Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cross-training: Ice Skating

Alternative names: --
Objective: To be able to practice roller derby and improve your skills even when you don't have an indoor space to use, and even when the weather outside is frightful
Typical length of drill: N/A
Materials needed: A pair of ice skates, good thick gloves, knee pads, and depending on your own skill level and comfort, you can choose to deck out in the full derby protective gear (and I definitely did it myself the first time)
Skill level required: None
Description: Ok, so, this is not really a drill, but I really want to inspire all of you to try ice skating to see how you can use it to your advantage as a roller derby skater.  Your roller derby skills are totally transferable to the ice.  I don't think that we should be playing straight-up full-contact roller derby on the ice what with the dangers that the sharp blades pose, and the difficulty of fitting all the appropriate protective gear over winter clothes, but those of us who live in countries where the winter comes on hard we can really take advantage of the ice skating opportunities.  There are several different things that you can practice on the ice, and we've covered just a handful of them in the video.  The video is meant to get you started and motivate you to try some simple things just to see what you're capable of, and then you can start trying out some more advanced things yourself.  Some of the things that you can practice on the ice (most of which we demonstrate in the video) are: Endurance, agility, balance, stops, and assists.  Balance in particular can be practiced really effectively on ice skates because it can be much harder to stay up on two thin blades on slippery ice than on eight grippy wheels on hardwood floor.

Disclaimer: Although ice skating is very similar to roller skating, it is NOT the same.  If you're great at roller skating, don't assume that you'll naturally be great at ice skating.  I did and was sorely disappointed when I discovered that it was like month two of derby training all over again.  The good news is though, that it doesn't take long to improve.  Just like when you started practicing roller derby, every time you skate you'll learn something new.  The improvements are tangible.  If you keep practicing, you'll be doing gliding swans and shooting the duck in no time!

Video: Roller derby cross-training: Ice Skating

Additional notes: This video was made by All Derby Drills and some really determined skaters from Helsinki Roller Derby who had no qualms about braving the -12°C weather for two hours (and did I mention it was snowing the whole time too?).  Plans for a video demonstrating some actual derby drills that you can do on ice skates is in the works too, stay tuned.

Lire cet exercice en français!


  1. I thought I'd add that figure skates may be the best option. The toe pick is a lot like a to stop, and the blades are flat (parallel to the ground), as opposed to hockey skates which are curved front to back.

  2. Great information! Thanks for sharing