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Old January 13th, 2015, 07:10 PM   #1
llama of death
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Default Overlooked skating skills?

So, I am always keen as a skater and a coach to to fill in any blanks or oversights in my skating and my players. At the time of writing this I have skaters of all levels (well no D1's ATM but well see in the next year or so) skating WFTDA rollerderby.

The reason I post this here and not in the derby forum, is I do not need more derby opinions. I want yours, the general quad skating populace.

So what do you feel derby skills are missing in general or specific? I will not be responding to the comments about what derby as a sport is or isn't missing. My goal as skills coach is to make them the best/most-effective skaters on the track, so the sport be damned lets talk skating skills please.

What skills do you think players are lacking?

What skills would make a team better as a whole.

Is there a dance move that could have some practical use on the track? (I am not kidding, you might be surprised at how many moves can be tweaked slightly to make for an awesomely effective juke or a new whip etc etc.)
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Old January 13th, 2015, 07:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by llama of death View Post
So, I am always keen as a skater and a coach to to fill in any blanks or oversights in my skating and my players. At the time of writing this I have skaters of all levels (well no D1's ATM but well see in the next year or so) skating WFTDA rollerderby.

The reason I post this here and not in the derby forum, is I do not need more derby opinions. I want yours, the general quad skating populace.

So what do you feel derby skills are missing in general or specific? I will not be responding to the comments about what derby as a sport is or isn't missing. My goal as skills coach is to make them the best/most-effective skaters on the track, so the sport be damned lets talk skating skills please.

What skills do you think players are lacking?

What skills would make a team better as a whole.

Is there a dance move that could have some practical use on the track? (I am not kidding, you might be surprised at how many moves can be tweaked slightly to make for an awesomely effective juke or a new whip etc etc.)
Ive seen lots of "derby skaters" at various rinks that are all about derby and can barely skate at all. Practice just skating and increasing their ability to reach higher speeds than just a walking pace. I have seen skaters at practice but not skating any other time during sessions. Learning basic skills well could go a long way. Also skating lots of laps. They need endurance which goes hand in hand with skate time.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 09:19 PM   #3
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Default simple cross-overs....

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...So what do you feel derby skills are missing in general or specific? I will not be responding to the comments about what derby as a sport is or isn't missing. My goal as skills coach is to make them the best/most-effective skaters on the track, so the sport be damned lets talk skating skills please
I see a lot of lady's doing a sort of awkward step over in the corners, picking up and deliberatley placing the right foor over the left as they go around the corner. This method generates zero push or power and seems more like they are only doing it to say they are doing 'cross-overs' in the corners.

Teaching them to focus on true cross-over with a real underpush, where they bulk of they speed is generated in the corners would be a big help. There seems to be a huge gap from the elite players to the fresh meat or fairly novice players when it comes to basic skills, but cross overs and the one I notice most.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 11:33 PM   #4
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I see a lot of lady's doing a sort of awkward step over in the corners, picking up and deliberatley placing the right foor over the left as they go around the corner. This method generates zero push or power and seems more like they are only doing it to say they are doing 'cross-overs' in the corners.
To an extent this is what I would call "skating with the lower body" (instead of the entire body), and it's something I see too (not that I see that many derby skaters). For some reason there is a lot of emphasis on what goes on below the waist, but not as much what goes on above - most notably in the lean and the arm swings. How many skaters do you see with stiff shoulders and elbows that are perpetually 90 degrees with limited range of motion?

