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You Stink! Make Cheap Roller Skate and Trainer Deodorisers

skate fresheners

So I’m the kind of nerd who has giant industrial size bags of bicarbonate of soda (AKA baking soda) in her house for eco-friendly cleaning and junk. The cheapest way to buy  bicarb is to pick up one of these large bags off eBay, but you can pick up regular size tubs from just about any supermarket. Bicarb is great for sucking up moisture, which makes it ideal for dealing with sweaty skates and trainers. Adding a few drops of a fresh-smelling essential oil (I like tea tree) might just make you the best smelling person at practice.

What you’ll need to make a set of skate deodorisers:

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4 Lessons I Learned Playing in a Cherry Popper Tournament

Dolly Rockit Rollers first skate

What’s a cherry popper? 

Some people are okay with it; others find it cringe-worthy. Whatever you feelings about the nickname for rookie-level bouts, taking part in a ‘cherry popper’ is kind of a right of passage for new roller derby players. Limited to skaters with only a few bouts under their belt (generally  0-3 or 0-5), cherry poppers give newbies a chance to apply the skills they’ve learned so far to a real game situation, playing with and against similarly green skaters from other leagues. Some cherry poppers are tagged onto the beginning of higher-level bouts; sometimes – like the one we attended – they’re standalone events. We played short games in a tournament format – three teams, each playing two 30 minute games, with the team with the highest total points score being crowned the winner.

Some things I learned…

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The hard that makes it great

hellyeahrollerderby.com

A big, exciting and slightly scary roller derby-packed weekend ahead! Tomorrow, to Rochester for a bootcamp with – I can’t quite believe I’m typing this – SCALD EAGLE  (*swoons*). Then on Sunday, off to Leicester with three of my favourite roller derby people for our first cherry popper bout. Can you think of a better way to spend Valentine’s weekend? Me neither 😉

Image credit, Ell Christman Flickr CC

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Using the GROW Model to Set Roller Derby Goals

roller derby goals

Pretend like I’m posting this at the beginning of January like I meant to, before swanning off on holiday with it not quite finished… (ooops!)

You ain’t no chump, so you’ve probably heard of setting S.M.A.R.T goals (i.e. ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, or a variation on that), but there’s another goal setting tool commonly used in personal coaching that I think could be really handy for progress planning in roller derby. This tool is called the GROW model, another acronym which stands for:

G – goal

R – (current) reality

O – obstacles and options

W – way forward

This tool is generally used by coaches during the early stages of a coaching relationship to help the coachee identify their goals and to brainstorm a plan for achieving those goals, but it’s also a useful model to use on your own without the help of a coach.

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Roller Derby Injuries: Why Do My Ribs Hurt?

rib pain in roller derby

So far in my 9 months or so of roller derby I’ve been pretty lucky, injury-wise. Other than some shin pain related to cross-training, I’ve (touch wood) managed to avoid any injuries that would keep me off skates – until now. Last week I got taken out by an excellently executed shoulder to the ribs in an offence drill (I was bracing a three wall)… and by ‘taken out’ I mean down on the floor, catching my breath (like I said, excellently executed!).

I had a feeling that I’d come away with a rib injury – it’s actually the second time I’ve hurt my ribs during this particular drill – and sure enough, the next day I had that familiar sharp pain when laughing, coughing or taking a deep breath. A test sit-up confirmed that, yep, crunches were off the table for now. Optimistically, I still thought I’d probably be able to attend practice as usual. Then I turned over or twisted or did something funny in my sleep that hurt enough to wake me up, had a restless rest-of-the-night, and when I woke up I had to kind of… flop sideways off the bed onto the floor to get up. Because my core didn’t work any more. Bummer.

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Freshie Perspective: The Cost of Roller Derby

cost of roller derby

It’s probably clear even to those outside of the sport that roller derby ain’t the cheapest of hobbies to take up. Unlike some sports, roller derby requires a lot of equipment. I’ve heard that some leagues have kit that people can use for try outs, but in most cases beginners have no choice but to buy all the required kit before they even get a taste of playing. But recently I got to thinking; aside from the obvious kit-related costs, what else have I spent money on in my first 7 months or so of roller derby? I figured this kind of insight might be handy to someone thinking about giving the sport of a go, so here’s a breakdown of what I’ve spent on roller derby so far…

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Roller Derby Glossary: C is for…

Roller derby glossary: c

Getting to grips with roller derby vocabulary, one letter at a time.

