Thursday, February 3, 2011

Great Wall of China 2

Alternative names: --
Objective: Endurance, sprinting, and to practice maintaining a tight wall with a partner; agility practice for your faster skaters
Typical length of drill: 15 mins
Materials needed: A full track or just four cones to mark the inside track line
Skill level required: None 
Description: This is a variation on the drill Great Wall of China 1.  Start with a double pace-line of skaters going around the track; everyone is paired up with someone of the opposite speed, the faster skater is on the INside and the slower skater is on the OUTside.  The line should stay in the very middle of the track, leaving a path open on both the inside and outside.  The skaters are all working on staying as a tight wall with their partner while keeping a medium pace the whole time, and staying one arm’s distance from the pair in front of and behind them. Once the pace-line is going at a comfortable speed the pair in the back is going to start the drill: On the whistle the two skaters let go of their wall and they begin to race to the front of the pace-line.  The inside skater (so, the faster skater) is weaving through the pace-line while the outside skater is racing the pace-line along the outside.  When both the skaters get to the front they pair back up and make a tight wall again.  The next pair in the back of the line begin to race each other to the front and this cycle repeats for 15 minutes or however long you choose to run this drill.  Because this is supposed to be a race you can add a competitive edge to it and say that the skater who gets to the front last has to do five push-ups in the in-field before getting back into a wall with her partner.  Because the inside person is weaving and the outside person is skating along the outside it should (hopefully) naturally be a pretty close race between the two.
Additional notes: This is a drill that I came up with as a result of having to frequently run practices with people of multiple different skill levels (not uncommon in roller derby) and it's good for leagues that have similar situations (i.e. use it at the first few practices after your freshmeat training camp is over and you are mixing the newbies with the veterans for the first time).  Your veteran skaters get to practice their agility skills by doing sharp weaves around broad walls, while the new skaters get to practice endurance and learn the hard way why jammers should never take the outside (aka. "take the cookie" as I believe Olive Spankins of Maine Roller Derby once called it).  And if you are indeed having the more experienced skaters pair up with newer skaters then you can also rely a little on the experienced skaters helping the fresh ones with their walling skills.  This drill can also be really good for large leagues in smallish spaces because it uses the double pace-line.

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