I realize that some of that is preparedness for running into other skaters. However, when skating session rolls around they shouldn't be worried about that. Practice skating naturally with the entire body.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 12:59 AM   #5
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I see a lot of lady's doing a sort of awkward step over in the corners, picking up and deliberatley placing the right foor over the left as they go around the corner. This method generates zero push or power and seems more like they are only doing it to say they are doing 'cross-overs' in the corners.
True. To me, it looks like they are just starting to pick up a foot. I usually complement the girls when I see them trying to go as far as they can on one foot. Balance is extremely important - there's another thread about one foot balance for inlines. I can how increasing balance will help in a lot of ways with skating, and especially derby
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Old January 14th, 2015, 02:14 PM   #6
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Start with the fundamental building block of skating. Edging. Properly edging. Learn how to push and control inside and outside edges while skating forward and backward. Spending a few sessions with skaters on the figure circles makes all the difference in the world, especially new skaters. Straighten out their form at this level, everything else follows.

I am also an advocate of sending players to speed practice, real speed practice with people that skate quads in a competitive environment. All out speed is not super important, but having decent form and skating efficiently is helpful.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 04:47 PM   #7
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Cool

I am enthused to see such great posts, all very true and very helpful.

I am enthused to say we (the coaching staff at the team) are right on it. We have a regional speed champ running endurance/skills practice, myself teaching skills in general (everything from tstops to three turns and crazylegs) *I am our skills guy as the only one here who has basically lived on his skates for a year now, much slalom, much dance, so speed* and much of these suggestions we also noticed, and have been rebuilding the team to fix these holes, with mixed success. (hockey-stops seem to be hard to learn for them, though we have had recent successes)

Crossovers are a constant topic which we address weekly, though I don't know any local leagues who don't. I can't imagine it is so bad if the average girl on our track is doing 29 to 32 laps on a derby track. So we (by which I mean our endurance/speed coach) are more polishing than anything else, which as it turns out is much harder (go figure ). Though as I mentioned all the leagues around here have an endurance practice where they spend a lot of time skating speed laps in both directions.

Fortunately, toddlers,
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..."derby skaters" at various rinks that are all about derby and can barely skate at all...
do not get to bout here. They are freshmeat and get lots and lots of coverage and skate time on the basics from me before they pass my min-skills test.



I hear a lot on the forums that skaters would be more effective blocking if they didn't rely on toestops for agility so much. Does that mean you feel edge control to shuffle/jump left to right would be faster and more effective?

Speaking of edges:

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Start with the fundamental building block of skating. Edging. Properly edging. Learn how to push and control inside and outside edges while skating forward and backward.
You say learn how to 'push and control edges', could you explain what you mean by that?

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Spending a few sessions with skaters on the figure circles makes all the difference in the world, especially new skaters. Straighten out their form at this level, everything else follows.
Unfortunately, for us all there is one team in this entire side of the state who gets to skate at an actual skating rink so I would have to draw any figures by hand in painters tape and remove them every time. I do have basketball court markings though which might not be regulation for the Olympic figure skater but could be used for this I suppose.

Many great insights, which I am sure any league big or small should be working on. Keep 'em comin', my thirst for a new skill to learn and practice is never quenched.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 05:16 PM   #8
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You say learn how to 'push and control edges', could you explain what you mean by that?



Unfortunately, for us all there is one team in this entire side of the state who gets to skate at an actual skating rink so I would have to draw any figures by hand in painters tape and remove them every time. I do have basketball court markings though which might not be regulation for the Olympic figure skater but could be used for this I suppose.
If you are semi-creative, you can make a fixture to mark the lines with chalk. A rope and a few other pieces will work. When done, wipe the chalk up. Much less effort than tape.

