Roller Derby is a true classic American past-time. Roller Derby has a rich history of evolution and adaptation to reflect social currents. When mentioned, most people think of the over the top, Wrestle mania style antics of the televised banked track derby that aired back in the 80’s that turned Roller Derby from a competitive sport into shameless entertainment.
The sport is back from the dead and though we kept the attitude and the cute outfits, Derby Girl now means a hardcore athlete. The majority of leagues around the country are not the familiar NASCAR looking banked tracks, but flat tracks. The prevalence of flat track is due to the fact that it can be played on just about any smooth, wide open space (anything from your local skate rink
I know it looks scary, but with proper training, equipment, and the right attitude, it can be done. I’m not here to tell you how to skate, that’s best learned on 8 wheels. This wiki is to explain how to get involved and what to expect out of this truely amazing sport.
Steps to the derby side
Research. Go to WFTDA.com and read the rules and what not. Search YouTube for “bouts” (essential a match or game) and practice footage.
Next, find a league in your home town. See Tips for a little more detail on that.
Once you’ve found the league, there’s a few ways to go about it. There’s the direct approach, find out about recruit nights and just go. You can also go to bouts, find somebody from the league at the merch booth or at the after party and ask about learning and joining with them. Or if anything, get in touch with your league of choice and see if you can come sit in on a few practices, maybe even put on some skates and join the pace line. Don’t worry about looking silly/unskilled/fat/scrawny/etc. We were all there once too and want to help you be part of the pack.
Once you’re in, the most important thing to remember is to become a real derby girl, you have to go to derby practice. Yes it costs time and money, but anything worth being serious about most likely will.
Using the Internet- You may have to search by region, but I can promise you there is a league somewhere in your state. Use google, my space, etc with the terms “roller derby” in quotes together, otherwise you’re going to just get a ton of roller hockey leagues. Also, check out www.wftda.com for a list of sanctioned leagues. There’s more clubs out there, but at least you have a starting point.
Go to roller skating rinks. Out of the throngs of rink rats I’m sure you’ll find some tough chicks weaving in and out and getting yelled at by the rink refs.
If you just want to skate around and look cute, go figure skate.
Derby is a FULL CONTACT sport. You will get knocked around. You will fall. You will get bruised. And at some point, you will get hurt. It’s inevitable, and will probably happen on your first day. How bad you get hurt is up to you. If you listen to your coach, watch the veteran skaters, take the time to learn the proper technique, and invest in some decent gear, you should be fine.
DO NOT SKATE IMPAIRED!!! I cannot emphasis this enough. Derby is a great way to socialize, especially for girls who normally do not relate with other girls, but this is no social club. If you show up drunk/high/etc you are endangering yourself, other skaters, the league on whole, the rink owners, EVERYBODY.
Hydrate. Stretch. Warm Up and Cool Down. Know your gear. Check your gear. If you have to do it for any other form of athletic activity, chances are you’re going to have to do it for Derby.
And of course, Consult your physician before undertaking any new exercise regime
And make sure you wash your derby gear nothing says bad form like smelly gear!
Things You’ll Need
Helmet, wrist pads, knee pads, elbow pads. You can get most all these at any skateboarding or sports store. I personally suggest Protec, 187 or Triple 8, but a starter set of Rollerblade brand pads will be good enough to get you started. Just know eventually you will have to upgrade.
Skates (duh). Must be quad skates. I suggest the low cut ones (high tops can be too restrictive. Vegans, close your ears, because you’re going to want leather boots. Cloth will not be sufficient and your feet will burn up in any sort of non-leather replacement. You can order shoes online, but I would suggest going to your local pro-shop and trying on a few pairs. ask girls in your league if you can try on theirs. nothing kills more than a bad fit.
Attitude and Dedication. Most leagues are going to ask you to do more than pay your dues and show up for practice. There will be charity work, there will be non-bouting league events, and meetings.