate without toe stops for session and speed, and have done since not long after I started skating, but have always used toe stops for derby. They let me get up a bit faster and a toe stop start is easier on my derelict knee than the external rotation associated with a duck walk start. Since they don't get in the way, those tiny advantages seem like a no-brainer.

That said, I've recently taken my toe stops out in favour of jam plugs, after realising that even my tiny toe stops were rubbing on my wheels at times. The sky hasn't fallen. I feel more confident jumping on my skates, but have realised how much I was using them as a crutch for my sloppy transitions. I'm pretty sure it'd be hilarious to watch me turn around, start to put a toe down, say "Oh! No toe stops!" and then continue to spin ... probably 75% of the time.

It's all swings and roundabouts. Figure out what works for you and do it.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #13
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I currently have the gumball toe stops in but I can honestly say I don't know what the big hype is about... they work just as well as the toe stops that came with my RW outlaws.
I got the short version and screwed it completely in so it doesn't catch on when doing cross overs. I don't understand how people would have a problem with them catching, if someone could clear that up would be fantastic!

Hot Lips, I do the same thing when I transition from backwards to forwards. I mentally psych myself out and use a toe stop to catch myself when turning instead of a fluid motion. Maybe I should take out my stops to break myself of that habit?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 12:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spikey B View Post
I don't understand how people would have a problem with them catching, if someone could clear that up would be fantastic!
On some plates they hit the wheels during cornering
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Old March 20th, 2011, 12:35 AM   #15
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I think what is important to note here is HOW toe stops are used in roller derby these days.
My experience has been that "dragging" your toe stop to stop has always been a huge no-no, especially because if someone hit you while doing so, you could easily snap your ankle. I've never seen it happen though, or heard of it actually happening, and I do occasionally see dragging toe stops, but not often. Derby girls are trained to "plow stop" and "T-stop", neither of which require a toe stop.
Traditionally toe stops in derby are used for running starts, popping back up from a fall, and as we call them around here, mohawk stops (turning around backwards, skating for a second backwards then popping up on your toe stops).
With all that being said, I don't think toe stops are a necessity in derby, but to each their own. I wouldn't go without mine :-).
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Old March 20th, 2011, 05:10 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Reckless View Post


I have also found some articles where people state they're dangerous!

see:
http://www.roxyrockett.com/?p=10
In a more recent blog post Roxy Rockett says she's now purchased toe stops and I have seen her play with them in.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Reckless View Post
I'd very much like your feed back on the above, so if you do reply please could you state how long you've been skating.
Personally, I skated my first season of derby without toe stops. I have skated most of my life with a break prior to starting derby. The last time I used toe stops was 25 years ago. I never knew how to properly use them and thought they got in the way. I eventually started skating on inlines and learned how to T-stop on those instead of using the break. So when I would switch back to quads I applied what I knew about T-stopping. Somewhere in my middle-high schoolish years I learned how to plow and hockey stop.

I was anti-toe stop for a long time and was even considering a NTS plate. I tried some out for the first time recently and actually have adjusted well. I've even begun to like them. However, I don't find myself using them very often for derby. I love doing the tomahawk stop, but I can count on one hand how many times I've done it while playing derby. Maybe it's because I'm still pretty new to toe stops or maybe it's because I've spent so long practicing w/o them, but my first instinct is not to use them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nasty Sinatra View Post
I think what is important to note here is HOW toe stops are used in roller derby these days.
My experience has been that "dragging" your toe stop to stop has always been a huge no-no, especially because if someone hit you while doing so, you could easily snap your ankle. I've never seen it happen though, or heard of it actually happening, and I do occasionally see dragging toe stops, but not often. Derby girls are trained to "plow stop" and "T-stop", neither of which require a toe stop.
I've also never seen it happen, but I do know it has happened to a teammate of mine.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 08:28 AM   #17
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Classic derby skaters didn't use toe stops because toe stops were for session skaters.

My gut take on it is that it was a perception thing. Session skaters used 10 degree plates with toe stops, derby skaters used SA45 plates without. Toe stops were also seen as being for dance skating.

As for the ankle-high boots, that was also what people were used to then. You'll note that the women all have white figure boots, which go very high up their ankles. You'll also note that they almost never tied them all the way up. In other words, their high boots were causing them issues they had to work around...

The men skaters used lower-cut black boots. Check the pictures. Okie was watching Roller Games rather than Roller Derby back in the 60s in SoCal. Roller Derby pulled out of L.A. around 1960 or so and moved to San Francisco. A couple years later Roller Games popped up. A much more theatrical version of the "sport."

Classic banked track derby is kind of apples and oranges from what we're tending to do today. Drastically different rules. The only times a jam started from a complete stop was at the beginning of a half. Otherwise the skaters kept skating between jams, unless they'd "gone out" on the previous jam as a jammer. The previous jam's jammers were allowed to stop for rest on the rail between jams. Only other times they stopped were when they fell. Which might be why they took so long to get up? Dramatics may have played a role there too.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 01:30 PM   #18
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I've been skating since I was 7 and I'm now in my early/mid 30's although there was a sizeable time gap between stopping skating and starting Derby. I have an art skating background - freestyle and figures - so I had plenty of experience at skating TS and NTS when I was younger.
Do I think toe stops are useful in Derby? Absolutely. Do I think they are 'dangerous'? No- not if they're used correctly. I don't think that toe dragging should be encouraged and the reasons why explained to the skaters but that habit is really borne out if ignorance and poor teaching. In many cases derby skaters are self taught. Toe dragging is a bad habit and should be discouraged for all of the reasons stated. If a skater is aware of the risks and still chooses to do it then that becomes her problem to deal with.

From what little I know of it banked track skating is much different to flat track skating and I have heard that toe stops are more of a hinderane than a help because of the angles of the track. As I've never skated on the banked track I can't really offer an opinion either way. As to why they were never used in original banked track derby I imagine it was a combination of the above and the way plates were manufactured without stops. With the physical contact nature of the sport perhaps a clamp on stop was too much of a risk to have come off in mid jam. That is pure speculation though.

What irks me is the opinion expressed by some that if you use toe stops then you somehow aren't as good as someone who doesn't. You don't get a prize for going NTS! In fact it limits you in some ways. I can do a hockey stop or a reverse toe stop on my skates, someone NTS can only do the former. Guess which stop is easier on my ankles and wheels?

I believe that skaters who choose to use toe stops should be taught how to use them correctly from the start and encouraged to use them as a tool not a crutch. If you are a skater that would prefer not to use them then more power to ya. It should be a personal choice.
(FWIW I don't use them to get up or start, I mainly use them for turn-around stops)
bout sums it up for me, but obviously people should always try both and then make their minds up

HK what team skates NTS?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 01:52 PM   #19
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Hot Wheels, in Leeds. They're a nice bunch, I just feel that their more junior skaters are put at a distinct disadvantage because of it, especially towards the end of a bout when they're getting up from falls when tired.

Their coach Jerry Attric, plus Nuclear Missile, came and did a roller-dance session with us as a Christmas treat in December, it was hard work but really good
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Old March 21st, 2011, 02:05 PM   #20
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Hot Wheels, in Leeds. They're a nice bunch, I just feel that their more junior skaters are put at a distinct disadvantage because of it, especially towards the end of a bout when they're getting up from falls when tired.

Their coach Jerry Attric, plus Nuclear Missile, came and did a roller-dance session with us as a Christmas treat in December, it was hard work but really good
can't see why they would do that, it helps no one in fact like you say it's a hinderence, and i don't think it is good coaching to force your ideas on a whole team
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