Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Black Widow

Alternative names: --
Objective: To build up endurance
Typical length of drill: 20 mins
Materials needed: A full track or just four cones to mark the inside track line
Skill level required: None

Description: In this simple, classic roller derby drill your skaters will be alternating between one minute of sprinting and one minute of a skill.  On your first whistle, start the timer and start your skaters sprinting.  The skaters sprint for one minute, then you blow the whistle to signal to the skaters to change to a skill, and after one minute of a skill you blow the whistle again to signal to the skaters to sprint.  This will continue for 20 minutes.  Switch up the skill each time; the skaters should have done a total of 10 different skills during this drill, and a total of 10 minutes of sprinting.  Skills can include (but are not limited to): Figure eights, small weaves, big weaves, squats on the turns, squats on the straightaways, gliding on one foot on the turns, gliding on one foot on the straightaways, walking on your toe stops, running, big steps, skating backwards, hopping side to side, jumping, scissors, windmills, etc. Make sure that you yell out the skill before the one minute of sprinting is up so that the skaters know what to do on the whistle -- for this drill to be most effective endurance-wise there should be no down-time where the skaters are just hanging out and listening to you explain what they are doing next.

Additional notes: I originally got to do this when skating with New Hampshire Roller Derby but I understand that this is a drill that a lot of leagues like to do (and I'm sorry to say that I don't know who came up with it so I can't give appropriate credit).  It's an easy one to run because you don't need any supplies or special skills, but it's also a tough endurance drill for the skaters.  I've heard more than one skater ask why it's called the Black Widow and the answer has always been "because it kills you" :)

Please note: To help save your skaters' precious knees and bodies, about half way through this drill you should turn around and skate in the other direction (in fact, I like to place the skate backwards -skill in the very middle so that once the skaters go back to sprinting they can easily just continue in the way that they are facing).


  1. I use this as a warm up on our endurance days. The biggest challange is to get skaters to understand "sprint" vs "skate". Its hard to push someone that is not willing to push themselves!!

  2. Can you explain what each of these skills are? Some are pretty easy to figure out, but what are windmills and figure eights?

  3. Figure eights are when the skaters have all 8 wheels on the floor, push their feet out and push them back in, making big figure eight shapes on the floor over and over again with their feet. It's one of the best ways to teach people brand new to skating how to get control of their feet/skates. It's also a good thigh workout if you really push hard and squat low.

    Scissors are the same thing as figure eights except when you bring your feet together you cross them (making sure to alternate which leg crosses over and which crosses under). It's a good way to warm up the legs for crossovers, and also a good way to start new skaters learning how to do crossovers.

    Windmills are when you roll your arms around while you skate. It's a form of stretching the arms, but can also throw a skater off balance if s/he doesn't keep a tight core. Some skaters like to challenge themselves by moving their torsos up and down while they do the windmill.

  4. AWESOME!! Thanks so much! We have the terms scissors and figure eights reversed... Whoops

  5. We are the other way round too: i.e. scissors mean just bringing skates together (not crossing) and out again (like scissors), figure 8s cross your feet (makes a figure 8 type pattern on the floor)

  6. We call this one "Twenty Minutes of Opportunity." :-)

  7. This is a helpful drill and it does build up endurance. I remember our training back in the days. I almost wanted to quit but I just held on to it.