Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skater Progression Diagram

Tigre Force’s guest blogging series for All Derby Drills starts with introducing the Skater Progression Diagram -- followed by 5 drills picked from different diagram section themes. Stay tuned!

Skater Progression Diagram

Estrogeena Davis and I went for an outside skate last summer and we discussed coaching new skaters. We were planning on having a Coaching Workshop for New Finnish Derby Coaches, and we wanted to create a tool to make it easier for us to explain the skater progression from a Fresh Meat Skater into a Bouting Skater. We got the vision of a derby track divided into different sections of development and practice. We got the first Diagram made in a pretty short time, and I think it still looks pretty good.

Especially in countries like Finland, where roller skating is not a part of the history, the skater progression starts from level zero, and we wish that none of the new skaters in Finland would take the risk of jumping into the game before they are physically and mentally ready for it. Of course every league has their own rules, but this Skater Progression Diagram -tool was created for those coaches who care for their newbies and share our thoughts.

Click image to view it larger or to download it.

What is it about?

As mentioned, the diagram was created to help coaches explain to new skaters why they can’t start playing roller derby immediately after deciding to start the sport. It’s sometimes frustrating and difficult for the skaters to keep themselves motivated if they don’t get to play. Sharing the diagram with the new skaters gives them a visual break-down of what they have to look forward to; from the diagram they can see where they are in their training, where they should be in their progress, and it helps them set personal goals.  If you further go over with the new skaters the positive effects that goal-setting can have on their performance, sharing this diagram and the fresh meat training schedule with them can combined have a really strong influence on them.

The diagram says: Start out as a blocker and as you have completed all your skills tests, scrimmaged a bit, and maybe even bouted a few times, you start the process all over again, and this time really consider the position you want to play. Yes, some skaters were born to be jammers, and in some leagues select skaters are coached as jammers from the very beginning, but in our experience the skills might change during the progression. We’ve seen jammers turn out to be the best blockers, and the best blockers slowly develop into star jammers.  Geena has been known to say "A jammer is just a blocker who is trying to get to the front of the pack, over and over again" so with this theory in mind it would be in a skater's best interest to start by learning all the blocker skill sets on the first lap around the track, and then on the second lap around either learn all about jamming, or really focus on another specific position that you have learned a little bit about on your first lap (i.e. pivot).

It takes a lot of work to become a good roller derby player. Many leagues have got skaters as trainers -- they are just skaters doing their best in teaching the others what they can do best. I think that the diagram helps these trainers and newer leagues in planning their practices, even seasons or practice schedules. It gives perspective to the hard work and long-term practice plan before bouting definitely worth it.

Remember -- learning doesn’t end at the jammer line. Learning is a never-ending process. I bet skaters who’ve played derby for more than 10 years still learn new stuff as the sport is developing while it’s played all around the world by a huge variation of skaters, skating skills, personalities, styles of gameplay etc.

Long story short, I will introduce 5 different drills to this guest blogging series for All Derby Drills, picked from some of the topics from the Skater Progression Diagram. So if you like the diagram, you can use the drills as an example to plan the practice schedule for new skaters.

Hope you enjoy the drills, and don’t hesitate to comment & ask any questions about the diagram. It is the first version of it and like the sport, it’s supposed to develop :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest blogging: Tigre Force

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger who is not only one of my favorite derby personalities, but also a close friend and terrific coaching partner: Tigre Force.  When we met for the first time in 2009 she was rolling around outdoors on the most god-awful fleamarket roller skates I have ever seen (I still remember duct taping her bearings into place) and she came off as a shy kind of girl.  Boy did I get the wrong impression.  "Shy" is definitely NOT a word that describes her and I can't think of a more appropriate name for this woman than Tigre Force because she is definitely an animal force to be reckoned with, both on and off the track.

Tigre Force, #142. By Marko Niemelä.
Before getting hooked on derby when the sport made its first appearance in Finland in 2009, Tigre had been playing various eclectic sports for many years (ie. "rock soccer").  But like the story goes for so many of us, when derby entered her life, all other hobbies were slowly consumed by the derby monster.  Tigre has now been a coach with Helsinki Roller Derby since the summer of 2010 and she loves to travel the world of derby for both skating and coaching.  You can follow her on her trips at her blog Traveling in the Name of Derby.  In 2011 she was my right-hand woman as the assistant coach for Team Finland and I truly hope I get to partner with her again for coaching opportunities in the future!

Let it be known that skates can be deceiving.  The most ferocious derby player you'll ever meet might not be wearing high-end, polished black leather skates with $400 wheels and ceramic bearings.  She might very well be hiding in beige and orange fleamarket roller skates that don red plastic wheels and lots of duct tape.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nutrient Timing!

Tip #4 of Rowdy and Krissy's Top Ten Tips.....

You are WHEN you eat!

As an athlete nutrient timing is an important aspect of performance. When you eat certain types of foods is often just as important as paying attention to what you are putting in your body.