A lot goes into making a decent edge. Nose, knees & toes in line. Body relatively in line, no double leans. Shoulders & head turned toward the direction of travel, hips opened up as needed. Also, the free leg should be behind or in front, not to the side or bent at some weird angle. Perfect body position is not needed for derby, but some of the basic skills are extremely helpful to have. One benefit is that skaters learn the limitations of their skates. They quickly discover that their inside edges are nearly impossible with most low end skates. A second benefit is that they learn to control their skates and not just point them in a general direction and hope for the best. Another benefit is that skaters learn the vocabulary of skating. When coaching, telling a skater to lean or push on a certain edge quickly speeds up the learning / coaching process.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 05:47 PM   #9
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I agree with the crossover observation and not skating with their whole bodies.
However, I think that 1/2 of that could be the crappy and un-tuned skates they are useing. (I know this is a generalization and there are some players that do their research and invest in quality gear) If your skates don't turn......doing proper crossovers complete with follow through is impossible.
I also think they just need to skate more. I tell all the derby girls that i meet that they should skate outside and skate session. Skating in a shuffle line is fun and it helps you learn to move as a group.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 07:46 PM   #10
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I agree with the crossover observation and not skating with their whole bodies.
However, I think that 1/2 of that could be the crappy and un-tuned skates they are useing. (I know this is a generalization and there are some players that do their research and invest in quality gear) If your skates don't turn......doing proper crossovers complete with follow through is impossible.
I also think they just need to skate more. I tell all the derby girls that i meet that they should skate outside and skate session. Skating in a shuffle line is fun and it helps you learn to move as a group.
Shuffle, yes. Can you say chacha-slide? looks like lots of balance, edges and footwork skill there, lol.

yes I know this is not shuffle skating it just segwayed for me.


On a serious note, I have been pushing softer cushions and better tuning for over a year now and it has caught fire at last, the community is lighting up with it and some are even finding their personal sweet spot.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 07:51 PM   #11
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If you are semi-creative, you can make a fixture to mark the lines with chalk. A rope and a few other pieces will work. When done, wipe the chalk up. Much less effort than tape.
Chaulk is not going to happen at the indoor gymnasium we have. We got it upgraded to have roll-on (or some knock off knowing the owners) and it skates real nice now, but the rules for us are strict, so chalk is a no go.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 11:03 PM   #12
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Shuffle, yes. Can you say chacha-slide? looks like lots of balance, edges and footwork skill there, lol.
Little tiny wheels! The 3 kids had little tiny wheels. Does that help with the dancing in place balance? My wheels seem like they always want to roll...

The rink guards are pretty good with footwork. Thanks for the video.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 12:11 AM   #13
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Might be an exercise but getting the group on ice might be eye opening, slides are slides, strokes are strokes, puts a perspective on what the body can do, let's the learners know that sliding is half the fun, let's the racers know what it feels like to have an edge.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 05:03 AM   #14
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Default my god, where do I begin.

You should just come out to the East coast for a skate weekend, I'll show ya a BUNCH of ridiculousness on skates. . I take it easy when I'm out of town but I think Kennedy knows how crazy a session would/could get.

I got a group of friends I skate with, we have a smaller floor, with grip ranging from "OMG I almost broke my ankle trying to hockey stop!" To There'd be more traction on a buttered floor"(dusty conditions), and the occasional "mommy why is the floor sweating?" Wet conditions after a super cold week followed by a nice rainy warm evening. Cold floor, hot humid air.. All hell breaks loose and you better not even think of skating in inlines

So, I think I did a little "here's some skills to do" list once , not sure if it was for you or not... Either way here's a couple things.

Firstly, the most important aspect of physical activity.

All skaters should learn stability. I don't mean skating stability, I mean a persons body stability. Basically a persons ability to control the physical position of ones self under unknown resistances, pressures, or other inertial forces that mean to warp or unbalance a persons posture. Be it what ever they happen to be doing at the time. This is what separates the normal skaters from the elites.

Second, would have to be how much you got in the hat.

Every skill you possess matters. It may seem like something insignificant at the time, such as learning to roll on just the heel axle of your left foot. However if you are caught off guard and happen to be tossed into a balancing act/ balance check on say, your left foots heel axles... Your in luck as you have experience here. If your good, you have learned your equilibrium in this scenario. This exponentially increases your chances of regaining your balance from knowing the ins and outs of your only available axle at the time.

Third. Speed.