Calling off the Jam

Ending the jam before the full two minutes has expired, initiated by the lead jammer placing her hands on her hips repeatedly. However, it should be remembered that “the jam is not over until the Referee officially calls off the jam.” (2.4.7). Orla Skew has written a really useful blog post on this topic with advice for both skaters and refs. Key takeaway: make big gestures and be sure to tap your hips repeatedly!

Captain

The WFTDA defines the captain as:

The Skater identified to speak for the team.

But what does this entail? Well, officially, all this business:

  • In the event that there is a disagreement regarding a Referee’s call or scoring, only the Captains or their Designated Alternates may discuss the ruling with the Referees (8.2.10)
  • To take a timeout, the Captain or Designated Alternate will signal the Officials to request a timeout. Officials will signal for the clock to stop (1.7.2)
  • If a penalty is committed by a Non-Skater (e.g., by a team’s bench staff), the penalty will be assessed to the Captain, unless otherwise specified. If such an action is committed during a jam in which the Captain is not skating, the Captain will serve the penalty beginning in the following jam (6.1.4)
  •  If a single penalty is committed by a group of teammates, or if no one single Skater can be identified as most responsible (including penalties committed during a jam), the penalty will be assessed to the team’s Pivot unless otherwise specified. If there is not a Pivot, it will go to the Captain (6.1.5)
  • Captains are responsible for supplying medical personnel with their Skaters’ medical and/or emergency contact information as necessary (9.2.2.)
  • The team Captain must visibly display a “C” on their uniform or arm (3.7.2)
  • If the Captain must leave the game, they can transfer their status to a teammate.

Of course, that isn’t all there is to being a captain. For more on what being a captain means outside of the game rules, check out this article by Croydon’s Apocalex on what it means to be a captain in a competitive squad. 

Counter-Block

The WFTDA defines a counter-block as:

Any motion/movement toward an oncoming block by the receiving Skater. Counter-blocking is blocking. (4.1.1.1)

One difference between blocking and counter blocking relates to out of play penalties:

5.10.3 – No Skater may initiate a block while out of play, or to a Skater who is out of play. It is, however, legal to counter-block in such a situation. (5.10.3)

Crossovers

When trying to think of a definition of crossovers the best I could come up with was “that thing we do with our feet that makes us skate real fast”, because I’m a doof. Using a crossover technique while skating around a track, with your right leg stepping over and your left leg pushing under, allows you to skate the diamond and achieve maximum speed. I’ve heard various resources say that they’re better described as ‘crossunders’ because most of the power in the move comes from your left, crossing-under, leg. I posted a roundup of really useful resources for nailing crossovers a little while back if you want to know more.

Cutting the track

Cutting the track is common penalty with its own section in the WFTDA rule book. In brief:

When out of bounds (which includes Straddling; see Section 10 – Glossary), Skaters must return to an in-bounds position without improving their relative position. Violations are considered Cutting the Track.

But of course, because this is roller derby, things aren’t that simple! There are various factors that will impact on whether a penalty is called in relation to track cutting. I highly recommend familiarising yourself with the relevant section of the rules (5.11). 

Image credit: Horla Harlan, Flickr CC

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Roller Derby Recipes: Chocolate Banana Whey Protein Pancakes

whey protein pancakes

Since starting roller derby and regular weight lifting, I’ve been thinking more about eating foods that will aid muscle recovery. For the most part, this has meant trying to eat more protein in general and particularly after workouts. Protein shakes are efficient but they can get boring, so I’ve been looking for other things to do with protein powder. I’ve made ‘protein pancakes’ in the past with just eggs, banana and oats or ground almonds with good results, so thought I’d try chucking some whey in too. They work! Not exactly like regular Scotch pancakes but not far off. Delicious with a little salted butter and syrup.