Working your muscles breaks them down and consuming protein pre-workout helps prevent muscle breakdown during and support muscle synthesis after your workouts. This being said, going into a workout with a full stomach is not the solution! When you have a full stomach your body actually sends blood flow to support in digesting food. That means less blood flow to carry oxygen to your muscle for your workout. Proteins to go for pre-practice are whey and casein proteins combined with a soy protein. The reason why is that each has a different absorption rate so you get immediate fuel and longer-burning fuel.

Eating something super carb-y right before practice can sometimes result in a spike and crash in blood sugar which results in your energy dropping half way through practice. This is why powering down a cliff bar right before you skate isn't always the best option **its called a CLIF bar cuz its for the cliffs and long hikes where your body requires more carbs...its not called a track bar for a reason :-) ** Carbs to go for about an hour before practice are whole grains, fruits and veggies. These have fiber which slows the absorption process and should be paired up with a lean protein.


15-20 grams of protein to support in rebuilding muscle is key! Liquid nutrients are best because they are most readily absorbed into the system. Again, varying the types of proteins means different absorption rates which allows the protein to be used more efficiently.

Post workout carbs help replenish glycogen stores so you have energy for practice the next day and actually also helps your body to get the protein to your muscles more quickly.


PreWorkout (1 hour before practice)
2 scoops Formula 1 sport (varied proteins, carbs, and glutamine) mixed with protein drink mix and 8-10 oz water, plus a piece of fruit or veggie.

Directly before practice at the track
2 scoops Prepare in 4oz water (stand by for a blog about the importance of NitericOxide for athletes!)

During practice:
Prolong (fast and slow carbs plus a little protein)

Directly following practice (within 15 minutes)
Rebuild Strength (varied proteins, carbs, glutamine, and BCAAs)

While I am sure there are other whole food ways of meeting these same needs, I like to sandwich my workouts with shakes because its a simple way for me to get what I need without running around like a crazy person between running my own business and trying to get to practice. Plus, the research and development at UCLA that went into this nutrition program is second to none.

Here is the basics on the whole program I use.... John Heiss says it way better than I do :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJ7ME_mDW0w

If you have questions or want more info about what to eat, when to eat it, why to eat it, how to eat it...or you need someone to make sure you eat it, hit me up! Supporting skaters with their performance and health goals is my favorite thing to do! KrissyKrash.Derbalife@gmail.com

Ready to get your ass in gear? Get 10% off www.goherbalife.com/krissykrash by using the coupon code  AllDerbyDrills  plus a free nutrition profile and weekly coaching/support to make sure you get where you want to go!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Weight Train?

Hey Everyone,

The last six-eight weeks I’ve developed a real love for lifting weights. And naturally because I’ve been so excited about it, I thought I’d talk a little about it. Why? What’s the benefit? Are you hungry all the time?  These are the questions I get from my friends or team mates who see me daily.

I’ll be honest, when I first hit the gym, it was because I wanted to look better and I wanted to feel stronger.  I quickly became addicted to what I was doing. But the reality is that by lifting weights, you gain more power and explosion on the track, it helps your form, and who would have thought my endurance would get better from lifting some steel?

One of the most important benefits with woman and strength  training is bone health.  Strengthening your muscles also strengthens your bones. Bones are living tissue, just like muscle.  And, just like muscle, bones will respond to exercise by getting stronger.

I recently read an article about the average woman being afraid to lift weights because we don't want to be big like a man. I laughed because how true is that? How many of think that way? GOOD NEWS LADIES, we don't have the hormone makeup that a man does, therefore we will never get as big as them. So don't be afraid to lift.

It also said, women who train inappropriately or who avoid weight room training won't increase the strength of their muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. In contrast, female athletes who build more muscle with proper strength training will run faster, jump higher, be more flexible and fight off injuries better than their weaker counterparts.  So when you’re thinking about how to get MVP in that next game or practice, you might think of the benefit from weight training.

The Maim Drain

Alternative names: 25 in 5
Objective: To get a good endurance workout; to practice proper derby stance and form
Typical length of drill: 5-10 minutes
Materials needed: A full track or just four cones to mark the inside track line
Skill level required: None
Description: In this simple endurance drill the skaters are going to work in pairs.  One skater will be pushing the other skater for 25 laps while the skater getting pushed stays in a proper derby stance the whole time.  After completing 25 laps the skaters switch (if possible).
Additional notes: This drill was created and submitted by Maim-Bow Brite of Kingsford Krush Roller Derby.  Maim says that this is one of her favorite drills ever.  "This will hurt the pushee just as much as the pusher.  The person getting pushed gets a good workout too because they have to stay in derby position the whole time."  Although you can switch after 25 laps, Maim says "we didn't because the people that got pushed couldn't skate very fast because their legs hurt so much from being down in derby position- so we are going to wait until next practice and then switch."  Whoa!  That's a good pain.