How to skate like a roller derby pro

2013-01-05T23:00:00Z 2013-01-08T08:48:03Z How to skate like a roller derby proKathleen Dorsey Times Lifestyle Editor
January 05, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

Please note: this tutorial is meant as a list of helpful tips for beginners.  Roller derby skaters must learn required minimum skills before participating, which are more extensive than the list below.  These skills can be found at

Lesson 1 – Derby Stance

Derby stance lowers the skater’s center of gravity, giving more balance on the skates and making players harder to knock over. To achieve Derby Stance, position yourself with your back straight, shoulders back, rear end tucked and knees bent.

Lesson 2 – Stopping

There are a few ways to stop while skating, but the easiest, only for beginners who do not participate in roller derby bouts, is the toe stop. To use the toe stop, drag the rubber circle on the toe of the skate behind you, but don’t jam it into the floor. You should gradually decelerate to a stop.

Another more advanced stop is called the T-Stop, which is used by all roller derby players. To use the T-Stop, drag all four wheels of one foot behind you at a 90 degree angle as you skate. This one is trickier and requires balance, but is a faster and more controlled way to stop.

Lesson 3 – Falling

When falling, try to fall on one knee, keeping the other leg upright – like a kneel. Roller derby skaters learn to slide on one knee and get back up and into the game immediately. Skaters have to get up within 3 seconds without using their hands, using your back toe stop to stabilize yourself.

If you fall on both knees, try to hit the ground with one knee, then the other, not both at the same time. Hitting the ground with both knees at once will jar you significantly.

Lesson 4 – Hits

Legal hit zones: You can hit the hands, arms, chest to just below the shoulders and legs to just above the knee, these are target zones.

Legal blocks: Skaters block with their arm above the elbows to your shoulder, your back, chest, and hips/thighs.  These are called contact zones. You can not use your hands, forearms, anything below the knee or anything above your shoulders to block with.

Lesson 5 – Sticky skate

To improve balance and make it harder for you to trip when you’re skating close to someone else, skate without lifting your feet off the ground. Move your skates in and out in a fish or a figure 8 pattern. This also helps to stabilize skaters in case their wheels lock together.

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