Chocolate Banana Whey Protein Pancakes

Makes 12 small pancakes

  • 2 scoops/50g chocolate whey protein powder (I use PHD Pharma Whey HT+)
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 large banana
  • 25g oats
  • For frying: fat of your choice (I used coconut oil)

Put all the ingredients in a blender or smoothie maker and whizz until well-combined. Heat fat in a large pan over a medium heat, and spoon in mixture; I used about 2 tablespoons per pancake. Cook on one side until little bubbles start to rise in the surface of the pancake, then flip and cook for a few more minutes – about 4-6 minutes in total.

Nutritional info per pancake:

  • 58 calories
  • 4g protein
  • 5g carbohydrate
  • 2g fat
  • 1g fibre
  • 2g sugar

whey protein pancakes

Got any good protein powder recipes in your arsenal?

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5 Awesome Sports Movies To Be Inspired By Today

Since getting into roller derby I’ve found myself much more interested in team-mate and team/coach dynamics. When I say ‘much more interested’, I mean I’ve gone from having watched The Mighty Ducks maybe 10 years ago to having the sudden urge to watch ALL THE SPORTS FILMS. On a recent two-day spell off work sick, I managed to consume no fewer than FIVE sports movies from my blanket-fort-of-illness on the sofa. They were:

Miracle poster

Miracle (2004)

Based on the true story of Herb Brooks, the coach that led the 1980 US ice hockey team to an unlikely triumph against the heavily favoured Soviet team. Who can resist a film that sees a “ragtag squad of college kids” go up against a “legendary juggernaut”? I loved the dedication to training and teamwork exemplified in this film. My favourite quote: “The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!” Amen.

league of their own poster

A League of Their Own (1992)

It’s nice to watch a sports film with a female cast for a change (if you know of any other good ones, holla at me in the comments!). A fictionalised account of the real life All-American Girls Baseball League, a women’s league set up during World War II to keep America interested in baseball, this movie won’t change your life but is still a fun watch. The ending is schmaltzy as hell, BUT… Lori Petty! Geena Davis! (Somewhat weirdly) Madonna!

friday-night-lights-movie-poster-2004-1020293335

Friday Night Lights (2004)

Friday Night Lights looks at the manifold pressures heaped upon high school  (American) football players, and their coach, in a small town where football is God. Set in 1988 in Odessa, Texas and based on a true story, this film really tugged at my heart-strings. Favourite quote: “Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down, because you told them the truth. And that truth is that you did everything that you could. There wasn’t one more thing that you could’ve done.”

Whip It Poster

Whip It (2009)

How could I not include the only wide-release feature film about roller derby in my sick-day-movie-marathon? Having seen this a couple of times, I find myself skipping past the indie-boy love story bits (bleugh) to the skating and female bonding. So many penalties though guys… so many. Favourite quote: “Put some skates on; be your own hero.”

We could be king poster

We Could be King (2014)

The only documentary of the bunch, and for me the most affecting. When a budget crisis in Philadelphia forces the closure of two dozens schools and the integration of Germantown School students into long-term rival school Martin Luther King, football is the thing that brings them together. The boys coach, laid-off from Germantown and working as an unpaid volunteer at MLK, is awe-inspiring to watch. Favourite quote:  “Humility: not only playing for yourself, but playing for the man right next to you. Sacrificing for the man next to you. That’s brotherhood.”

What’s your favourite film to watch for team/coach dynamics? 

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Shake It Off

Today was a tough day. I felt clumsy, awkward; everything felt like work. I can tell that I’m letting negative mind-talk get the better of me, psyching myself out of stuff I’ve been able to do before. I knew that the transition from rookie training to training with the B team would be challenging, but I don’t think I realised how big a part of the challenge would be mental. I’m certain that if I can just stick it out past the What the fuck am I even doing here?  thoughts and keep going to every practice, my abilities will start to improve. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how short a time you’ve been skating, and of the time and effort those awesome skaters had to put in to get where they are, which someone did for me today. And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s good to put your headphones in, crank up the volume and listen to the wise words of one T. Swift.

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