How fast can you perform these tricks or skills? If its not fast, then they should work on increasing the speed of which they can perform various things
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Old January 16th, 2015, 02:22 AM   #15
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What skills do you think players are lacking?
The thing that I see most with the derby girls around here is the complete lack of understanding on how to fall safely... the sheer number of broken wrists, ankles etc I see is frightening.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 06:28 AM   #16
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The thing that I see most with the derby girls around here is the complete lack of understanding on how to fall safely... the sheer number of broken wrists, ankles etc I see is frightening.
Holy crap yes.

A quick glance at even "toddler" level tumbling and falling skilled classes and you will quicky see that derby people as a whole just DON'T get it.

I partially attribute this to the "minimum skills" req for certian falls. TDerby players somehow think that this skill is actually needed, or even useful in derby. Nothing could be further from the truth, a down player is just that, DOWN. They are a burden on the rest of the team until they get up and back to the action. Any knee slide/fall or superman drill is pointless and dangerous to your joint. I'm sure there are more but those are the ones that stand out to me right now. knee pads don't remove the load and impact from the joint, they only displace the load around it.

If you want my recommendation as to make yourself be a better skater through cross training.. Become a martial artist, - Tae Kwon Do is a superb choice. In comparison here, it makes cross training on a bicycle look like a COMPLETE waste of time, when you could be doing SO much more. Getting hip tossed, and being hip tossed, or taken down, etc. this all adds to an understanding of your bodys balance, feeling of inertia, core strength for recovering from being tossed before landing.
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Old January 18th, 2015, 01:02 AM   #17
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When I was coaching Derby I placed a lot of importance on good form.

I got the skaters to do many laps (clockwise also) with them taking one corner on their left foot and the next corner on their right, while pointing the non skating foot outstretched toward the outside of the track.
This aided in their understanding of body position at the end of a deep crossover and helped with balance.

I would also recommend ascending flights of stairs sideways (left and right leading- mix it up) in a crossover fashion taking two steps at a time (or 3) as strength and co-ordination improve. (I still do this, though I have skated only once in the last year).

Form circles as previously mentioned were good, both for gliding one footed around (left,right,forward and backward), and for trying deep crossovers until you could touch the floor with your hand, broke traction or just fell down. Great for getting to know your limits.
I would do one foot slides and catch my fall with the next crossover.
Use small cones to mark out circles and get skaters to chase each other.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 06:36 PM   #18
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Holy crap yes.

A quick glance at even "toddler" level tumbling and falling skilled classes and you will quicky see that derby people as a whole just DON'T get it.

I partially attribute this to the "minimum skills" req for certian falls. ----snip---
I would agree that many teach falls wrong. [rant] Though I am consistently concerned with the stereotyping of 'all' or 'nearly' all derby girls don't... crossover, stand, fall, etc etc. It gets vexing when I know that 90% of the derby I see in WFTDA tourny and our local teams can skate much better than this stereotype. It is quite frustrating as a ref/coach/player to hear people say (before they see me skate) 'oh, you learned to skate via derby? You should relearn crossovers., or even worse I mention derby and get brow beat by rink skaters about how they are better than a derby skater. I am sorry but I doubt the average rink rat could play derby just as much as a derby girl couldn't do grapevine. [/end rant]

The first "fall" we teach is a break-fall similar if not identical to a baseball slide or rear-breakfall in martial arts. The thing about the minskills slides and small fall is they are meant to not just protect the skater but the other 9 skaters around her and the refs. If we had girls tumbling around the floor doing PK rolls, and matrial arts thrown-roll-break-falls. The falling skater would get hurt less but many more would get a skate to the leg and be taken out or worse. The fall-smalls stay and for those doing them badly here is the concept they are suppose to be learning.

A small fall done properly starts as a knee slide. A kneeslide (identical to Eddie VanHallen) and very similar to a vollyball knee slide, should start with a lowering of the body like a squat, followed by one shin then the other landing in succession. The result when learned properly is nearly silent and has little to no impact on the skater or their knees, and at no point ever should a skater reach to "catch" themselves with their arms.

That said a terrifying number of non-competitive teams do not teach them properly. It would be wonderful if they would fix that.
----------------------------

Ok, so again I am trying not to drag my own topic off sides here, with explaining derby min skills.

I am not too worried about my girls when it comes to the issues surrounding DIY derby, where they have little instruction on how to do the basics properly. We got the basics cover very nicely here.

Mort,

I do very much agree that off skates work, particularly cross training is of particular importance. We try and motivate them to do so, it is hit and miss, and with the expense of floor time we cant afford to do it as a group during our skate time. It is on my list though.

This second part is exactly what I am getting at with this thread. I am not concerned with the small teams who have basic skating skill isues. My concern is exactly summed up by your second point.

"Every skill you possess matters." Yes, absolutely. The question becomes what skills do you see not used in mid to high level derby which would be useful. (recently we did start working on just that, being able to retain your speed and control when on rear and front edges, and even skating while on only-toes only-heels and split.)

Switching between skill is definitely a valuable skill to have. And short of learning to jam skate or slalom I am not certain of any way else to teach that. (which we do once and a while, jam or slalom that is.)
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Old January 26th, 2015, 06:45 PM   #19
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When I was coaching Derby I placed a lot of importance on good form.

I got the skaters to do many laps (clockwise also) with them taking one corner on their left foot and the next corner on their right, while pointing the non skating foot outstretched toward the outside of the track.
This aided in their understanding of body position at the end of a deep crossover and helped with balance.

I would also recommend ascending flights of stairs sideways (left and right leading- mix it up) in a crossover fashion taking two steps at a time (or 3) as strength and co-ordination improve. (I still do this, though I have skated only once in the last year).

Form circles as previously mentioned were good, both for gliding one footed around (left,right,forward and backward), and for trying deep crossovers until you could touch the floor with your hand, broke traction or just fell down. Great for getting to know your limits.
I would do one foot slides and catch my fall with the next crossover.
Use small cones to mark out circles and get skaters to chase each other.
All great info. Great form is the foundation of great skating.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 10:39 PM   #20
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Our rink rats are... not typical. All the crew that skates with me have pretty much never played derby, however they dominate at it... Or would if they played. Maybe not as a groups effort, but individuals yes. If they were on a team with each other, they'd probably rock it. My emphasis is that you don't need "derby skills" but you MUST have skating skills. Its just that too many people get caught up with what derby is currently doing, and they think they need more derby skills, when its exactly the opposite.

We've found that "jam skaters" who just hang in the center, while showy, cannot skate to save their lives half the time. Why? Because they often do all their footwork at slow speeds. So when they skate at even a moderate pace they're somewhat clumsy.

No matter how you look at it, what discipline it is, overspecialization is the building block of weakness. That's what most derby is as a whole, or at the least, around here. Its all we see. A friend of ours is a great skater and doesn't play derby as the teams around here cant handle her in the least, and honestly I'd be surprised if anyone that wasn't on top level could. Remember for every elite team theres probably 10-20 unskilled ones, who may be lucky to have 1 or 2 good skaters.

Maybe our crews standard for a good skater is a bit higher . Since we don't judge a skater by just a few things, its a wide array of skills we look for in people.

Backwards skating is WAY over looked if you ask me. Pretty much all the kids at our rink can backwards skate. Most can do it fairly well in either direction. That in itself is probably the biggest difference I see with our locals vs other places I've been. Most people dare not transition at their max sprint speed. So I say, what's the use of skills you can't use at your fastest speeds? That's probably another big one we do. Almost all of us can do any of our skills at high speeds. Where a lot of other skaters don't train themselves for that. As a result they cant hang when things are hairy at high speeds.

So a brush up for skill set needed...

Backwards slalom with both feet, not just the motion, but being able to use the movement to create or reduce speed. That is how it is for all things if you ask me. One should be able to use nearly all skills to do that.

Break, gotta edit later.. Wife needs to go to the store
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